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Dance Review

Inland Pacific Ably Leaps From 'Swan Lake' to 'Rodeo'

April 30, 2002|JENNIFER FISHER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Rounding up swans and cowboys, the Inland Pacific Ballet proved they're at home with their range on a concert that included "Swan Lake," Act 2, and Agnes de Mille's "Rodeo" Saturday night at Bridges Auditorium in Claremont.

Steadily gaining a solid reputation, Inland Pacific was coming off its biggest crowd-pleaser ever, an original one-hour "Little Mermaid" ballet, which will repeat next season. The company returned to classic ballets, under the direction of Victoria Koenig, for a satisfying evening of dance.

A sense of sweeping classicism imbued the lakeside scene from "Swan Lake," staged by Janek Schergen, after Ivanov. To recorded Tchaikovsky taken at a fairly brisk pace, the corps established mood through beautiful carriage; their port de bras was stirring with both force and delicacy.

Kelly Lamoureux made a statuesque and somewhat remote Odette, ably partnered by Stanko Milov, a guest from the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Missing were electric moments of enchantment and fluttery details that often define the Swan Queen, but Lamoureux showed vulnerability in the character with a sensitively furrowed brow, an expressive neck and the occasional meaningful turn of the head. Her strength was in a brave wingspan, especially in the series of supported scissor jumps that expanded skyward.

Milov had a few impressive moments in an interpolated variation using little heard music originally written for the ballet's third act. Allynne Noelle Stoller stood out for her striking line and commanding breadth as a Big Swan, while the four Little Swans created a light, pleasing unison with exacting aplomb.

De Mille's "Rodeo," the quaintly good-natured story of how a frontier tomboy gets her man, looked fresh and charming, thanks to staging by Paul Sutherland, coaching from Gemze de Lapp and Oliver Smith's vibrant sets and costumes.

Laura de Guia, more delicate than the usual scrappy Cowgirl, managed to make the role her own, slumping in rejection and pluckily riding the strains of Aaron Copland's taped score. Playing the two men she chooses from, Eric Ragan (the Champion Roper) was, appropriately, a good catch only on the surface (pretty, but perhaps slow), while Steven Voznick (the Head Wrangler) tap-danced his way winningly into the heroine's heart.

*

"Swan Lake," Act 2, and "Rodeo," Inland Pacific Ballet, repeat May 11, 7:30 p.m., and May 12, 1 p.m. Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont. $16-30. (909) 607-1139.

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