Unlikely Love

In Beauty and the Beast, choreographer Robert Sund and the
members of the State Street Ballet have produced a perfect
synthesis of music, costume, setting, choreography, and
performance. This story of love and redemption moves from
heartbreak to exaltation as a captive falls in love with her captor
and transforms him through love. Although seemingly simple, the
performance was anything but, as the dancers created a lavishly
rich tapestry of fairy tale and love story. Sund chose the score
from a selection of Tchaikovsky’s work. Unlike the saccharine
Disney version, Sund’s vision, which was inspired by the 1946 Jean
Cocteau film, is lavishly textured, magical, and ultimately
satisfying.

The company performed beautifully in roles that deviated from
classical ballet in their creation of a world of magical animals
and sympathetic faeries. In his role as Beauty’s father, Micah
Kurtzberg portrayed a convincing range of emotions, from distraught
to joyous. As Beauty, Corina Gill was a vision. It was no stretch
of the imagination to see how the Beast fell for her, as she was
very light of heart and foot. Gill is new to the company this year,
and she is a graceful addition.

Ryan Camou transformed from the tortured, angst-ridden Beast to
the exuberant Prince with Beauty’s kiss. Oh, that it were always
that easy, that a kiss could make a beast a prince. After, the
couple shone in an expressive pas de deux, and Camou defied gravity
with a dazzling grand jête and series of turns.

Beauty and the Beast, presented by the State Street Ballet. At
the Lobero Theatre, Sunday, January 29.

Other dancers contributed performances that fleshed out the
fantastic mood. Silvia Rotaru’s lead faerie leapt from a dream.
Autumn Eckman and Alyson Mattoon were gorgeous demi soloist
faeries, and Sergei Domrachev (in drag) provided his usual
delightful comic relief as one of Beauty’s sisters. Jennifer
Batbouta purred as a sinuous cat and Jennifer Rowe portrayed a
flitting magical bird, both creatures who kept the captured Beauty
company in Beast’s castle. Eduardo Zuniga and Yuan-Ming Chang were
sinewy stags, herding captured prisoners into the eerie castle.
Through Sund’s use of gestures and movement, and the dancer’s
embodiment of the images, the animals, faeries, and lovers came
alive on stage, delivering us into the forest of our darker nature
before offering us the redemption of pure love.

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