Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL
October 26-27, 2007
Reviewed by Gunild Pak Symes
For a company that is only three years old, Ballet Gamonet is both astounding and outstanding. With two company premieres by artistic director Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros and one world premiere by newcomer Jerry Opdenaker, the company opened their 2007-08 season in Miami with a fiery program. Three quite different, yet very spicy and tasteful ballets were performed with infectious charm by a young and vibrant group of beautifully trained dancers, many of whom come from South America.
The most visually dramatic performance and poetic crafting of movement was offered by the sensual and smoky ballet, Bailame, created by Florida-based choreographer Opdenaker to an inventive score by Gustavo Santaolalla. An abstract multi-layered work, Bailame combined leggy pointe-work, modern dance principles of fall and recovery, and reflections of Cunningham-based technique. A mesmerizing, continuously flowing, weaving, circular river of movement interlaced intricate partnering work with seamless transitions. The choreography carried the eye through a variety of turbulent relationships between individuals and groups. Visual environments transformed from warm red to suddenly cool purple to heaving smoky golden sunbeams through which bodies entwined and unwound, stopping in mid-breath and retreating into darkness.
The evening ended with a flashy, yet well-crafted work, Transtangos by Gamonet to a savory score by Astor Piazzola. The stylish art deco sets and lighting by Eric Fliss and costumes by Susan Santoro in pink, deep blue, orange, and turquoise, recalled the sultry nightlife and outdoor cafes of the historic district of Miami. As the lead female figure in black sequins, Iliana Lopez brought the sizzle to the production with her long legs and dramatic dips. She was in full control while steamy couples strutted through labyrinths of tango-inspired partnering peppered with touches of Balanchine extensions, poses, lifts and falls, spirals, and moments of stillness.
What one missed in most of the young couples’ dancing, however, was the passionate tension of the tango—the searing eye contact with their partners, the low slithering, smooth and perfectly synchronized transitions from foot to foot, and the sharpness of the head and limbs that puts the power and magnetism into the dance. See www.balletgamonet.org.