Stars of the 21st Century

February 13, 2006

Mathilde Froustey in Victor Gsovsky’s
Grand Pas Classique
Photo courtesy Mathilde Froustey

Stars of the 21st Century
New York State Theater, NYC

February 13, 2006

Reviewed by Wendy Perron


Why doesn’t the Paris Opéra Ballet ever come to New York? It’s a question I didn’t think about before I laid eyes Mathilde Froustey at the Stars of the 21st Century gala. Delicate, with a long neck and a touching vulnerability, she was a cross between Audrey Hepburn and the Little Match Girl. In the Giselle Act II pas de deux with Emmanuel Thibault, she projected a potent mix of sweetness and tragedy.

Equally stirring in a different vein was the go-for-broke, exhilarating, and witty dancing of Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky in the “junk duet” from Tharp’s Known By Heart.

Memorable moments in between included the balcony scene from Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, danced by Munich Ballet’s Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre. After they kissed, she fell back in bourrées as though the experience was too powerful for her.

In two solos by Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson showed he is still a phenom of articulation and expressiveness. When he arrived wearing a jacket over bare skin, you just knew that jacket was going to come off. And he didn’t disappoint. Watching Richardson move from showman to dreamer was pure pleasure.

Pilar Alvarez and Claudio Hoffman of Tango Metropolis Argentina danced two duets. The first, with Daniel Binelli playing bandoneón onstage, was languid and controlled. The second, which started with red lights and him holding her in a swoon on a chair, was more explicitly about seduction. She tossed her red hair artfully and wrapped her leg around him, sometimes digging in.

The low point was the pas de deux from The Pharoah’s Daughter, danced by the Bolshoi’s Svetlana Lunkina and Sergei Filin. Other than the lovely lavender tutu with geometric designs, there was nothing unusual about this presentation. Lunkina, who had been so beautiful and heartbreaking in Spartacus last summer, was occasionally abrupt here.

The most adventurous pairing of the evening was New York City Ballet’s Sofiane Sylve with the Kirov’s Andrian Fadeyev in Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux. He appeared less bound than in the past, but compared to Sylve, he was inert. Her fluidity and fullness of port de bras were stunning. It almost seemed like his rigidity allowed her to be more playful and generous than usual. See

P.S. The answer to that first question above is Money.