This year’s Summer Dance Concert from Ballet Concerto is its most diverse in recent memory in terms of style.
It started traditionally with Michael Fokine’s 1909 work Les Sylphides, restaged by Webster Dean and Liuba Paterson. The women were in white tutus with flower rings on their hair; the dancers hit all the notes in classical technique, with beautiful pointe work and feet positions.
Allisyn Caro’s Prelude, Shea Johnson’s Male Variation and Lea Zablocki’s Mazurka: all lovely. But in staying so staunchly traditional, the company brought little personality or anything of interpretive insight. As a result, it was boring.
That’s a word you can’t use for Elise Lavallee’s Ouroboros, which is having its world premiere and is a rare contemporary ballet for Ballet Concerto. Using dance club music by Deadmau5 and Adam Hurst, the piece pays homage to the ancient Egyptian image of a snake eating its own tail, representing life’s cyclical nature — birth and rebirth and all that.
It began promisingly with the women in blue hooded dresses, forming two rows that turn on the stage like a wheel, a single male dancer (Brandon Nguyen) in the middle. Very ritualistic. Later the women take off those outfits to reveal short halters and shirts (costumes by Beth Thomason), and the large ensemble numbers take on a more celebratory feel, with sharp hand movements that are as structured as elaborate hieroglyphics.
Sometimes the movement was too similar to something you’d see from backup dancers for a major pop star, perhaps emerging from music-video wind, but Lavallee adds enough classical flair to keep it fresh and exciting.
As he’s done many times before, Luis Montero had the best of the bunch with the world premiere of The Wedding, inspired by playwright Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding. He follows the bones of the storyline, with all its darkness, jealousy and passion. Classical ballet merges with flamenco, and the standout moment is a flamenco duet with Montero and Margarita Bruce.
Local ballet favorite Michele Gifford exhibits exquisite lines and deep emotion, and the final celebration and escape scene is a thrilling finale. Montero has created several ballets based on Lorca plays, and his passion for the writer is evident.
Summer Dance Concert
8:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Trinity Park Pavilion, 2300 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth
Free for lawn seating; $30 for reserved table seating