Richmond Ballet premieres unprecedented work in time for Stoner Winslett’s 35-year anniversary
Richmond Ballet delighted audiences over the weekend in the newly renovated Carpenter Theater with The Four Temperaments and Richmond Ballet’s signature work, Windows. Each time I think I’ve seen it all with Richmond Ballet I am proven wrong by their fierce revivals, refreshing modern themes, and bold creativity.
The Four Temperaments was an experimental work by George Balanchine in the 1940′s, combining classical choreography with contemporary style. Balanchine’s unique fusion of the classics with sharp and angular steps perfectly represented the medieval belief of the four humors that mold one’s personality traits and habits. Richmond Ballet delivered such complex choreography beautifully, demonstrating Balachine’s unprecedented play on movements.
One of the four temperament variations, Phlegmatic debuted Richmond Ballet’s guest dancer Mate Szentes. Originally from Budapest Hungary, Szentes has joined Richmond Ballet for the 2015-2016 season. Szentes’ strong technique and endearing stage presence impressed the welcoming Richmond audience. Szentes’ amiable personality along with four other enchanting company dancers proved this people pleasing temperament a success on stage.
After intermission, audience members were greeted by violinist Daisuke Yamamoto who set the Carpenter Stage for Stoner Winslett’s monumental work, Windows. The performances this weekend were in celebration of her impressive 35 years as Artistic Director at Richmond Ballet.
Winslett’s masterly production explores the history of ballet styles and emotional representation by humans in particular eras. Windows creates a visual timeline or “window” of the different ballet styles from the fluffy and mysterious French style to the ominously classic Russian style to 20th century contemporary ballet, and finishing with the variation In celebration of the New Millennium. This made Windows the ideal production for those familiar and unfamiliar with the different styles of ballet.
All four variations were truly captivating, but it was the second variation “Russian Classic Ballet” that left the audience completely astonished and myself enthralled as I swayed in my seat. Cody Beaton and Fernando Sabino gave stunning performances as they dominated their stage with powerful and passionate dancing.
Mother Russia wasn’t the only stand out variation of the evening, but Winslett’s In celebration of the New Millennium piece. This variation strongly reflected modern topics of race and marriage equality, and like its previous variations, reflecting human emotion in our era. In celebration of the New Millennium is unconventional and profound. Its striking voice, spectacular stage props, and bold creativity brought each audience member to their feet by the end of the night.
Windows scenery by Charles Caldwell and lighting design by Richard Moore completed the journey for audience members with grand stage props and majestic lighting. Overall, Saturday night’s performances were exhilarating, innovative, and proved Winslett’s Richmond Ballet revolutionary.
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.
“If you have talent or not, if you are willing to work, I want to teach you,”January 12, 2017
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