Just when I thought I needed to go to France to see the Paris Opera Ballet in a worthy repertory beyond Giselle, the invaluable Emerging Pictures screened the company’s production of La Bayadère, in Rudolf Nureyev’s final version of the 1877 ballet by Marius Petipa. (New Yorkers are more familiar with the Natalia Makarova treatment presented by American Ballet Theatre.) The dancing, led by Aurélie Dupont, Josua Hoffalt, and Ludmila Pagliero—and a female corps de ballet that constitutes a star in itself—illustrated a notion of classical perfection in the Kingdom of the Shades scene and delicious local-color hokum rooted in a melodramatic vision of India.
Dupont blends her mime and her dancing so subtly, you can’t tell where one leaves off and the other begins. Hoffalt brings no personality to his strangely weak-willed role of warrior hero, but his every step could illustrate a manual of technique. Franca Squaciapino’s costumes, subtle and sophisticated in their palette and patterns, provide yet another ravishing attraction.
© 2012 Tobi Tobias