Friday, April 12, 2024

Dance Review: Corella Ballet Castilla y Leon at City Center, NYC

Corella Ballet Castilla y Leon, photo by Manuel de los Galanes
Corella Ballet Castilla y Leon’s weekend at City Center is a ballet feast.  Serving up everything from a tidbit of Swan Lake to an exciting new work from ballet’s newest it-boy Christopher Wheeldon to former ABT stars, Corella’s brand new company shows that it has the mettle to not only bring more ballet to Spain, but to teach us Americans a thing or two as well.

Corella’s own choreography, String Sextet, starts us off on a neo-classical journey through tight shifts in space and fiery technique, best exemplified by the diminutive Kazuko Omori and gangly Joseph Gatti.  She is light and precise in a innovative jeté jump where she is pulled magnetically back to her starting point.  Gatti is youthful, confident, and musical, working well within Tchaikovsky’s mesmerizing score.

Are You a DANCER?  Join iDANZ Today!However, the most technically exciting of the evening is Herman Cornejo. A former dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Cornejo steals the show in the Black Swan pas de duex.  His jumps are so buoyant, his turns so spot-on that several audible whistles are heard from the balletomanes sitting behind me.  He pulls one pirouette series, ending in such a beautiful plié dévelopé, it makes me shiver.

We first see dancing from Corella himself in a duet for him and his sister Carmen, choreographed by Maria Pages.  Solea is a tribute to Flamenco’s rich history in Spain and Carmen flies through fiery flamencoesque foot work en pointe while Angel slices through jumps with multiple beats.  They trade off and play with traditional flamenco structures and rhythms in a satisfying re-interpretation of the form.  One sees here why Angel has been such an audience favorite for the last decade-plus.  He is a ball of energy, every move bursting with such finesse and charisma, one can’t help but love him.

Finally, Carmen Corella impresses me again as the first soloist in Wheeldon’s relatively new work Danse a la Grand Vitesse.  She is clad, as are the rest of the females, in a leotard with vertical black stripes and nude pointe shoes.  This look emphasizes her already long torso, and as she morphs through Wheeldon’s contorted shapes, she maintains a weird and fluid grace that is transcendent.  I love Wheeldon’s ability to move static shapes through space in a way that questions the resiliency of the human form.  His women are constantly spinning in the arms of their men.  Down is up and up is down in this rocking and energetic new piece.

One hopes that Corella and Wheeldon, two of ballet’s favorite young men, will continue to bring new ballet to the world stage.

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Official Dance Review by Meghan Frederick
Performance:  Corella Ballet Castilla y Leon
Choreography: Angel Corella, Christopher Wheeldon, Maria Pages, Leonid Lavrovsky, 
Venue:  City Center
Show Date:  March 19th, 2010


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