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Tulsa Ballet Presents 'Gaite' At Wadsworth

February 25, 1986|LEWIS SEGAL | Times Dance Writer

Tulsa Ballet Theatre is an authentic mom-and-pop business: an ensemble created 30 years ago by Moscelyne Larkin and Roman Jasinski (of the Original Ballet Russe and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo) that currently features their son and daughter-in-law as principal dancers.

In a four-part program, Sunday at the Wadsworth Theater, Tulsa bloodlines emerged most distinctly in the dancers' approach to Leonide Massine's "Gaite Parisienne" (restaged by Eugene Slavin): confident and relaxed in a vintage character-comedy style that often seems beyond the comprehension of American dancers today.

Mismatched in height and rather effortful in what should have been rapturous duets, Roman L. Jasinski (the Baron) and Kimberly Smiley (the Glove Seller) looked far better apart--but Cynthia Crews (lead cancan dancer), Luciano Gomez (waiter and cancan emcee) and, especially, Marc Hughes (the Peruvian) achieved a level of individual flair that ignited the energetic and disciplined corps in the effervescent finale. Remarkable.

Unfortunately, the Jasinski-Larkin staging of "Swan Lake" (Act II) proved merely dutiful despite the interest of its Ballet Russe novelties--Benno helping partner Odette in the "White Swan" adagio, for instance (as Lev Ivanov originally intended).

Except for slovenly cygnets, the corps danced with precision--wan precision, as if on automatic pilot--and Ena Naranjo (Odette) looked brittle and underpowered until the allegro passages near the end, which she danced with great finesse. Matthew Bridwell (Siegfried) had elegance of bearing and fine terminations in his favor, but not much secure virtuosity in the interpolated solo.

Completing the program: 14 minutes of lackluster modernism. Six dancers led by Naranjo and Bridwell expertly sold the portentous gymnastic platitudes of an excerpt from Arthur Mitchell's "Rhythmetron: Ritual of the Winds," after which Crews and Hughes expertly sold the euphoric gymnastic platitudes of Mitchell's "The Greatest: The First Kiss."

Considering that Tulsa Ballet Theatre has vault treasures aplenty--including a pas de deux from Balanchine's lost "Cotillon" and Fokine's "Paganini"--this kind of hackneyed, showpiece repertory seemed a highly dubious import.

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