Coming off the great success of “Coppelia,” Boston Ballet goes back to basics with fast, exquisite footwork and long, controlled extensions in “Ultimate Balanchine.” Very few companies have access to Balanchine repertoire and even fewer can pull off the legendary choreographer’s technique. Boston Ballet is in a class of its own.
Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen put together a program that captures three distinct styles.
“The Four Temperaments” is classic Balanchine. Well, classic in the neo-classical sense. A plain background and simple black and white leotards, show off the body as Balanchine intended. Long legs and perfect partnering make this piece enjoyable, from the quiet start to the whole ensemble onstage in the end.
Turning to Greek mythology, Balanchine and Stravinsky team up in their first of many ballets. In “Apollo,” the god of music (Pavel Gurevich), is visited by three Muses (Lia Cirio, Rie Ichikawa and Whitney Jensen). The foursome complement each other with complicated intertwining series. The lighting in the last few seconds will give goosebumps.
The program finishes with “oohs” and “ahhs” from the audience when the curtains rise for “Theme and Variations,” a nod to the grandiose style of a Russian ballet. Decked out in jewels and tutus, Misa Kuranaga and James Whiteside lead 24 dancers in the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3. for Orchestra.
“Ultimate Balanchine” is a nice break from this season’s full-length story ballets and showcases the core creativity of a man whose influence continues to shape ballet in the United States.
Boston Ballet presents
The Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston
MBTA: Green Line to Boylston