Review: Ballet

Cork City Ballet: 21st Anniversary Gala, Cork Opera House

Balletomanes have it good in Cork this week, with a three-night spectacular at the Opera House, including visiting stars and the best local performance.

For 21 years, Cork City Ballet has been flying the flag of classical dance. For the current show, which has its last performance tonight, artistic director, Alan Foley, has broken previous records. This was ballet at its very best.

Patricia Crosbie’s superb Playboy of the Western World, which opened the programme, is so full of earthy energy and raw emotion — the essence of Irish island life — that it leaves you dazed.

The music, too, sourced from traditional songs and melodies, is deeply powerful. This should be the iconic showpiece that we proudly export to far-off corners of the world, to represent our ‘true nature’, not some icing-sugared-glittering-smiles confection.

A brilliantly polished Don Quixote excerpt saw dazzling lifts and leaps from Erina Takahashi and Yosvani Ramos, which brought spontaneous applause from the audience. We had the lovely ‘Spring Waters’ pas de deux, and the entertaining ‘Perrot’ pas de quatre, while the lively ‘Bodyguard’, to music by Paul Simon, showed the versatility of the company in embracing modern, as well as classical, moves.

But what to say of visiting stars, Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino, in the Swan Lake adagio? It’s hard to express perfection, except to say that the hushed house hung on every, unbelievably beautiful movement. Lacarra was not just playing an enchanted swan. She became that tortured human soul in a bird’s body, half-fluttering her wings to escape, half-yearning to yield to her passionate partner. This was an experience to be long-remembered.

Star Rating: 5/5


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