FORT WORTH Being vandalized earlier this week at Trinity Park Pavilion — lights were broken, trash cans trashed — didn’t harm Ballet Concerto, which opened its 2013 Summer Dance Concert Thursday night in good spirits and continuing with its trend of solid, technical dancing that they’ve comfortably grown into over the years.
The performance began with divertissements from Paquita, which are all that remain of Marius Petipa’s 1881 ballet set to bombastic music by Ludwig Minkus.
Staged by Webster Dean, the work allows the dancers to show all of the showy moves that audiences love, with the dancers in costumes — pancake tutus on the women, board-straight tights and shirts on men — that everyone conjures when they hear the words “classical ballet.”
The ballet corps make pretty lines, and then we get into the exciting stuff: divertissements with solos, pas de trois (Justin Hogan, Whitney Hart and Katie O’Hara on Thursday night) and a perfectly lovely pas de deux with Michele Gifford (former New York City Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater) and Shea Johnson (former Metropolitan Classical Ballet and Ballet Arizona).
Usually the most anticipated work on a Ballet Concerto program is the one with flamenco, and while Luis Montero’s Andalusian Suite does that, the volume level of the canned music (by Joaquin Rodrigo) was too loud and drowned out the usually thrilling footwork by Margarita Bruce and Perla Montoya.
The corps worked in a tight ensemble, with flamenco costumes, but it was the set of Remembrances and especially the erotic pas de deux — Gifford and Johnson with sexual sparks flying and lifts that would render a gym visit for the next few weeks unnecessary — that most will remember.
Wrapping up the concert was Artistic Director Margo Dean’s String of Pearls, staged by Webster Dean and a tribute to dance and music you’d see and hear in a 1940s American military canteen (and inspired by actual work Margo Dean performed on a War Bond Tour).
Glenn Miller Big Band music, military khakis on the men and women and clean lines represent this work. Most fun is the Bugle Call Rag, featuring the group’s standout male artists (Max Caro, Ruben Gerding, Justin Hogan, Brandon Nguyen) melding the ideas of military formations and stringent lines with balletic flow and grace.
Another year, another reason to bring wine, snacks (and bug spray) to one of Fort Worth’s longest running outdoor arts traditions.