"Kathleen Breen Combes" tag
Kathleen Breen Combes.© Liza Voll. (Click image for larger version)

Kathleen Breen Combes – Principal, Boston Ballet

I was told my body type wasn’t really ideal, and during high school I had ballet teachers who said that maybe I should consider pursuing college because my body wasn’t suitable for classical ballet…

Bradley Schlagheck and Emily Mistretta in Jeffrey Cirio's fremd.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Thrill of Contact: Theme and Variations, The Concert, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, fremd – Boston

Boston Ballet closed its season with a generous offering of four ballets spanning almost 70 years… and including a world premiere and two company premieres…

Boston Ballet in Jorma Elo's Bach Cello Suites.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Edge of Vision: Bach Cello Suites, Eventide, Celts – Boston

The evening was full of surprises, not least that two of the three choreographers were women and that Jorma Elo broke radically new ground in his Bach Cello Suites…

Boston Ballet in Hans van Manen's Black Cake.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Shades of Sound: Chroma, Episodes, Black Cake – Boston

All three performances brought home the fact that this is a very strong company with the skills to perform any choreography that comes its way…

Boston Ballet in Balanchine's Symphony in Three Movements.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Program B: Symphony in Three Movements, L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune, Plan to B, Bella Figura – New York

…the dancers seem able to handle whatever comes their way. It’s a quality that will serve them well in their travels.

Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio in Rubies, © The George Balanchine Trust.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version

Boston Ballet – Jewels: Emeralds, Rubies, Diamonds – Boston

To close its 50th anniversary season Boston Ballet mounted a splendid production of Balanchine’s 1967 masterpiece Jewels.

Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio in Cinderella.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Cinderella – Boston

Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella is one of the great ballets of the 20th century and a triumph of his career.

Boston Ballet in La Bayadere.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – La Bayadere – Boston

As for the whole ballet, it’s a 19th century expression of the racist Orientalist view that says India is a land of groveling slaves and despotic rajahs, unbridled lust and pervasive corruption, abundant opium and yielding odalisques. …Once past all that, however, it’s a lavish and thrilling spectacle with abundant pleasures for eye and ear.

Kathleen Breen Combes and Paulo Arrais in Symphony in Three Movements.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Serenade, Afternoon of a Faun, Plan to B, Symphony in Three Movements – London

The first bravo for the Boston Ballet’s return to London must go to artistic director Mikko Nissinen, for his clever and highly successful programming for opening night.

Misa Kuranaga and Boyko Dossev in George Balanchine's Coppélia © The George Balanchine Trust.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Coppélia – Boston

Boston audiences were very lucky in their first two Swanildas. Opening night, Misa Kuranaga was a vision of loveliness…

Jeffrey Cirio in Wayne McGregor’s Chroma.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Chroma, Serenade, Symphony in C – Boston

Chroma: Perhaps it’s meant as a kind of sherbet to clear the palate between the Balanchine pieces… In short, I found the ballet dazzling but soulless.

Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio in The Sleeping Beauty.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – The Sleeping Beauty – Boston

The opening night Aurora and Désiré were danced by Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio, a superbly matched couple who have become a standard in the company.

Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio in The Nutcracker.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – The Nutcracker – Boston

And together, Kuranaga and Cirio make a superb couple, performing with such sensitive musicality and balanced unison that it sometimes seems you’re watching a single composite creature.

Carlos Molina in Don Quixote. © Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Boston Ballet – Don Quixote – Boston

And I’ll close with more praise of Maina Gielgud. I’ve never seen a ballet she’s set that hasn’t been absolutely first-rate. Boston Ballet has performed her Giselle for many years now and it’s easily my favorite Giselle, just as this production is now my favorite Don Quixote.

Boston Ballet – Play with Fire triple bill – Boston

But in Sharper, aggressively awkward movements are kept to a minimum: the ugly is reduced, and the residue now acts like a tonic of wit. And for the first time in Elo’s work, at least in my experience, we find a lyricism and beauty so profound they sometimes took my breath away.

Boston Ballet – Simply Sublime triple bill – Boston

Symphony in Three Movements: This collaboration of two of the giants of 20th century art (Balanchine, Stravinsky) was clearly a marriage made in heaven, and thanks to Boston Ballet’s newest production, we got to attend the nuptials.

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