Joffrey Ballet Rocks American Legends

While American-made products may be a thing of the past, one thing's for certain: America has some legendary choreographers. The Joffrey Ballet's American Legends opened this week to a packed house, introducing new and old works and featuring three American choreographers and an Aussie.Here's the rundown.

Interplay: Jerome Robbins' playful Interplay opened the evening with a throwback to the 1940s. I'm biased, as I always find Joffrey's portrayal of Robbins' choreography completely delightful. It's simple and youthful, and makes you feel like you just stepped into a 1940s movie set.

Sea Shadow: Ah, Sea Shadow. From Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino, if you weren't already in the Valentine's Day spirit, now you are! A sensual duet first debuted in 1962, Jeraldine Mendoza and Dylan Gutierrez were splendid. Mendoza is a rising star in the company and her performance Wednesday solidified that path. The duet portrayed the two on a beach engaged in a sea foam green love story, Mendoza playing the tiny seductress.
Son of Chamber Symphony: And here we have Australian-born Stanton Welch, Artistic Director for the Houston Ballet. For me this seemed a bit out of place, a fast-paced, mystical premiere that was dark, literally and figuratively. Interesting, exciting, and obviously excellently choreographed and perfectly executed, but felt a little hellish for the evening's works. Maybe I was feeling a little too lovey-dovey to fully appreciate it?
Nine Sinatra Songs: A series of duets from American master Twyla Tharp set to equally masterful Sinatra songs made for a great close to the show. Although I'm not always a huge fan of the ballroom crossover to the stage, the pairs pulled it off and the Oscar de la Renta costumes were a nice touch. It was a light, airy finish to the evening--and That's Life with Victoria Jaiani was fantastic.

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