The scarlet feathers, glittering white headband and scalloped blue veils belonging, respectively, to the three principal characters in John Taras' "The Firebird" all passed to new Dance Theatre of Harlem cast members at the matinee performances in Pasadena Civic Auditorium over the weekend.
On Sunday, Judy Tyrus danced the title role with strong technique but not the compelling strangeness of her predecessor. Indeed, this Firebird's initial encounter with the Young Man seemed far more classical than demi-caractere --a "Red Swan" pas de deux--and her difficult feats in the "Berceuse" tended to cancel each other out.
Joseph Cipolla partnered skillfully and mimed fluently, but with so little regal authority that it was a shock to find this Young Man wearing a crown in the last scene. You'd have guessed he was just a tourist who lost the trail back to Club Med.
Theara Ward, however, had majesty enough for both of them. In addition, she danced so gorgeously in those blue veils that she easily justified her character's name: the Princess of Unreal Beauty.