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North Carolina Dance Theatre.

Stylistic range and finely meshed ensemble rapport were hallmarks of the eighteen-member North Carolina troupe, which dedicated its Brooklyn matinee to the late Salvatore Aiello, the company's artistic director since 1985. Aiello died on October 14. He had assumed leadership from Robert Lindgren, who founded the enterprise - now based in Charlotte - in 1970. Both men endowed the repertoire with a richly diverse profile of classical and contemporary works. The challenges inherent in such an ecclectic approach have produced performers of stunning versatility and dramatic power.

Principal dancer Kati Hanlon is a case in point. At the center of the opening ballet, Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, she was grandly lyrical. Partnered by Hernan Justo, Hanlon's polished precision and lengthy extensions anchored the swooping flourishes of the ensemble choreography, set to Tchaikovsky's unfinished last composition, the Concerto No. 3 in E-flat for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 75. As the Mother in Feast of Ashes, created in 1962 by Alvin Ailey for the Joffrey Ballet, Hanlon transformed herself into the ancient, intractable matriarch who drives and manipulates the action. Ailey's ballet is based on Garcia Lorca's play, The House of Bernarda Alba.

Feast of Ashes, which can be tedious in less-strikin productions, has never been better dances, Hanlon's towering charisma generated the dynamics necessary to control the fated of her daughters, portrayed by Jennifer Cavanaugh, Angela Brown, kimberly Crowder, Tawny Rose Wall, and the defiant Anita Sun Pacylowski. Justo danced the role of the latter's beloved, and the pair's attempt to break away was quite poignant.

Timothy rinehart Yeager also effected a total metamorphosis. With Cavanaugh in Aiello's duet Satto, he completed the requisite macho acrobatics. but as the Champion Roper in Agnes de Mille's Rodeo, he was a winsomely charming prince of the prairie - a heartbreaker on any circuit. Mia Cunningham appeared as the Cowgirl, Steven Voznick danced the Head Wrangler, and Crowder was fetching in her portrayal of the Ranch Owner's Daughter.

De Mille herself was very fond of this company, and it's easy to see why. these spirited performers are immersed in the styles of all the ballets, yet imbue each one with a lively sense that it is the most important work created to date.
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Title Annotation:Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, New York, NY
Author:Hardy, Camille
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Feb 1, 1996
Words:365
Previous Article:Julio Bocca with Ballet Argentino.
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