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DANCE | DANCE REVIEW

Bolshoi recaptures its stunning proficiency

In an evening of fine performances, Nikolay Tsiskaridze shows exceptional promise (and some skin).

November 29, 2002|Lewis Segal | Times Staff Writer

After a rocky opening night, the Bolshoi Ballet "La Bayadere" settled into high proficiency on Wednesday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Corps unanimity significantly improved, such second-ranked paragons as Yan Godovsky and Denis Medvedev inherited expanded duties, and three new leads danced their roles as if they were the only cast the Bolshoi would ever need.

In the title role, Galina Stepanenko offered an object lesson in how to create excitement from dynamic contrasts: floating, delicate arms and serene balances versus high-velocity turns and the sharpest pointework imaginable. A very accomplished performance.

As her rival, Maria Alexandrova exuded icy self-assurance, commanded a spectacular jump and enough technical assurance to whip through the bravura turning combinations in the Act 2 engagement scene with disarming lightness. The excellence of Stepanenko and Alexandrova hardly proved a surprise to anyone familiar with their dancing from past Bolshoi tours.

However, a young Georgian, Nikolay Tsiskaridze, made his local debut with the company as the object of their affections, and the power, flair and daring of his performance marked him as a major discovery. In his solos, Tsiskaridze pushed himself to the limits of his technique, with uneven results, but his best moments revealed the unmistakable charisma of someone who looks and dances like nobody else on Earth.

Fashion note: Besides baring a lot more chest than his predecessor, Tsiskaridze sported a jeweled, Indian-style nose-ring on Wednesday and is reportedly the only Bolshoi dancer in the role to be so adorned on the current tour.

*

'La Bayadere'

Where: Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

When: Today, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; with different principal dancers

Price: $20 to $80

Info: (714) 556-2787

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