Working It Out

From Fidel With Love and Other Stories

The company specializes in turns, leaps, and balances. When a man rotates his partner, you're aware of his hands on her waist, so firmly and so many times does he spin her. All this might seem vulgar, were it not for the almost eerie ease. You sense it even in the flash of Don Q, when the endearingly cocky Joel Carreño unleashes a series of impeccable backward turns in attitude.

Alonso's restaging of the classics is idiosyncratic. Giselle's Wilis point the hapless Hilarion toward the lake with a chillingly effective military snap of the arm; on the other hand, their bent-over runs suggest stomach cramps more than malevolence. As a consequence of the company's shoestring budget, production values vary. Costumes range from bronze and gold grandeur to tackiness. A painted blue swag hangs over everything, including a nighttime forest. The lighting is unflattering, and the balance in the recorded music is so curious that well-known scores sound unfamiliar. But when someone delivers a perfect multiple pirouette like a surprise gift, you forget all that.

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