BWW REVIEW: Ballet Hispanico brings Carmen.maquia to the Apollo Theater
On December 7, 2018, I was fortunate to be in attendance at the opening night performance (first of two) of Ballet Hispanico's Carmen.maquia, choreographed by the gifted Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, of Spain, in 2012, creating a contemporary, Picasso-inspired dance from the classic Carmen of Bizet. Sansano used extraordinary melodies and rhythms of music from Various Works by Georges Bizet, performed by the Slovak Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestras, and by the Arte Ensemble. Carmen Fantasy, by Pablo de Sarasate, is performed by the Apollo Symphony Orchestra. Sansano enjoyed the melodies with interesting musical interpretations.
The white and black costumes and sets immediately create a contemporary feel as the curtain opens. Set design and creation by Luis Crespo is simple and movable: white corrugated walls that move and scrims that appear and disappear. Costume design by David Delfin is both simple and unusual, very effective. Lighting design by Joshua Preston fills the stage with atmosphere.
The dancers were marvelously dramatic via a fusion of contemporary dance with a splash of Spanish paso doble and flamenco. Shelby Colona as the gypsy Carmen was seductive both to the men on the stage and to the audience, a very convincing Carmen. Each of the women, workers in the cigarette factory, had her own personality and a moment to shine. Chris Bloom as Don Jose partnered Colona well in a marvelously sensual pas de deux. In other lead roles, Lyvan Verdecia as the bullfighter and Eila Valls as Micaela, also in love with Don Jose, are impressive. It would be good to name each of the performers. The company as a whole delivered a remarkable theatrical ballet performance which included humorous passages and a variety colors through the veil of white and black.
While this year's run at the Apollo Theater is finished, Carmen.maquia will be available through the fall of 2020.
Photo credt: Christopher Duggan