Festival Ballet Providence

February 10, 2006

Jennifer Ricci and Eivar Martinez in Gianni Di Marco’s
Photo by Thomas Nola-Rion, courtesy Festival Ballet Providence


Festival Ballet Providence
VMA Arts and Cultural Center, Providence, RI

February 10–12, 2006

Reviewed by Bill Gale


Joy, passion, violence, sex, and sweet love permeate two world premieres by Festival Ballet Providence. Two Boston Ballet affiliates, Viktor Plotnikov and Gianni Di Marco, have made bold starts as choreographers.

Plotnikov’s Loof and Let Dime is filled with danger. In skin-tight, brown and beige costumes, the 10 dancers move to Italian composer Giovanni Sollima’s hard-edged music. The women fall to the floor, rest their heads on the men’s calves. All clap once in unison. The men sweep the women up over their heads, holding them upside down for a long moment. You remember Leticia Guerrero and Davide Vittorino as sinuous lovers, entwined as are trees and vines. But they separate as a woman in virginal white moves slowly around the periphery, consuming an apple. Often there are five couples, with one leaving the others, never to rejoin. Loof and Let Dime creates a world of angles, with no soft spots. Sollima’s music keeps a furious pace. There is no rest. At the end, the dancers, with artistic director Mihailo Djuric’s costumes dark with sweat, sprint to the edge of the stage and fall forward, looking directly at the audience, just before their heads roll to one side and the stage goes dark.

Then, change. To the exuberant lyricism of the late, Cuban-born Celia Cruz, the dancers return in Di Marco’s Azucar, the women in designer Ka Yan Kan’s mini sarongs and flippy little tops, the men in rolled-up khakis, looking like anti-heroes in a glossy mag. The girls are playful and flirty; the boys sometimes eager, sometimes diffident. But they end a segment with cheeks pressed together. Tangoing and more, they enter a world propelled by music. He tries for a kiss; she slips away, but with a small smile. He tries again. All is light and blithe. Di Marco has created a place we love to enter once in a while; we are young and strong and concerned only with the music. It’s a powerful contrast to Plotnikov’s piece and shows the company at its best. See www.festivalballet.com.