Richmond Ballet’s “Studio Two” features three very different pieces.
The first performance, “Solo in Nine Parts,” is choreographed by Jessica Lang, with music by Vivaldi and beautiful costumes that vary in color from light grey to dark purple by Tamara Cobus. Each dancer is highlighted in a solo on the expansive stage and the lighting was very minimal.
The ensemble danced and leapt in perfect time, switching partners and creating a very visually interesting scene, with no set to distract from the elegant movements.
“Duo Concertant” is the second performance featuring choreography by George Balanchine that was beautifully executed by Shira Lanyi and Thomas Garrett. For this piece the dancers were accompanied on stage by a pianist, Maria Yefimova, and a violinist, Ross Winter.
Of the three pieces performed at “Studio Two” this was my least favorite, as I found the music a bit distracting and the direction and staging to be a bit outdated — the dancers stood awkwardly by the piano between dances.
Finally there is “A Rose for Miss Emily,” which is the highlight of this show for me. Cecile Tuzii and Philip Skaggs are wonderful and the choreography by Agnes de Mille transcends time.
This piece was preceded by a rather funny video of de Mille directing dancers for a past production; it was a real treat to see that footage. The dance is based on a William Faulkner short story about Miss Emily Grierson, a woman who has been through a great amount of tragedy and her resistance to accept change in her life.
The costumes by A. Christina Giannini are gorgeous and Emily’s beautiful red dress floats around her as she is lifted by her lover. The lighting design by MK Stewart is breathtaking and gives the stage dimension.
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.