The world acclaimed classical Los Angeles Ballet presented a program of three iconic works by master choreographer Christopher Wheeldon at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. As each of the works had an abstract quality without explicit storylines, the audience was afforded the opportunity to engage with, freely interpret, and appreciate the pure exquisiteness and transcendental quality of the choreography and the dancers’ skill and expressiveness.
Ghosts, choreographed to the string and piano chamber score by C.F. Kip Winger, evokes a mystical atmosphere covering a deep ocean with a backdrop of a dark moonlit sky that envelopes the translucent costumed dancers. The piece is divided into four sections that transitions from a feeling of the dancers floating and undulating in the waves, to tighter groupings spinning in a more staccato motion, and then into lyrical and tender supportive pairings, and concluding with a series of highly energetic and chaotic group shifts and changes.
Morphoses, set to György Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1, features four dancers in orange costumes beginning as an interconnected whole, rising from the floor and then dividing into couples who perform a complex and impressive athletic and lyrical pas de deux. Throughout the they move responding to the music’s subtle atmospheric music performed by the Flux Quartet and ending reconfiguring as a collective entity.
Fool’s Paradise is set to a dramatic score by Joby Talbot and luminescent lighting design by Penny Jacobus. In program descriptions, Wheeldon has said that the work is suggestive of William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream enchanted forest or Hollywood meets Mount Olympus. Any which way one may interpret it, the ballet features bare chested male dances and tunic-clad females in a misty environment punctuated by a background of falling glimmering sparks of light as the dancers softly, gently, fluidly and emotionally connect. With arms raised, hands touching and moving together in circle, the dancers evoked the image of Henri Matisse’s emblematic impressionistic painting The Dance, which is an ode to life, joy, and physical abandonment.
Wheeldon has alluded to George Balanchine’s quote “Putting together a good program is like dancing a good meal.” Los Angeles Ballet’s performance was an enjoyable experience, very delicious, and most satisfying. Dancers for this performance include: Soloist Jasmine Perry; Principal Dancers Petra Conti and Kate Inoue; Guest Artists Lauren Lovette, Zachary Catazaro, Lucas Segovia, Evan Swenson; and Company Dancers: Tate Lee, Jonas Tuta, Mackenzie Byrne, Cassidy Cocke, Hannah Keene, Santiago Paniagua, Marcos Ramirez Castellano, Brigitte Edwards, Lilly Leech, Cleo Taneja, Ryo Araki, Jacob Ray, Cesar Ramirez Castellano, Shintaro Akana.
For more about and upcoming performances for the Los Angeles Ballet, go to LosAngelesBallet.org