BWW Review: ABT's DON QUIXOTE Fires Up The 2017 Spring Season

BWW Review: ABT's DON QUIXOTE Fires Up The 2017 Spring Season

It takes the perfect spark to light a match, and on Thursday May 18, 2017, that spark was Soloist Christine Shevchenko. Replacing a temporarily injured Gillian Murphy, her rendition of Kitri was the cherry on top of the already delicious sundae that is Petipa's "Don Quixote," presented during the company's first week of spring performances at their Metropolitan Opera House residency. The ability to adapt, adjust, and make something your own is a rare gift that so often gets taken for granted. But it's exactly that nuance that let Shevchenko - and the entire production - shine like the brightest star in the sky.

The curtain rose on the ballet's charming first scene - the revered Don Quixote having a passionate vision of his beloved Dulcinea and committing to finding her likeness. But the excitement only continued to build as the audience was treated to the familiar delight of Sevilla, and the spunky synergy of its townspeople. At the height of celebration, Shevchenko appeared like a colorful whirl, flirting and flouncing her way through striking jetés, her long legs suspending in air to let the drama unfold. The brilliance continued with Alban Lendorf's Basilio, who provided the ideal power to balance Shevchenko's quiet confidence. In Act I, the energy crackled, as Kitri and Basilio fell in love, their bodies moving together as one complete unit. That dynamism was further supported by the brilliant technical prowess and partnership of Hee Seo's Mercedes and James Whiteside's Espada.

Act II continued to showcase the lovers' easy connection, this time with increased sensuality. A series of assisted attitude promenades allowed Shevchenko to continue to draw the audience in with her natural grace and fluid quality, while Lendorf's strength and reverence for his partner beamed through their tactile connection. The likes of fiery dancers Luciana Paris and Gabe Shayer brought added passion to the stage, teeing up for the much-anticipated third act.

When it came time for the crux of the entire ballet, the wedding Grand Pas De Deux, Shevchenko and Lendorf left their hearts and souls on stage. A piece that requires incredible control, power and perseverance, the pair injected their own personality into the movement; Lendorf's slick cabrioles and tours en l'air provided the edge to Shevchenko's supple développés and awe-inspiring coda of thirty-two fouettés, complete with a signature flick and raise of her fan with each double pirouette.

It was a scintillating evening, not only for the incredible storytelling and dancing, but also for the love of a pleasant surprise.

Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

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