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Dance Review : Bujones Showpiece In Area Premiere

March 15, 1985|LEWIS SEGAL | Times Dance Writer

You'd expect any ballet choreographed by Fernando Bujones to reflect the same priorities as his dancing: boldness of attack, technical brilliance and, above all, self-confident display.

You'd be right: In its first local performance, Wednesday in Shrine Auditorium, Bujones' 2-month-old "Grand Pas Romantique" offered a dozen American Ballet Theatre corps members and two principals the sort of glittering classical showpiece Bujones-the-dancer excels at.

The music (from Adolphe Adam's "Le Diable a Quatre") came from the Romantic era, and Marianna Tcherkassky's softly floating "Sylphide" arms in the pas de deux did suggest early 19th-Century style. But, otherwise, "Romantique" was strictly classique --from Jose Varona's ornate, short tutus in peach (the corps women) and apricot (Tcherkassky) to Bujones' bravura step combinations.

Some intriguing ideas about space--a brief adagio that drifted across the stage and out, a wholly vertical solo that kept Danilo Radojevic springing up like a fusillade of skyrockets--these were glints of a genuine choreographic imagination. However, the formula sequencing patterns in corps passages and, in particular, the hopelessly disjointed solo given Tcherkassky marked the work as a first effort: workshop stuff, nicely danced.

As if to make such weaknesses unmistakable, the company offered on the same program a masterpiece in the same style: George Balanchine's "Theme and Variations." Where Bujones neatly summarized Radojevic's skills but left Tcherkassky with lackluster opportunities, Balanchine defined state-of-the-art classicism through both ballerina (Cynthia Harvey, in control though not often at ease) and danseur (Patrick Bisell, unusually careful here but excellent).

In stark contrast, Kenneth MacMillan's "Anastasia" (previously reviewed) placed a premium on raw emotion and physical force--qualities Martine van Hamel artfully shaped into her compelling and original first performance of the title role. Beyond ordinary pain, she weathered the grim events of history with the drained, dead face of a concentration camp survivor, and her outbursts of passion became all the more devastating because of this eerie restraint.

A slow, uneven run-through of Michael Vernon's "In a Country Garden" (with Cheryl Yeager and Gil Boggs) completed the program. Alan Barker and Paul Connelly both conducted during the evening.

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