Dance Review: A Witty Boléro at Carolina Ballet Blends Darker Elements with a Day at the Beach | Arts
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Friday, March 23, 2018

Dance Review: A Witty Boléro at Carolina Ballet Blends Darker Elements with a Day at the Beach

Posted by on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 2:34 PM

click to enlarge Carolina Ballet's Boléro - PHOTO BY CHRIS WALT PHOTOGRAPHY
  • photo by Chris Walt Photography
  • Carolina Ballet's Boléro
Boléro
★★★½
Through Sunday, March 25
Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh


Warmer weather must be in the offing; Carolina Ballet’s principal dancers, Lara O’Brien and Yevgeny Shlapko, have already packed their bags for the seashore. A quick inventory: Sunscreen? Check. Shades? Got ‘em. Pointe shoes for her, ballet slippers for him?

Those would be mandatory. For this pair, guest choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s witty new adaptation of Maurice Ravel’s Boléro ultimately proves (despite the subtitle in the playbill) to be anything but a proverbial "day at the beach."

The choreographer’s levity is visible even during the straight-faced opening moments, as a stately O’Brien and Shlapko enter stiffly, in perfect time with the music. Garbed in the latest summer styles and armed with beach chairs, tote bags, and water bottles, the pair suggests a far-too-perfect couple on the cusp of a perfect seaside day. Unfortunately, nature—and Taylor-Corbett—have other plans.

O’Brien and Shlapko’s immaculate precision is soon contrasted with more random contributions from the elements. As the day grows hotter, the dancer portraying the sun, Randi Osetek, is gradually joined by a throng of dancers dressed in red and gold. A delighted Jacqueline Schiller, as the ocean, emerges from designer Kerri Martinsen’s waves to lull Shlapko in pacific tides while nearly drowning O’Brien. That’s before the capricious winds (a mischievous Amanda Gerhardt and Rammaru Shindo) appropriate the couple’s fashionable accessories and usher in a dramatic change in the weather.

Despite its visual sight gags, Boléro bears two timely reminders in an age of global climate change. Ultimately, we’re all at the mercy of the elements. And, should you value safety, never turn your back on the sea.

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