A Dreamer's Paradise: Joffrey Ballet's Rising Stars

A Dreamer's Paradise: Joffrey Ballet's Rising Stars
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"Woven Dreams" by Edward Liang. Photo by Herbert Migdoll

Imagine you're asleep, and Victoria Jaiani, Fabrice Calmels, Anastacia Holden, and the rest of the Joffrey dancers are weaving leaps and turns through the corners of your mind. As you wake, you find yourself in a foreign place with people you may or may not now, and you feel as though you're flying, falling, or walking on air.

Sound like a dream? Good, because it is one. Tonight was opening night of Joffrey Ballet's Rising Stars, the final performance of the company's season. A unique arrangement of diverse choreography, the show was a journey through dreams, reality, the human mind, and pieces of a past recreated to live another day in the mind of the dreamer.

The stunner was Edward Liang's Woven Dreams (world premiere). The entire cast was
spot on in frosty blue bodysuits, dancing through and in front of a
stage-wide sparkling woven fabric that hung from above, which I imagine
represents the connections between reality and dreams. Christine Rocas
and Temur Suluashvilli performed the first duet, and the second and
third by always in sync Fabrice Calmels and Victoria Jaiani. Although
Jaiani looks scarily paper thin next to her fellow female counterparts,
for some reason she is always a vision when alongside Calmels.

One of the best movements was a five man ensemble (Derrick Agnoletti,
John Mark Giragosian, Aaron Rogers, Lucas Segovia, and Mauro Villanueva)
who packed so much punch and energy into the piece that the audience
was audibly "oohing," "aahing" and gasping each time they fell to the
floor and smacked the stage with each hand in unison, only to get back
up for another go. Fantastic!

The other pieces were strong as well. Night, choreographed by
Julia Adam, fit nicely in the program with Woven Dreams. First premiered
by the San Francisco ballet in 2000, Night is an adventure
through one woman's dream (performed by the tiny Anastacia Holden) as
she flies, falls, and runs away from her dream-people. Holden played the
dreamer quite well, as she flitted about the stage, falling in and out
of her dream state.

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Cloudpants in Julia Adam's "Night." Photo by Herbert Migdoll

The dream men were wearing what I would like to officially name
Cloudpants (see photo), or fluffy light blue pants that look like clouds. I hated
them at first, but they grew on me as I couldn't imagine the dream men
wearing anything other than the Cloudpants. The best part? At the very
end, Holden gets lifted up to stand on a dream man's shoulders and falls
backwards as the lights go out. Isn't that how all the good dreams end?

The third piece, Bells (world premiere), was choreographed by Russian
choreographer Yuri Possokhov. In the opening video Possokhov described
his piece as a blast from the past (well, not in so many words) in which
old memories get dredged up to live another day in the mind of the
dreamer. Quite a bit of sorrow and troubles for one piece, but Possokhov
said himself that he is Russian and is always digging up the past,
unlike us good ol' Americans who are always looking to the future.

A fantastic end to the season! So, so, so looking forward to what
Joffrey will bring to the table next year with Don Quixote, On
the Threshold
, and Spring Desire. Guess we'll just have to
dream about it...

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