On February 14th California Ballet invited valentines everywhere to join the company at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre for Beyond the Barre. The annual choreography exhibition treated sweethearts to an evening of rarely seen repertoire, new works from two young choreographers, and a Charles Bennett piece that had never been performed by California Ballet Company.
The evening started in the lobby as guests were offered complimentary chocolates and champagne (sparkling cider for those under 21). Moods were high and there was a positive buzz in the lobby as theater goers, with champagne in hand, waited for the doors to open.
The program opened with the California Ballet premiere of the late Charles Bennett’s Brahms Waltzes. The lowing movement and contemporary ballet style was well executed by CBC dancers, providing a gentle and romantic opening to the Valentine’s Day program. With Love, choreographed by Trystan Merrick, stepped up the energy with a playful approach to romance. All of the dancers were given a chance to shine and show their acting abilities, from apprentice to Principal.
After a brief intermission, Jeremy Zapanta revealed a new piece of Choreography titled At the Center. Mr. Zapanta’s choreography shined in last year’s Beyond the Barre when he made his CBC choreographic debut with To Each His Own. This year’s piece, created in collaboration with the dancers, once again showed that CBC dancers are capable of much more than just classical dance. The seven dancers involved ebbed and flowed with ease through the contemporary movement.
The most stunning performance of the evening also closed the program. Suite Vivaldi, choreographed by Francisco Gella, kept audience members on the edges of the seats wondering how the dancers could possibly move so fast. The piece, set to music by Antonio Vivaldi, kept the California Ballet dancers moving back and forth between flowing adagio and staccato allegro for what seemed an indeterminable amount of time. The amazing part was that the piece was over before one knew it, and left everyone wanting for more.
The entire evening was punctuated by short performances by Junior Company dancers, These brief interludes between the professional pieces were a stark reminder of the amazing work the company’s affiliate school does, and shows great promise for the future of dance in San Diego.