American Ballet Theatre: Don Quixote

 I don’t care if some of the critics have their backs up about the athleticism of that extraordinary pair: Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev.  They are fantastic to watch.  Their leaps of joy, their expertise, their abilities alone and as a couple are breathtaking and light years above the other dancers whose own excellent qualities are a “fill-in” between the high jumps and twirls of these two stars.  And stars they are, showing their mettle by soaring and landing perfectly throughout the first act of “courtship.”  In the second act at the gypsy camp, they pace themselves a bit and many other dancers (“beautiful maidens in Don Quixote’s dreams”) perform with grace and charm.

Finally, the wedding scene takes place and the pair of lovers – triumphant and in ecstasy – keep us enthralled as their pas de deux thrills the audience with its elevations and multiple twirls.  The couple – Natalia and Ivan – are lovers in real life, thus he occasionally brushes her cheek with his mouth or give her a light kiss almost in mid-air!

As the cast bows and the prima ballerina receives her bouquet of roses, she plucks one out, kisses it and give it to him enlisting a roar from the crowd who are, for good reason, giving them a standing ovation. This is an outstanding, thrilling night of ballet and one that I am grateful not to have missed.    –barbara tober

[Unfortunately, the final ABT performance on Don Quixote at the Met Opera house was last night. Fortunately, there’s a wonderful seven-minute excerpt with Osipova and Vasiliev on this YouTube clip here. Don’t miss it; you’ll see what Barbara was exclaiming about.         —ben]

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