After two classic full-length ballets (Swan Lake and Cinderella), Mariinsky Ballet presented a great mixed rep bill, Chopin: Dances for Piano Saturday evening. The music consisted of a single pianist for three diverse works: Michel Fokine’s 1908 Chopiniana; Benjamin Millepied’s Without (2011); and Jerome Robbins’ In The Night (1970).
Chopiniana has no plot and consists of sylphs in long Romantic era dresses, dancing in the moonlight with a man in white tights. (Sylphs are mythological creatures from the work of Paracelsus, a Renaissance era physician. He described sylphs as invisible beings of the air). Oksana Skorik was the lead sylph. I liked her Odette/Odile portrayal in Swan Lake and thought she gave a fine performance in Chopiniana, with her long arabesque line and flowing arms. Her partner was Timur Askerov who did a reasonable job partnering her. The Corps danced beautifully in synch.
Millepied’s Without consists of five couples with each pair color coordinated against a blue drape backdrop in dim light. The work is contemporary with classical steps with a couple doing a short dance, then departing as another couple enters. Some of the dances are whimsical, while others are passionate and somber, like the different aspects of a relationship. I particularly enjoyed Kristina Shapran and Andrei Yermakov (blue couple) in a tender, passionate dance. I was intrigued by Millepied’s work and want to see it again as it is multifaceted and difficult to absorb in one sitting. Millepied appeared onstage for the curtain call to a rousing ovation (see photo in my last post).
The last piece was Robbins’ In The Night with Anastasia Matvienko/Filipp Stepin (purple); Yekaterina Kondaurova/Yevgeny Ivanchenko (brown); and Viktoria Tereshkina/Yuri Smekalov (black). Kondaurova received rave reviews for her Swan Lake; I can see why as she has great stage presence and commands attention with her striking looks and great technique. Yevgeny was a strong partner throughout.