Almost every dance by Jorma Elo opens with men rushing from the wings and erupting in big, climactic leaps. Awake Only begins with a boy (the sober Liam Lurker) commanding adults like Sendak's Max, taking the buoyant and mischievous Jeffrey Cirio by the hand, and tickling his knees into motion. Then the men arrive, and the jetes commence as per usual.
Awake Only slathers Bach themes with fidgeting. Sabi Varga partners Lia Cirio (in soft slippers), a sextet of women in pointe shoes appear, Kathleen Breen Combes (also on pointe) dances an "are you a dream" duet with Jeffrey, walking herself into his arms. The formidable Combes manages to give Elo's oddities a romantic subtext. The women's hot pink costumes by Charles Heightchew vibrate against the saturated pastels of John Cuff's lighting, but Elo mistakes fussiness for invention.
Rooster, Christopher Bruce's date-night Rolling Stones ballet gets a muzaky reprise. The knee-knocking, neck-poking strut is suitably Mick by way of the barnyard, and Whitney Jensen is liquid self-absorption in "Ruby Tuesday" while John Lam hits it out of the park with his amped-up liberty. William Forsythe's The Second Detail is a marvel of resolve, contrapuntal fireworks made of extreme ballet technique. Lorna Feijoo's solo wrapped in crumpled paper reads as West Africa by way of the Bauhaus.
BOSTON BALLET FALL PROGRAM ::Opera House, 539 Washington St, Boston :: Through November 4 :: $29-$137 :: 617.695.6955 or bostonballet.org
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