The other big news came from Tsukiyo. Saturday afternoon, Kathleen Breen Combes was dizzyingly detailed, and Lorin Mathis, as her mortal, never took his eyes off her, an Endymion enchanted by moon goddess Selene. Sunday brought Kuranaga and Yanowsky, who danced the piece in 2009 and looked even better this time. Rather than a goddess, she seems an alien who’s just acquired human sensibilities; he teaches her how to see and feel. There were moments in their performance when time just seemed to stop, the two of them moving every bit as slowly and sumptuously as Pärt’s music. (The violinist and pianist for this piece are uncredited; I’m guessing they are Boston Ballet Orchestra concertmaster Michael Rosenbloom and company pianist Freda Locker, as in 2009.)
Seeing The Second Detail a second and third time made me wonder whether Forsythe could have had a high-school prom in mind. Probably not, but that’s how it plays out, with everybody sizing one another up (Breen Combes and James Whiteside eye each other for some time before making contact) and showing off his or her moves to anyone (sometimes that’s no one) who’s interested. There are the wallflower seats along the, uh, wall. There’s the unattainable blonde bombshell (Whitney Jensen) who dances by herself. And there’s the girl who couldn’t get a date and arrives late and throws a Carrie-like fit. Lorna Feijóo did a kind of Afro-Cuban number; Sunday, Cornejo was more idiosyncratic, at one point throwing in a split jump.
One of the best things about “Bella Figura” was the opportunity it gave corps members to show what they can do: Sarah Wroth (in both The Second Detail and Bella Figura), Rachel Cossar, Isaac Akiba, Bo Busby, Paul Craig, Robert Kretz, and Bradley Schlagheck gave evidence that the company is on the right track. That was also the conclusion of writer Claudia La Rocco’s progress report on Boston Ballet in an article that appeared in the New York Times last Thursday.
For whatever reason (the pressure of competition from the Times?), Thursday was a very bad note-taking evening. A few (?) corrections. (1) The dancers who hit the deck midway through The Second Detail are lying on their sides, not their backs. I should mention too that the white dress worn by Feijóo and Cornejo may look like a sheet, but it’s actually an Issey Miyake original — there’s just the one dress, it travels around the world with the ballet as a kind of good-will ambassador. (2) The man who’s shunted off the stage at the beginning of Tabula Rasa is confronted by most of the other dancers, not just a quartet, and the piece actually ends in a flurry of lifting and whirling as the curtain descends. I wish I could say that seeing this work twice more made me like it better, but it’s still a puzzle. (3) The music that accompanies Bella Figura’s centerpiece duet is not by Torelli but by Lukas Foss, the same music that opens Kylián’s ballet. (It would be the perfect accompaniment to any E.M. Forster film adaptation.) For those who are interested, here’s Bella Figura’s musical line-up: Lukas Foss: Salomon Rossi Suite (Lento); Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (“Stabat Mater dolorosa”); Foss: Salomon Rossi Suite (Andante); Alessandro Marcello: Oboe Concerto in D minor (Adagio); Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Mandolins and Strings RV 532 (Andante); Giuseppe Torelli: Concerto Grosso Opus 8 No. 6 (Grave); Foss: Salomon Rossi Suite (Lento); Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (“Quando corpus morietur”).