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Metropolitan Classical Ballet makes welcome return

Posted 6:20am on Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2010

ARLINGTON -- A "Summer Repertory" program by Metropolitan Classical Ballet on Saturday provided a sweet diversion for dance lovers. Four ballets -- two sweet-serious, two fun-theatrical -- presented at Texas Hall at the University of Texas at Arlington featured liquid-flowing ladies and strong, graceful men.

The choreography of three numbers was by Paul Mejia, co-artistic director of the company. Brahms Waltzes was a poetic melange, an ever-changing kaleidoscope that shifted seamlessly as charming piano waltzes by Brahms were played by solo pianist Gleb Ivanov.

Groups of 14 dancers were bathed by Tony Tucci's clear, warm lighting. Ensembles dissolved into poignant pas de deux; Andrey Prikhodko presented solos of unhurried athleticism. A mood of simplicity and nostalgia elevated the performance.

A new duet by Mejia, created for company principals Marina Goshko and Prikhodko, traced intertwining lines as pianist Ivanov and violinist Eric Grossman played the Valse-Scherzo by Tchaikovsky. Sometimes inspiration seemed to fail Mejia, as in the repetitious waving of arms by the dancers during violin cadenzas. But movement matched the music's bravura finish, with Goshko pirouetting, her up-reaching arms propelling quicker spins to flourishes in the violin.

Guest dancers Vilia Putrius and Mindaugas Bauzys starred in Mejia's Café Victoria, a sexy showpiece set to tango music by Astor Piazzolla. Joining the violinist and pianist was Hector Tito Castro playing the Argentine bandoneon accordion.

The ballet traced a nightclub romance, with Putrius beguiling Bauzys while three black-clad muses (Brittany Bollinger, Kayla Giard, Ekaterina Ostroven) vamped and postured behind. I wanted more cool calculation, even menace, from the women.

The "Summer Repertory" marked a welcome return for Arlington-based Metropolitan Classical Ballet, which performed for the first time since December.

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