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Don Quixote brings laughter and dance finesse to Muscat.

MUSCAT: The American Ballet Theater (ABT) production of Don Quixote may not really follow Cervantes's 17th-century Spanish novel, but it definitely entertains with comedy and brilliant dancing!

Filled with moments of comedy and exquisite dancing, the three-act ballet was the perfect inaugural ballet for the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM). Inspired by one adventure from the novel, it is the story of Don Quixote's quest for the beautiful woman, Kitri. She, meanwhile, is in love with Basilio, a poor barber, but her father wants to marry the rich, foppish Gamache.

The ballet is light-hearted and giggle-inspiring from the start, when a rather raggedy Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza, also in tatters, begin their adventure, so there's no doubt the story will end happily. And the journey to the end is truly delightful!

The story loosely follows Kitri and Basilio's escape from her father, and Don Quixote's mission to woo her, until he realizes whom she really loves and helps her marry him. Filled with gypsies, townspeople, street dancers and matadors, it's a taste of Spain and an even more delicious taste of the talented ABT.

The tale is amusing, but the real attraction was the amazing dancing. Wednesday's opening night featured six different leads, so the audience was treated to some of ABT's most outstanding talent.

Act Three's Danil Simkin, a Russian dancer, was the highlight with his acrobat solos in which he seemed to one-up himself.

His explosive leaps and spins had the audience gasping and cheering.

From his fingertips to his toes, his body stretched and cut smoothly through the air, a vision beautiful to see!

The three Kitris were also lovely. Gillian Murphy, Xiomara Reyes and Yuriko Kajiya each brought a unique flair to the female lead, and were a joy to watch. Murphy's flirtatious Kitri showed off a slightly seductive, sensual dancer, while Reyes was graceful and sweet. Kajiya's perfect spins and flawless points were breathtaking, too, and though she glistened with sweat by the end, she made each move appear effortless.

Dream scene

Also memorable was the dream scene in Act Two, when the stage filled with ballerinas in tutus. For many in the audience who were ballet neophytes, this was probably the quintessential ballet moment they'd been waiting for. It was classic and absolutely captivating, as each delicate, dainty move reflected the skills and gifts ABT dancers possess, and the inspired vision of the choreographers.

The dancing, with all its finger-snapping fun and lovely moments of flowing lines, wasn't the only impressive thing.

Watching the character development along the sides of the stage was also entertaining, as a lot of hilarity ensued between Kitri's father and the klutzy Gamache. Their theatrical antics definitely made those who noticed laugh!

ABT's Don Quixote may not have the most dramatic story, but it's great fun and the dancing was absolutely glorious!

Watching such an engrossing ballet no doubt made many women wish they were little girls again so they could relive their dream of becoming ballerinas.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Oct 30, 2011
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