May 29, 2012
Superheroes have nothing on Ivan Vasiliev, the hunk of a Bolshoi dancer featured in ABT's full-length, exotic ballet La Bayadere. Intrigue and malice couple in a dance of love and vengeance when the handsome warrior Solar (Vasiliev) falls in love with the temple dancer Nikiya (Alina Cojocaru) despite his betrothal to the Rajah's steely daughter Gamzatti (Misty Copeland).
Cat fights and opiated dreams decorate a ballet famous for a white, filmy corps that descends a ramp with the majesty of a postmodern follies revue repeating one hypnotic arabesque followed by another and another and another….
In contrast to Copeland’s privileged arrogance, Cojocaru radiates a sensuous fragility. Sweeping her into his arms, Vasiliev lifts Cojocaru with the ease of King Kong palming Fay Wray. His bulky thighs signaling a power jumper, stage-eating leaps defied gravity, hovering in the air and dropping to a soft landing. Investing the role with high drama, his burning eyes favor Cojocaru. Although a very fluid dancer, Cojocaru falls off her center in some tricky turns requiring arms held up like an urn while trying to rotate twice with one leg bent in back, raised waist high.
In her debut, Copeland was feverishly applauded. No one doubts her assertive technique, but she will need time to expand her unassuming personality into the imperious largeness of Gamzatti.
Natalia Makarova choreographs this production of La Bayadere after the original by Marius Petipa. A visually grand production, the colorful Southeast Asian-inspired costumes are by the once one-and-only, Theoni V. Aldredge.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis