BWW Review: JUMP JIVE with the California Ballet
California Ballet invites you to JUMP JIVE with them as they explore dance through the 20's, the 40's , and the 60's, with a little classical thrown in to keeps things interesting.
The show starts with the SUITE VIVALDI, a gorgeous piece where the dancers ebb and flow in time to Vivaldi score. A composer known for works that were more exuberant and playful than other composers, this ballet has a lovely, almost poetic feel to it as the dancers bend and sway like willows in the wind. This impression may be helped by the various greens the dancers wear that evoked a feel of nature.
Selected pieces from THE GREAT GATSBY, presented in encore from their 2015 world premiere performance of the full-length ballet. With an infusion of jazz, these two high energy pieces explore the two main themes of Gatsby. The first, a lovely duet with Reka Gyulai and Lester Gonzalez Ramos as Daisy and Gatsby and conjures the feeling of romance and being swept off of your feet. The second, a group number featuring Ana da Costa as Myrtle, Trystan Merrick as Tom Buchanan, and Justin Flores, Zachary Guthier, Jeremy Power, and Jeremy Zapanta as the party guests. It embodies the fun and frivolity of a party girl who has the power to play among the elite, but can also find herself at a loss to control how high she flies among them before they tire of her.. They are bringing back this ballet next year for their 50th anniversary and I look forward to seeing the entirety of the ballet.
FLUCTUATING HEMLINES takes a more contemporary turn as it uses 60's rock as the inspiration for a more athletic, and stripped down look at humans more base natures. Beginning dressed in 60's inspired poufy dresses, natty suits, and wigs are removed to the dancers in their camisoles and briefs to reveal what's really underneath. Though both male and female dancers are in these pieces, it seemed like the men really dominated this with some spectacular and energetic jumping sequences.
JUMP JIVE, the title piece of the show is choreographed by the new Associate Artistic Director of the California Ballet Jared Nelson. This work is a dynamic combination of swing, tap, and ballet with a lot of athletic jumps and lifts. The Big Band music is a fun and high energy focus in which to present ballet, which doesn't always make people think they will be accompanied by music from The Cherry Poppin' Daddies. This was incredibly animated, appealing and had the audience clapping along with the music and cheering on the dancers.
"Fever" with Anya da Costa and Trystan Merrick, was smooth and sultry and fits the torchy lounge ballad. Especially entertaining was the tap number to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by Danielle Dawson, Vincent Padilla, Lane Palhegyi, and Jeremy Power.
There is another performance on Saturday, October 15 at the Balboa Theatre at 7:30pm. For ticket information go to www.californiaballet.org. If you can't make this performance then you can catch the company in their next endeavor, everyone's holiday favorite, THE NUTCRACKER AT THE San Diego Covoc Theatre December 16th - 24th.
See you at the ballet!
Photo credit: Brad Matthews