Longtime Richmond dancer gives a farewell with RVA Ballet’s wonderful ‘Liebesliede Walzer’
Tuesday night was not only the opening night of one of the most prestigious ballets in the world, but a public farewell to longtime company dancers Philip Skaggs and Shira Lanyi as they retire from Richmond Ballet.
Shira Lanya who danced Odette/Odile from the Richmond Ballet’s 2013 Swan Lake will be featured in Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday performances.
Stoner Winslett, Artistic Director of the Richmond Ballet gave a charming introduction to “Liebeslieder Walzer,” the third and final studio production of the 2014-2015 Studio Series. Not only was it a challenge to get proper rights to perform this renown ballet, but it was also a matter of time until the right company of dancers came along in order to dance such a complex and exquisite production.
Stoner was nothing short of thrilled to see one of her favorite ballets come to life on the studio stage while also giving Skaggs a formal farewell to Richmond audiences. After sixteen years he will close his final chapter with Richmond Ballet in his last performance abroad in Shanghai, China at the end of the season.
“Liebesliede Walzer” was choreographed by George Balanchine, the most prestigious choreographers in the twentieth century. This production is a beautiful ballet assembled by three couples on stage in period ballroom gowns and dapper tuxedos.
The dancers are also accompanied by on-stage pianists and Opera singers singing Opus 52 and 65 by Johannes Brahms.
Balanchine’s choreography is absolutely stunning; no wonder he was the most sought out choreographers in the twentieth century. The dancers from Richmond Ballet conveyed all the emotion, wit, and beauty that makes this ballet so complex and interesting. Richmond Ballet’s studio stage is perfect for Liebesliede Walzer; the intimacy of the stages allows the audience to fully indulge in the ballet’s surprising and tender moments.
These moments, while already profound, are particularly emotional as Liebeslide Walzer is one Skaggs and long time dance partner Lauren Fagone’s last productions together. Elena Bello and Thomas Ragland also gave a spectacular performance as the troubled couple who demonstrated the hardships and reality of love.
Liebeslide Walzer is nothing short of ballroom grandeur. Liebesliede Walzer is more than fluffy ballgowns and fresh tuxedos, it is deep emotion draped with gorgeous choreography and endless waltzes. Balanchine’s ballet is charming yet mysterious, and will leave you spellbound with the unexpected and timeless beauty.
Skaggs commented that Liebeslide Walzer is a classy and wonderful way to help close his career with the company, and I think Richmond audiences couldn’t agree more.
He has delighted audiences for 16 years while also influencing his peers and inspiring his mentors. With this tenored dancer and the timeless beauty of Leibeslide Walzer, this production should not to be missed.
Nicole has been dancing since early childhood and can't get enough. You can find her salsa dancing at Havana 59 or tango dancing at the Vmfa. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from VCU and strives to keep the arts alive! She loves all things lavender, pugs, and crisp weather.
As far and as deep as Le Sacre du Printemps goes, the company’s visual elements were stellar.April 14, 2016
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