dance review

Miami City Ballet’s ‘Don Quixote’ is bright but not brilliant entertainment

 

If you go

What: Miami City Ballet in ‘Don Quixote’

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday at the Kravis Center; April 11-13 at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; Ziff Ballet Opera House, Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Info: $20 to $175 at miamicityballet.org or 305-929-7010


jlevin@MiamiHerald.com

Miami City Ballet is ending its season with a solidly entertaining, if sometimes uneven, production of Don Quixote — the same ballet the troupe danced in its first performance at the Adrienne Arsht Center in fall 2006.

Friday’s opening show of this Spanish-flavored crowd pleaser at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale again featured Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Penteado in the lead roles of Kitri and Basilio, the young lovers whose antics and spectacular variations are at the heart of Don Quixote. The company repeats the program Friday through Sunday at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and April 11-13 at the Arsht Center.

Catoya, who has been on maternity leave this season, is back with astonishing verve for a woman who gave birth just seven months ago. Except for a few tense wobbles, Catoya was mostly her old confident self in Kitri’s many pyrotechnical variations: sharply outlining purely classical arabesques and coy Spanish twists of her back; reaching into long, proud balances; whipping off spectacular sequences of fouettes and pirouettes; prancing effortlessly on pointe. Catoya has often looked uncomfortably strained in recent performances, and so it was a pleasure to see her again as an adroit comedienne, an impulsive, sparkling and defiant girl.

Penteado also suits as Basilio, making up in punchy, intensely focused power what he lacks in range of movement; his big jumps and leaps, especially in the finale, were thrilling. He was also an adept comic, making Basilio an impish but open-hearted flirt.

The wisp of a plot is centered around Kitri and Basilio’s efforts to unite, even as her father (Didier Bramaz) tries to marry her off to the rich, foppish Gamache (a fabulously mincing Jeremy Cox). Don Quixote, understatedly played by Carlos Guerra, is mostly a comic foil, as well as an excuse for an elaborate classical dream sequence in the second act. The young Andrei Chagas made a terrific debut as the Don’s bumbling sidekick Sancho Panza, showing an unexpected gift for vivid physical comedy.

Jennifer Kronenberg struck a delicious balance between sultry and delicate as street dancer Mercedes; her partner Reyneris Reyes’ imperious machismo as the lunging, cape-swirling matador Espada was marred by tense stiffness.

The lavish Santo Loquasto set and costumes, rented from American Ballet Theater, make this a pleasurably and atypically lush production for MCB. All those layers of ruffles and bright colored satin make the many swirling crowd scenes a visual pleasure.

Where this Don Quixote falls short is in its consistency of style and attention to detail, which can make the difference between thrilling and simply satisfactory entertainment. In group sections the dancers could be out of sync, not moving in unison or shaping their steps in the same way, so that a crucial cohesion of style and impulse was sometimes missing.

A group of toreadors couldn’t always snap their capes fully open, and the male gypsies in the second act swaggered a bit too much like Marlon Brando wannabes. (Though Renan Cerdeiro and Patricia Delgado were satisfyingly melodramatic as their leaders). Enough of these inconsistencies and you lose the sense of unified energy and vision that make a big ballet like Don Quixote more than a series of exciting set pieces.

In the dream sequence, Sara Esty was beautifully piquant and quick as Amour, but she also seemed to rush through the delicately detailed gestures and musical accents that could have given her solos much more character. Christie Sciturro was elegant but tense as the Queen of the Dryads. And although Catoya did the spectacular sequence of hops on one pointe and long balances of the dream sequence well, this was the only place where she looked uncomfortably strained, marring what should have been a serene fantasy.

 

Read more Jordan Levin stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
The Good Dog

    Books

    Kids learn sometimes you gotta break the rules in “The Good Dog”

    Author encourages young readers to think for themselves

  •  
‘Calígula, el musical’ (‘Caligula, the Musical’) from Buenos Aires is the opening show of the XXIX International Hispanic Theatre Festival at Miami’s Arsht Center.

    Hispanic Theatre Festival

    ‘Calígula’: disturbing, richly provoking, void of hope

    Caligula, the nihilistic modernist classic by Albert Camus, seems an utterly unlikely candidate for a musical. There’s not even a glimmer of hope, much less a happy ending, in this 1945 play about an insanely brutal ruler and the terrifying consequences of dictatorial power. But the Argentine production Calígula, el musical (‘Caligula, the Musical’) throbs with dystopian melodrama and booming ballads. It’s Evita meets Mad Max on steroids and methamphetamines.

  •  
Chris Colfer reading from his Land of Stories series

    Books

    Glee star Chris Colfer visits Miami’s Books & Books with ‘Land of Stories’

    Kurt Hummel, the character that actor Chris Colfer plays on Glee, escapes from bullying at the TV show’s fictional high school by excelling as a show choir and music theater diva. The show mirrored Colfer’s real-life experience with bullying as a child, which became so brutal during middle school that his parents had to home-school him.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category