By Lawrence Budmen

The wonderful choreographic creations of Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros have returned to South Florida stages through the vibrant company Ballet Gamonet. On October 27 Miamiís Gusman Center for the Performing Arts was host to Ballet Gamonetís opening program of the season. Two terrific new Gamonet pieces crowned an exciting evening of dance.

Drone on the Open Fifth is set to one of the Estonian mystic Arvo Partís most famous works - Fratres (Brothers), a score written for violinist Gidon Kremer and his Kamerata Baltica. Gamonetís setting is strikingly beautiful and evocative. Like Partís hypnotic music, Gamonetís choreography is a celebration of humanity. 

Ballet Mistress and Prima Ballerina Illiana Lopez and Paul Thrussell (a graduate of Englandís Royal Ballet School) were pure elegance and sophistication in the leading roles. Lopez positively sparkled - how wonderful to see her dancing again. Christine Hodges and DeAnn Pertuschke were standouts in feature turns. Their clean line and secure technique anchored the performance, ably abetted by the six member corps de ballet. Here is another Gamonet gem. 

Eric Flissís multi-hued lighting is one of the artistic joys of the companyís repertoire Ė never more so than in Prokofiev Piano Concerto, the other new work on the program. Gamonet has choreographed against type in this piece. To the hard driving rhythms of Prokofievís 2nd Piano Concerto, the choreographer has set complex, neo-classical patterns in the Balanchine manner. The work is filled with inventive, beautiful ensemble work. Only in the sensual pas de deux does the romantic, languid choreographic voice of Gamonet come to the fore.

Lopez and Thrussell were stunning in the difficult pointe work in that duo. Indeed Lopez was mesmeric in her extended solo in the finale (to one of Prokofievís most Russian themes). Jessica Colina and Irene Balague shined in solo opportunities. The ten member ensemble was simply terrific dancing some of Gamonetís most difficult choreography. Prokofiev Piano Concerto is a winner! 

The program also featured modern dance choreographer Charles Moultonís entertaining Nine Person Precision Ball Passing, an exercise in synchronized movement.

Nous Sommes, a Gamonet masterpiece from his Miami City Ballet days, proved as hypnotic as ever. To the soaring, impressionistic tones of Joseph Canteloubeís Songs of the Auvergne, Gamonet has set a pas de deux of ardor and romance. Thrussell again proved a tower of strength. In the part originally created for Lopez, Hiroko Sakakibara was wonderfully agile and charismatic. Sakakibara and Thrussell gave remarkable performances.

With the premieres of two terrific new works destined to become Gamonet standards, the return of one of the choreographerís greatest pieces, and the eternal Iliana Lopez gracing the stage with her presence, Ballet Gamonet has begun what promises to be a stellar season. 

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