FORT WORTH -- There's something to be said for familiarity. For Ballet Concerto's 29th annual Summer Dance Concert, which opened Thursday at Trinity Park, all three works were revivals.
No new work is reason for concern, but the company slipped on the revisited dances like a satin glove.
All three took advantage of some of the best professional dancers from Texas Ballet Theater, the defunct Metropolitan Classical Ballet and other national companies, and the experience showed.
First up was Jazz Swing by Fernando Bujones, restaged by Webster Dean. In five movements set to jazz standards performed by Louis Prima, the company worked in Lindy hops and other swing-era movements with classical ballet. Best was the pas de deux to Georgia on My Mind, danced with the precision and artistry of a glassblower by Michele Gifford and Shea Johnson.
Guest choreographer Luis Montero's Carmen, the one story ballet on the program, boiled down the basic plot of Georges Bizet's opera into a ballet suite. Flamenco was put to good use, with the always lovely-to-watch Margarita Bruce firing things up as Mercedes.
Brandon Nyugen made for a commanding and dashing Escamillo, and showed off athletic technical skills; but it was again Gifford, in the title role, and Johnson, as Don Jose, who stood out in the final struggle. It was a passionate, emotional duet with an ending that, well, does what opera is known for. The woman for whom the opera is named rarely makes it out alive.
It was announced that Montero will work with the Canadian ice dancing team at the next winter Olympics, using Bizet's music. Look for that to spice things up.
Wrapping things up was Michael Vernon's Western Sweet, set to seven classic country songs (sung by Sonny James, Peter Tevis and Slim Whitman), and then with a finale set to Mary Chapin Carpenter's Down at the Twist and Shout.
It's hard to mix classical dance and Western spirit and rhythm without being too hokey. Restaged by Webster Dean, with solid dancing by the company, Ballet Concerto didn't avoid the hokum factor, but it was a fun and uplifting ending to a summer tradition.