Last night patrons of the arts were gifted with the Indian-themed ballet La Bayadere (or, if you followed the first act, also to be forever known as La Bayaderriere. Of course, I am being "cheeky," as there was a lot of posterior flashing going on), performed by the excellent company of the Columbia Classical Ballet. And although I jest, this was really a wonderfully lavish and colorful ballet performed by a talented group of dancers, many new to our state. Radenko Pavlovich is a master at attracting superior international talent, mixing it with young local dancers, and topping it off with the vibrant athletic power of our most-popular star, Brooklyn Mack (freshly awarded several gold medals in world competitions this past summer). I owe the opportunity to see this ballet (the first time) to Brooklyn's mother Lucretia (via Katherine Macedon). Thanks.
Columbia often waits with baited breath for Brooklyn to take the stage and wow us with his soaring leaps and captivating presence, but this time we got him for the entire length of the production (which is truly a great pleasure), as he became Solor, bedecked in white and sparkles. Anyone who follows ballet locally is aware of his growing international fame and primary position with the Washington Ballet. He danced wonderfully, as he always does, and it was a great performance. I enjoy watching him dance and look forward to every time he is here.
As great as Brooklyn is, he was accompanied by a sterling group of dancers. While there have been many additions to the CCB company, with a large contingent coming from Asian locales (especially Japan), there are many wonderful holdovers from past years, too. My friend Zoltan Boros was great as the High Brahmin, though it was more an acting than dancing role. Wonderful costume! Five-year professional Oleksandr Vykhrest danced in several roles, principally as the slave Ali, and bravely, I must add. The tall, lithe, Lauren Frere, who has been with us since 2008, had several lead roles. A host of second and third year performers added to the show, including Edward Persondek, Maggie Hegarty, Matthew Waters, David Greenberg, and Nations Wilkes-Davis.
[Somehow the printed program insert seemed to have messed up the names of some dancers with their roles, so if I missattribute, please forgive me, because many faces were unfamiliar.] The new dancers were lovely and wonderful to watch. Nana Yamatani was impressive and excellent as Nikiya, and she was delightful in her pairing with Brooklyn. Also spectacular was Tamako Miyazaki as Gamzatti. I really adore the Japanese ballerinas. Yukihiro Tamura may have stolen the show with his golden turn as the Bronze Idol (I really hope this is attributed correctly, because he seemed to float in his dance). Tae Seok Kim was very good also. There were quite a few new dancers in the corps, and I especially liked their Shade dance.
My favorite part of the show was act III, with wild dancing and lots of activity. I thought the costumes were very nice overall and the scenery generally pretty good. There wasn't as much humor as in some of the productions, and no swordplay (odd, isn't there always swordplay?) I really enjoyed the dancing and pageantry. A good night. We are lucky to have this group.