BALLET GAMONET (5-19-07)
WILLIAM SOLEAU/ JIMMY GAMONET DE LOS HEROS/ MARK GODDEN 

By Lawrence Budmen

Ballet Gamonet concluded an outstanding season with a program (seen on May 19 at Bailey Hall, Broward Community College) that combined two startlingly different pas de deux by company director Jimmy Gamonet de los Heros with ambitious dramatic works by William Soleau and Mark Godden, two of the most daring and gifted contemporary choreographers. 

Gamonetís two magnetic creations occupied the eveningís centerpiece. Purple Bend II is the male duo version of Gamonetís setting of Samuel Barberís Adagio for Strings. At once edgy and homoerotic, this ballet never fails to cast its magic spell (whether presented in female or male versions). Gamonet has masterfully crafted stark, elusive movements that rivet attention. Simon Silva and Paul Thrussell were the surefire protagonists, projecting exciting physicality. 

A Mi Lado (By My Side) was a romantic Gamonet pas de deux for a youthful couple to the thrice familiar strains of Johann Pachelbelís Canon. As lushly sensual as the music, the choreographer has created a work both playful and rapturous Ė a real winner and crowd pleaser. The beautiful Hiroko Sakakibara and Andres Felipe Figueroa were wonderfully fluid and charismatic as the love couple.

The program opened with In Passing, a powerful new ballet by William Soleau. The choreographer has created a sound montage of running water, Baroque music by Arcangelo Corelli, and electronic reverberations by Lisa Gerrard. His moving theater piece chronicles the cycles of life. Soleau has done nothing less than reinvent ballet as we know it, making classicism new again. Here is a work of true genius. 

As the principal life force in this mesmeric piece, Hiroko Sakakibara was terrific. Agile and dramatic, Sakakibara vividly projected the protagonistís joys, sorrows, and destiny. In a star turn Migdalia Martinez was outstanding as the other woman. Edgar Anidoís excellent partnering supported Sakakibara and Martinez with finesse. DeAnn Pertuschke and Paul Thrussell gave stellar performances as the protagonistís troubled parents. The entire piece was a gripping, emotional portrait of life and death Ė a superb new work!

When choreographer Mark Godden crafted Angels in the Architecture in 1992 for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, he undertook a daunting task. Aaron Coplandís Appalachian Spring, an American musical icon, is so inseparable from Martha Grahamís classic choreography that any new setting of the score would have to compete with the gold standard. Godden should not be underestimated. This terrifically talented choreographer has created a Shaker ballet that is beautiful and worthy of Coplandís Americana classic. While Godden has said that he was not familiar with Grahamís original choreography, it is remarkable how stylistically similar the two versions are. Godden has not adopted Grahamís scenario but merely presents a portrait of the work patterns of Shaker life. Like Graham, he uses the womenís costumes as an integral part of his movements. The resulting work is almost cinematic; an evocative reverie of an earlier, simpler way of life. 

Paul Daigleís austere costumes and stunning sets enhance the homespun mood of Coplandís music and the sweeping vistas of Goddenís choreography. Sakakibara and Thrussell were stunning as the principal couple, exuding dynamism and suave technique. The entire ensemble was excellent. This marvelous work was a capital ending to Ballet Gamonetís most ambitious season yet.

The 2007-2008 season promises to be equally exciting. With performances at Miamiís Gusman Center and West Browardís Bailey Hall, Ballet Gamonet will present new works by Soleau, Godden, Jerry Opdenaker as well as the companyís namesake. A season highlight is sure to be the South Florida premiere of Stravinskyís The Rite of Spring in a setting by the brilliant choreographer Oscar Araiz. Gamonet will present revivals of some of his most fondly remembered works Ė Divertimento Espagnol, Grand Pas Classique, Carmen, and Pan Nuit Suite, the choreographerís setting of the ballet music from Gounodís Faust (which recalls the brilliant heyday of Leonid Lavrovsky and the Bolshoi Ballet). For this enterprising company, the best is yet to come.


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