By Kathi E.B. Ellis for WFPL
The Louisville Ballet continues its Season of Romance with an ambitious bill at the Brown Theatre this weekend. Continuing the company’s commitment to including a different Balanchine ballet each season, “Divertimento #15” opened the evening. The balance of the evening was dedicated to two world premieres: “ស្នាមប្រឡាក់” choreographed by Robert Curran in collaboration with installation and performance artist Vinhay Keo, and “Force Flux” choreographed by company member Brandon Ragland.
Balanchine gives us five movements in “Divertimento #15” set to the Mozart divertimento he believed was the finest of its form. Each time the Louisville Ballet embraces a Balanchine ballet, the work is more precise, and that is true this season. The five female principals were in fine form; Ashley Thursby positively glowed in her solos, and Erica De La O sparkled in one of the most musically-articulated solos; Leigh Anne Albrechta, Natalia Ashikhmina and Kateryna Sellers rounded out this group. Rob Morrow, Brandon Ragland, and Kristopher Wojtera were the three male principals; each partnered the five women in a variety of pairings throughout the piece.
There is no credit for costuming in the program. Sharing of production elements is a practical collaboration among many ballet companies, and it would have been good to know where they came from. The Bourbon Baroque ensemble, which accompanied each of the ballets, was under the baton of Tara Simoncic. At times the violins sounded thin in this piece, and some of the tempi felt a trifle sludgy.