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American Ballet Theatre: La Bayadère, Cast Two
- Onstage with the Dancers

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La Bayadère: Cast Two
Ballet in Three Acts
At
Metropolitan Opera House
www.lincolncenter.org

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Wes Chapman, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Georgina Parkinson, Clinton Luckett
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate


by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 21, 2007

Originally Published on ExploreDance.com


La Bayadère: Choreography by Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa, Music by Ludwig Minkus, specially arranged by John Lanchbery, production conceived and directed by Natalia Makarova, Scenery by Pierluigi Samaritini, Costumes designed by Theoni V. Aldredge, Lighting by Toshiro Ogawa, Production Coordinator, Dina Makaroff, Performed by Nina Ananiashvili as Nikiya, a temple dancer, Jose Manuel Carreño as Solor, a warrior, Vitali Krauchenka as The Radjah Dugumanta, Irina Dvorovenko as Gamzatti, the Radjah's daughter, Roman Zhurbin as The High Brahmin, Jennifer Alexander as Aya, Gamzatti's servant, Sascha Radetsky as Magdaveya, Head Fakir, Misty Copeland and Simone Messmer as lead D'Jampe Dancers, Yuriko Kajiya, Melanie Hamrick, and Veronika Part as lead Shades, Carlos Lopez as The Bronze Idol, and the Company as The Fakirs, The Temple Dancers, Solor's Friend, The Warriors, D'Jampe Dancers, Waltz, Pa d'Action, The Shades, The Candle Dance, Flower Girls, Warrior Attendants, Palace Slaves, and Priests, Conductor: David LaMarche.

Nikiya, a temple dancer, is betrayed by the High Brahmin, who desires her to despair, but is thwarted by Solor, a warrior, whose photograph is the object of desire for Gamzatti, the Radjah's daughter. The High Brahmin tips off the Radjah, whose daughter is now affianced to Solor, that Nikiya is romantically involved with Solor, as the Brahmin reveals to the Radjah Nikiya's silky scarf. The Radjah and Gamzatti arrange for Nikiya to be bitten by a snake in a flower basket, as Nikiya dances at Gamzatti and Solor's pre-wedding festivities. Nikiya refuses the Brahmin's bottled antidote and falls lifeless, when she sees Solor and Gamzatti leave, holding hands. Solor, consumed in grief, smokes opium and envisions 27 Shades, all in ghost-like resemblance to Nikiya. A Bronze Idol dances in rapid exultation to herald the wedding. Solor, however, remembers Nikiya's vision as he prepares to marry Gamzatti, and this vision re-appears at the ceremony, prior to a candle dance. But, soon the gods are angry, and the temple and guests are buried in the temple's implosion. Finally, Nikiya and Solor re-unite in the after life.

Hell hath no fury like a scorned Brahmin, and tonight's cast of La Bayadère exuded passion and tension and torment, thanks to the rare and exceptional cast of Nina Ananiashvili (thankfully back from Georgia, Russia, for a few ABT appearances this season) as Nikiya, Jose Manuel Carreño as Solor, Irina Dvorovenko as Gamzatti, Roman Zhurbin as the High Brahmin, and Sascha Radetsky as Magdaveya, Head Fakir. Ms. Ananiashvili was not just portraying Nikiya. Ms. Ananiashvili WAS Nikiya, a personification of the ill-fated temple dancer, with flawless theatrical dancing and riveting stage presence.

Ms. Ananiashvili danced this role just once this season, and it had been three years since she danced a full role with ABT. The chemistry between Ms. Ananiashvili and Mr. Carreño was more palpable than that of Diana Vishneva and Ethan Steifel on May 19, as both principals possess the drama and engage the audience at every moment. Ms. Ananiashvili and Mr. Carreño danced the long, dreamy scarf dance with rich romance and dervish. In fact, much of the evening's dance had a dervish effect, suitable to the India setting, with dizzying spins and mid-air lifts, with pulsating, percussive leaps and the ever-present fury.

Irina Dvorovenko, as Gamzatti, possessed a fury-like frenzy in her dance, as she fought for and almost won her dynamic warrior, Solor. Their pas de deux was fully realized for its showcased choreography and elegant imagery. Ms. Dvorovenko was more persuasively devious than was Ms. Abrera on May 19. Less devious than Victor Barbee, on May 19, but more vulnerable was Roman Zhurbin as the High Brahmin, shorter in stature than most Brahmins, but bubbling over with jealousy and wrath. Mr. Zhurbin is a corps dancer to watch. Vitali Krauchenka, also in the corps, was not as devilish a Radjah as was Gennadi Saveliev on May 19, but interesting to watch. Sascha Radetsky, as Magdaveya, had sharper edges to his dance than did Craig Salstein, an element that suited the overall dervish quality of this evening's performance. Jennifer Alexander, as Aya, nuanced her role, while Misty Copeland was an especially exotic D'Jampe Dancer.

Tonight's lead Shades were as beautiful and breathtaking as ever, and the ensemble of 27 Shades received extended accolades. Carlos Lopez is on his way to stardom, but, as the exciting Bronze Idol, Herman Cornejo had the edge on May 19, although Mr. Lopez was well on cue with the rapid beat and dramatic dimensions. David LaMarche is not just a Conductor, but also a performer, as he is fascinating to watch and enthusiastic about the music. The Orchestra responded with equal enthusiasm. You can explore the ABT Season schedule and buy tickets at www.abt.org.
 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net