Photo Credits: Ellen Grocki and Miami City Ballet dancers in Company B. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev.
“Company B” is the title of the first program in the Miami City Ballet’s new 2018-2019 season and what a first program it is! Taken from the famous Andrews Sisters song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” of 1959, Company B, choreographed by Paul Taylor, is also the second performance in the three-dance evening’s delightful presentation of classical pieces by Georges Balanchine (Concerto Barocco and Piano Conecerto No. 2).
To call the Miami City Ballet a seasoned dance company implies that it is also a bit more subdued and reserved, like a man in his 50s embracing middle age and shedding his wayward ventures of playboy-esque lifestyle. This is not the case.
The Miami City Ballet is a unique presence of skill and enlightenment in the South Florida cultural scene thanks to his ambitious programming, its scintillating productions, and of course, it’s mesmerizing dancers. Accompanied by their loving and dedicated orchestra, the evening’s performance at the Broward Center for the Arts was a sensational beginning to the Fall cultural season.
With an almost-full house, the Concerto Barocco began the evening’s entrancing work with savoire faire and elegant longing. Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco is considered by many devotees and critics to be the master choreographer’s signature work. In as much as this piece combines the grace of classical ballet with the early musings of modern whimsy, the assertion is correct, if a little banal. What makes the 1941 work so compelling is the sly sensuality and its presence a discrete, minimally-lit stage with no props. The accompanying music by Johan Sebastian Bach, the Great German Baroque composer, adds to the sublime elegance of the performance.
Simone Messmer and Jovani Furlan made for a poignant pairing that enraptured the audience from their first three confident steps. Accompanied by a group of female dancers, Concerto Barocco made for an exacting and breathy opener to the evening.
Without a doubt the most accessible and perhaps entertaining composition, “Company B.” The performance premiered by the Miami City Ballet in 1995 and includes songs from the 1940s and ’50s sung by The ever-delightful Andrews Sisters. The female harmonies and innocent declarations of longing and everlasting love evoked a slyly and soft sinister feeling of coy and ironic sympathies among many of the performer, who graced the audience with not-so-subtle smirks, hand waves, and knowing glances, as if to say: “We know the music is corny but it doesn’t make it any less sweet.”
It is interesting that the Miami City Ballet chose Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 for its finale. The Balanchine-choreographed work demonstrates the physical prowess and graceful stamina of Renato Penteado and Jeannette Delgado in particular. A large ensemble case makes for an exquisite counter-balance to the various loveplay-inspired movements of the leading dancers.
The Miami City Ballet has once again begun a new season with verve, confidence, and a hint of playfulness. It is no wonder they are among the most respected and critically-adored of ballet companies in the nation.