Neoclassical ballet

The Boston Ballet takes off with a bang

In addition to returning to Citizens Bank Opera House for its 2021-2022 season of live performances, the Boston Ballet is also offering a virtual four-program package. The second of these will be “The Gift”, which debuted last December; it presents a modern version of “The Nutcracker” on Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite” from 1960 and choreographed by the dancers of the company. The third and fourth, “ChoreografHER” and “Swan Lake,” will broadcast the company’s live opera productions in March and May next year.

As for the hour-long opening program, it wins from start to finish. “ReSTART” begins with a world premiere by Chinese-American choreographer Yin Yue, which was filmed this month in Boston Common and the Public Garden. On recordings by Quincy Jones and Alice Coltrane, “A Common Movement” integrates ballet, jazz and Broadway as its 39 dancers, in sweatshirts and sneakers, lift their heels. The opening section is done on the Common, most of the time in unison; it is followed by a slower segment in the Public Garden which features luscious duets of Haley Schwan with My’Kal Stromile and Ji Young Chae with Tyson Clark. The exuberant finale finds everyone on the Common, on the aisles, in the bandstand, strutting.

Second soloist Soo-bin Lee and corps member Seokjoo Kim pair in the balcony scene of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” in a performance filmed in Korea in 2020 and presented courtesy of National University of the arts of Korea. They are innocent and lovely at the same time. Next comes a pas de deux of “Ruth’s Dance,” a new work that resident choreographer Jorma Elo is creating for the Boston Ballet’s “MINDscape” program in March. Set on the transcription and recording by Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson of the opening aria from Bach’s Cantata No.54, “Widerstehe doch der Sünde,” this five-minute excerpt is a neoclassical gem that is romantic yet does not neglect Bach’s sense of humor. Soloist Addie Tapp and Principal Lasha Khozashvili are by turns elegant and lively as they do it full justice.

The centerpiece of “reSTART” is George Balanchine’s “Apollo”, a landmark work that the Boston Ballet last performed in 2010. Balanchine was only 24 when he premiered “Apollo” in 1928, for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and this is his first surviving ballet. . On the score of the same name by Igor Stravinsky, the piece depicts the birth of dance, while the god, his curiosity piqued by the syncopated four-note motif given to him by Stravinsky, transmits the Muses Calliope (poetry and his rhythm) and Polyhymnia (mime) to team up with Terpsichore (who combines what his sisters have offered) before going up to Mount Parnassus.

The Boston Ballet’s Paulo Arrais dances the title role of George Balanchine’s first surviving ballet, “Apollo”Brooke Trisolini / Boston Ballet

This performance, like Elo pas de deux, was filmed at Boston Ballet Studios earlier this month. In the title role, lead Paulo Arrais strums his lute with childish glee, and he marvels afterward as he explores his body and discovers dancing. Principal Lia Cirio (Terpsichore), soloist Chyrstyn Fentroy (Polyhymnia) and principal Viktorina Kapitonova (Calliope) form a well-matched trio of Muses with an excellent ensemble. Kapitonova is heroic in her solo, Fentroy flirtatious in hers. Cirio’s Terpsichore starts off stern but gradually warms up to Apollo in a performance full of nuance.

“ReSTART” ends with a “Grand Défilé” leading to the triumphant final pages of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and inspired by the season opening tradition of the Paris Opera Ballet in which the dancers take the stage, alone or in groups, to the cheers of their fans in a sort of corporate presentation. This virtual program could hardly be a better advertisement for the next season live.


Presented by the Boston Ballet at until November 7. Virtual subscription season $ 140. 617-695-6955,

Jeffrey Gantz can be contacted at [email protected]

Jeffrey Gantz can be contacted at [email protected]