Triangle Arts&Entertainment – Carolina Ballet’s Sept. 15-Oct. 2 Performance of La Mer Includes Three World Premieres

September 18th, 2016

by Dawn Reno Langley

Opening night for the ballet means you’re in for a treat, and Robert Weiss’ phenomenal Carolina Ballet didn’t disappoint on Sept. 15th, with the world premiere of choreographer Zalman Raffael’s La Mer. The lovely principal ballerina Lara O’Brien welcomed the audience with the reminder that the Carolina Ballet creates more original ballets each year than any other corps other than the New York City Ballet. “And three of the ballets tonight are world premieres!” she said.

Each of the ballets is quite different from the other in almost every way except for the way the images last in your memory after you see the performances. In a very wise move, the evening opened with the title ballet, La Mer. Claude Debussy’s music creates the bathing scene with dancers in 1920s bathing costumes moving languidly across the floor. Each couple appears interested in nothing but their own love, until one girl appears interested in an unattainable man. When another couple appears overly concerned, the program notes start to make sense. This is a story about a family’s fight to keep their daughter from being taken by the sea; and in true balletic metaphorical sense, that sea is represented by the lost soul that the daughter befriends.

The story — danced emotionally by Lilyan Vigo Ellis and Yevgeny Shlapko as the worried parents, and Amanda Babayan as the daughter, Maxmilian Isaacson as the lonely man on the beach — is timeless but something about Kerri L. Martinsen’s costuming gave the ballet a very special, almost photogenic feeling. Everything was right about the choreography and the costuming, the dancers connected with the story and the multilayered familial structure in a way that came across even without program notes, and Ross Kolman’s lighting gave the scene a golden beachy glow that accentuated the costumes perfectly.

Lilyan Vigo Ellis and Yevgeny Shlapko’s partnership as the parents offered the right amount of tension as they attempted to make a decision about their daughter, as well as a strong loving partnership that makes them appear both compassionate and supportive for each other as well as their child. Vigo Ellis dances in a stately yet approachable manner, as a worried mother might, a great foil to the innocent, daydreamer that is the daughter (Amanda Babayan).

The ballet can only be described in one word: lovely.

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Source : http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2016/09/carolina-ballet-performance-of-la-mer-includes-three-world-premieres/

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