A review of Louisville Ballet’s ambitious “Mozart”

By Elizabeth Kramer for LEO Weekly

October 13, 2018

Light and darkness defined the settings of the works in Louisville Ballet’s “Mozart” program that debuted Friday at The Brown Theatre, with George Balanchine’s opulent “Divertimento No. 15” providing the former and a new work by the company’s artistic and executive director Robert Curran working with local Cambodian-American visual artist Vinhay Keo.

Also, company member Brandon Ragland’s new work “Force Flux” marked a nod to the neoclassical style of Balanchine, with its similar large cast and patterns.

Mozart’s often-intricate music accompanied each dance played by Bourbon Baroque, a small ensemble whose fine and nimble playing resounded throughout The Brown Theatre and imparted the evening with a sense of intimacy. Cofounder John Austin Clark’s fortepiano performance during Ragland’s piece distinguished the evening and accentuated​ Mozart’s music.

With “Divertimento No. 15,” Curran chose an ambitious endeavor for this company, which has had a work by the New York City Ballet cofounder every year since Curran took the reins of this Louisville company in 2014.

In the bright stage lights, the kaleidoscopic swirl of Balanchine’s “Divertimento No. 15” had dancers moving with in time with Mozart’s music — often including his distinctively rapid toe work that the ballerinas performed. The arduous demands of the piece were evident as most of the company met them.

A string of solos proved thorny when several broad arm gestures and steps, interspersed with quick moves, presented challenges not all company members could meet. Nonetheless, the music lifted dancers Erica De La O and Natalia Ashikhmina even as they met the difficulty inherent in the choreography.

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