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Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 1996

GRACEFUL BOLSHOI BALLET CAPTIVATES LIED AUDIENCE

April 17, 1996

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A Moscow ballet troupe gets a toehold on its audience.

The Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet shined with as much brightness and beauty as the North Star during its performance Tuesday night at the Lied Center.

For more than two hours, the ballet company mesmerized the audience -- which filled the Lied to its rafters -- with lyrical leaps, swift spins and precise pirouettes.

The company's expressive presentation of Act II of "Swan Lake" brought tears to some audience members' eyes.

Maria Bylova, who has been with the Bolshoi Ballet since 1974 and played the role of the swan princess, was simply spellbinding. Her movements were expressive, fluid and graceful, an equal and perfect match to Tchaikovsky's sweeping music.

Bylova confirmed what many of us have always known -- that the arms and hands of ballerinas are as important as their feet. Her performance was a whole-body experience, from her well-positioned fingers to her extended toes.

Bylova shared the stage with two powerful male dancers, who played the beloved Siegfried and the Evil Genius, and 24 other ballerinas in white bouncy tutus, who seemed to move together as if they were mirror images in the majestic lake.

Next were five short ballet pieces, which included a gypsy dance and a selection from "Spartacus." Tuesday night's performance was no place for wobble-watchers. The Bolshoi's en pointes were unfaltering.

For the finale, the audience was treated to the "Don Quixote" Suite, complete with the old dreamer, his sidekick Sancho Panza and gypsy- and bolero-style dances.

Because the troupe substitutes artists without notice, it is difficult to determine which dancers are performing in the roles. Although his name was uncertain, one young male dancer in "Don Quixote" tantalized the audience with his magnificent leaps across the stage and received the loudest applause of the night.

The Bolshoi Ballet is art in motion, the essence of what all great dance should be.

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