Waking Up to a DREAMstate: Boston Ballet

We are slowly shedding layers: layers of a life altered due to a worldwide pandemic, layers of clothes as the earth warms up for Spring, layers of stress and anxiety due to the constant unknowns, as we wake up from a two year daze. Boston Ballet’s latest performance helps us celebrate this awakening with three incredible pieces. I have been looking forward to this program most of all because it is my own personal dream program in part for my love of Jirì Kylián’s work and Bella Figura in particular. I was an invited guest and as always all opinions are my own. I attended with my daughter and my mom who was able to get a senior rush ticket, which anyone over 65 should take advantage of. Student rush tickets are also available.

Boston Ballet in George Balanchine’s Chaconne © The George Balanchine Trust; photo by Liza Voll; courtesy of Boston Ballet

The performance begins with an orchestral overture and the curtains then open to Balanchine’s Chaconne, which has a timeless beauty and ease. Chaconne is a celebratory piece layered with beautiful large group dances as well as intimate duets and trios.

John Lam in Stephen Galloway’s DEVIL’S/eye, photo by Liza Voll; courtesy of Boston Ballet

After intermission the curtain opens dramatically to what looks like a giant boombox and you instantly know you are in for something a little different. Dancers saunter onto stage. To anyone of a certain age, familiar music fills the room, and that giant boombox becomes concert lights. I have been going to concerts again recently with my child and that carefree feeling of concert days is a great memory to bring back to life. DEVIL’s/ eye takes you back to those concert days.

Stephen Galloway’s choreography is a feeling and a half. This piece was made for John Lam- both my daughter and I commented separately how Lam embodied the choreography to the fullest and made it electric. Lia Cirio, Cheryl Fentroy, Daniel Durrett, Chisako Oka and Benji Pearson oozed the choreography to the last drop too.

DEVIL’s/eye begins with an wonderful men‘s ensemble that goes beyond the typical: “Hey look what I can do.” “Yes, but can you do this?” back and forth that mens’ ensembles in ballet tend to be. There is beauty, grace, strength and camaraderie in the opening that feels new and refreshing for ballet, but also very familiar to human nature.

Seo Hye Han and Haley Schwan in Jiří Kylián’s Bella Figura, photo by Liza Voll; courtesy of Boston Ballet

Bella Figura is a stunning piece by Jirì Kylián. It has a purity and simplicity with underlying layers that are imperceptible unless you seek them out. The stage’s moving wings, and scrim give the dancers a whole new range of space and setting without any other props or costumes. Bella Figura translates to beautiful figure and Kylián’s piece is a gorgeous body of work.

While we are used to partial nudity of men on stage there is not always a comfort level with the same of women. There is a level of maturity (and I’m not talking about age but rather culture perhaps) that can see the beauty in a stage full if people in powerful red, billowy bottoms and in the beautiful pure skin they are in on top. Nudity need not be sexual and should not be uncomfortable. This peace is more universal and free than that if you allow yourself to just take it in as it is meant to be.

DREAMstate’s run at the Boston Opera House goes through March 27th. Tickets can be purchased here.

Boston Ballet in Stephen Galloway’s DEVIL’S/eye, photo by Liza Voll; courtesy of Boston Ballet

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