Marcelo, Are you OK?

July 13, 2008

I’ve never seen an Albrecht who is so convincing that you actually worry about him depleting himself. When ABT’s Marcelo Gomes and Paloma Herrera danced their Giselle last Wednesday, they seemed to draw inspiration from each other. She was sweet, natural, and vulnerable to him. He gathered dramatic steam, and by Act II, he was crazily devoted, wildly trying to attain the unattainable, which of course, is either the girl Giselle or the ideal of beauty and truth that she stands for. I love the part where Albrecht does 24 entrechat sixes (not every Albrecht chooses to do them) and I waited for it with anticipation. And he did them, but he didn’t just do them. He started strong, and then in the last 8, he bounded higher and higher, his arms opening up to the sky. He looked like he would have flown up to heaven to meet his personal Wili (Giselle, or rather, her ghost) if he could. He nearly danced himself to death (as Myrta intended him to)—or to afterlife. When he staggered around afterwards, his hand went up to his heart. Now in the first act when Giselle puts her hand on her heart, you know it’s to show that she has a heart condition and shouldn’t be dancing. But when Gomes did it, he was so utterly spent that it seemed involuntary, and I really thought for a second that he had done himself in. (Can you get a heart attack, I wondered, from bounding upward 24 times?) The whole sequence, with Myrta ordering his death, then his 24 sixes, the last third of them in lift-off mode, and the ensuing exhaustion/desperation, and Herrera protecting him, was thrilling. Gomes took it further into real abandonment that I’d ever seen Albrecht do. And I was humming that part of the Adolphe Adam score for the rest of the week.