Don Quixote

Alexei Ratmansky's new Don Quixote, based on Marius Petipa's 1869 choreography, debuted two years ago at the Dutch National Ballet. PNB director Peter Boal, who had been looking to add another program-length work to the repertory, flew to see the Amsterdam premiere, then promptly returned home for some intensive fundraising. PNB is using every dancer in the company for this production, since Ratmansky is committed to the hubbub of the big crowd scene. Four couples play the principal roles of lovers Kitri and Basilio, and last weekend I saw three of them: Carla K├Ârbes (freshly dyed as a brunette) with Karel Cruz; Kaori Nakamura with Lucien Postelwaite; and Carrie Imler with Batkhurel Bold. Although each pairing reveled in the Spanish-inflected choreography, Imler probably gave the snappiest performance, flashing through brilliant pointe work and powerhouse jumps, showing speed and elevation as the sassy Kitri. Don Q is often a a vestigial figure in this ballet, but Ratmansky has fleshed out the part. He and sidekick Sancho Panza are woven into almost every scene. It's a good decision: Tom Skerritt makes for a lanky, dreamy Don, yearning for the romance of earlier times; and Allen Galli brings his considerable mime and commedia dell'arte skills to his Zero Mostel-ish Sancho. Their choreography is full of classic pratfall-inspired shtick, until the end of the performance when they march off together to find new adventures, a pair of heroic clowns. SANDRA KURTZ [See Sandra's full review.]

Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 3. Continues through Feb. 12, 2012

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