I saw the premier of Raymonda Divertissements last week and was not impressed by the work, finding it unfocused and disjointed. However, I came away with a more positive view of the work Saturday evening with leads Paloma Herrera and Cory Stearns. Paloma was more engaging in the role than Hee Seo, who I thought was dull. The solo for the lead woman is quite slow, but Paloma had more energy and pizzazz. Cory was regal and serious; he had a nice solo with double cabrioles and a double tour diagonal, finishing up with pirouettes to the left to a double tour to the knee.
However, the star of the piece was Devon Teuscher who handled her tricky solo with ease and earned roaring applause at conclusion. Devon was solid in her multiple pirouettes to arabesque section, sometimes pushing the number of turns to three. Another nice section was changements (changing of the feet) on a diagonal on pointe. I haven’t seen Devon dance that much, but her solo revealed great potential with her turning capabilities, extension, and expressiveness. Devon may be a future star and I look forward to seeing her more in the spring season. Cassandra Trenary also had a solo variation that was very clean. I have not seen Cassandra, a Corps member, dance before in a solo role and also look forward to more. Nicole Graniero and Luciana Paris had a nice duet.
Four men have a pas de quatre including tours and beats, which were badly out of synch in the premier. They were more coordinated but not great as one of the men struggled completing the two rotations on the tours, finishing short of the front.
Seven Sonatas was next with the same cast that I previously reviewed. Arron Scott was very impressive, with an upbeat demeanor and a sense of humor in his rapid tour section.
Thirteen Diversions finished up the evening with a similar cast that I previously reviewed. Thomas Forster and Daniel Matei were two Corps members that stood out in the duets. Marcelo Gomes paired with Hee Seo. Marcelo has a powerful, muscular presence that dominates the stage no matter what else is going on. His partnering is strong and secure, but without detracting from the woman.
After the curtain call, Marcelo gave a quick speech, at times out of breath from his rigorous dancing, asking for donations for Dancers Responding to AIDS. He spoke emotionally of his uncle who died from AIDS, and how the funds help those in need.