Boston Ballet rolls out mostly terrific ‘Balanchine/Robbins’

Sabi Varga and Whitney Jensen bring “Afternoon of a Faun” to the dance studio.

It seems like every week this spring there’s another dance performance. Coming right off the heels of “Bella Figura,” Boston Ballet leaps into their season finale with a four-work program of American ballet masters George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

Balanchine’s “Divertimento No. 15,” set to Mozart, opens the show with patterns and lines that are synonymous with the Balanchine style. The piece includes ensemble and solo sections, but was not the strongest performance on opening night. James Whiteside stands out among the rest in this performance, but the men in general seemed out of sync — perhaps exhausted from a non-stop spring schedule.

“Afternoon of a Faun” is infamously known for its Nijinsky choreography, but this interpretation by Robbins is exquisite — taking the faun out of the forest and into the dance studio. Sabi Varga and Whitney Jensen admire their own reflections in the mirror in this stripped down version. It is a delicate, modern take on the narcissistic theme Nijinsky intended.

The third work of the night, “Antique Epigraphs” showcases eight women in soft-colored long chiffon dresses. Another Robbins piece, “Epigraphs” has never been performed outside of New York City Ballet. Consider it a treat — it’s a rare work that the women of Boston Ballet execute with ease.

Lastly, Balanchine’s “Symphony in Three Movements” is a chorographical masterpiece. Dancers in simple dark leotards commandeer the stage. Lia Cirio bursts onstage in bright pink with confidence and power leading Rie Ichikawa and Misa Kuranaga. This ballet at the end of the program embraces what makes Boston Ballet a great ballet company — technique, talent and staging.

Boston Ballet presents
‘Balanchine/Robbins’

Tomorrow through Sunday
The Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston
$30-$142, 617-695-6950
www.bostonballet.org


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