In the new Joffrey Ballet production of the original Vaslav Nijinsky version of "Le Sacre du Printemps," many are called, but few are Chosen. Tuesday in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, it was Carole Valleskey's turn to dance herself to death as the virgin whose sacrifice consummates her people's union with nature.
In contrast to the indomitable Beatriz Rodriguez, who danced the role at the premiere last week, Valleskey projected a mournful vulnerability: the sense of an adolescent unable to withstand her punishing ordeal for very long.
Like Rodriguez, Valleskey tended to be cautious in her first performance of the climactic solo. Passages remained to be explored and personalized rather than merely executed. But the outline of a fine interpretation was clearly in place and her mastery of the movement stayed faultless.
As for Rodriguez herself, she appeared in what had been Valleskey's role at the premiere: the Old Woman who leads the people into dances of divination. Gnarled and powerful, with exceptionally forceful jumps-in-place, she indeed seemed the kind of woman who could have endured 300 of these rites--a striking contrast to the Chosen Virgin who will not survive her moment of glory.
Leonide Massine's "Parade" and Nijinksy's "L'Apres-Midi d'un Faune" completed the program.