BWW Review: DIRECTOR'S CHOICE at Festival Ballet Providence

BWW Review: DIRECTOR'S CHOICE at Festival Ballet Providence

A new adaptation of Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale made its world debut in Providence last night in a Festival Ballet Providence's production where it was, as per the ballet's direction, "read, played and danced." Fresh with engaging choreography by their resident choreographer Viktor Plotnikov, the ballet also featured a septet from the RI Philharmonic (conducted by Alexey Shabalin) on stage performing the score and Actor Nigel Gore richly narrating the libretto by Swiss writer. C.F. Vaduz..

Although the original ballet premiered 100 years ago, the magic of Stravinsky is that his work still feels fresh, modern and inventive. This multi-disciplinary collaboration is a rare treat not to be missed.

The Soldier's Tale is the final of three ballets presented in Festival Ballet's Director's Choice, which also featured George Balanchine's glittering Rubies (also danced to Stravinsky) and The American, with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon and music by Antonín Dvo?ák.

Based on a Russian folk tale, The Soldier's Tale is sometimes dramatic and sometimes dreamy, so seamlessly danced at times it took on the effect of fine animation. Ty Parmenter plays Joseph, in the title role as the soldier. The role is excellent showpiece for Parmenter's dancing as well as dramatic talents as he performed the role with athleticism and moving emotion.

Alex Lantz and Katherine Bickford share the role of Joseph's nemesis, the Devil. Lantz brings a comic sensibility to his devil, at times more of a trickster, and Bickford's portrayal is lithe and sinuous.

Rubies opened the evening and was breathtaking from the moment the curtain went up, evoking audible delight from the audience. This piece is the second act of Balanchine's jewels, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Again another rare treat as Festival Ballet Providence is one of only two dance companies in New England that receive permission to perform Balanchine's works.

Against a minimalist backdrop, all eyes are on every move and facial expression and the piece was beautifully and flawlessly performed. Kirsten Evans was spectacular as a soloist in this piece, a true jewel in the crown of rubies. Ty Parmenter and Eugenia Zinovieva performed together with a sculptural grace.

The American was pure romance and joy of dance. The Czech composer, Dvo?ák, wrote the music during a sojourn in Iowa, and influences of American folk music ebb and flow through the score.

Director's Choice has two more performances this weekend at the VETS, Providence. For more information, go to

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From This Author Barb Burke

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