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English National Ballet.

July 6-8, 1995 Reviewed by Silvia Poletti

Mario Porcile, artistic director of the Nervi International Ballet Festival, organized this year's event without benefit of newly announced funding (about which more below). If he was unable to commission any costly premieres, Porcile was nonetheless fortunate to be able to program three internationally celebrated companies--Ballet Victor Ullate, American Ballet Theatre, and English National Ballet. ENB included on its bill Symphonic Dances, the second ballet made for the troupe by Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti, which premiered in England last April.

Also on ENB's program were artistic director Derek Deane's duet, Impromptu; George Balanchine's Square Dance; and David Lichine's dear old Graduation Ball.

Created on the two-piano version of music by Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances is set in an unreal hall dominated by three gaudy sofas. Five sparklingly dressed couples are apparently taking part in a frivolous party. The title gives no hint of the superficial gaiety which, in contrast to the luxuriant score, masks the characters, intimate pains and emotional struggles.

The classical lexicon is stressed to extremes: women use pointes to accelerate their speed and to give their poses sharp outlines. Arms have no lyricism, but are suddenly numb from fingers to shoulders, revealing obscure feelings and impulses behind the social attitudes.

Bigonzetti fashions balletic language with originality: he conceives duets as physical contests between two different energies, with unexpected lifts breaking the flowing stream of dance and bodies falling in sculptural, incisive poses. With Symphonic Dances, Bigonzetti confirms his lively talent.

Overall, ENB is young, bold, and bright. Senior principal dancers Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur make a tender and elegant couple. And keep your eye on two emerging soloists: Ambra Vallo, an ideal soubrette, and handsome nineteen-year-old Giuseppe Picone. Still immature, he's a danseur noble in the making.

As a well-deserved present for its fortieth anniversary, the Nervi Festival reached a financial agreement with the city of Genoa and the Carlo Felice Opera House that will assure funding for four more years. This was good news for Italy's oldest dance festival, which, though on rocky ground lately, has over the years offered many opportunities to admire the greatest dance stars and to discover choreographers of genius.
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Title Annotation:Festival Internazionale del Balletto, Teatro ai Parchi di Nervi, Genoa, Italy
Author:Poletti, Silvia
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Oct 1, 1995
Words:365
Previous Article:Fornicon.
Next Article:Thirty years on.
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