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| Culture |

Miami City Ballet Opens 2011-2012 Season with Bright and Beautiful Program I

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Miami City Ballet opened the season last night with a program of favorites that covered a wide range of modern and contemporary ballet choreography from classic Balanchine to sexy Jerome Robbins and from stately Christopher Wheeldon to sassy Twyla Tharp. The Friday night performance also revealed that the company's greatest strength may also be its greatest weakness.

Miami City Ballet is unabashedly bright and beautiful. One prime representative of the company spirit is principal Jeanette Delgado, whose smile alone could power the Arsht Center lights.

While my companion found her execution of the light passages of

Balanchine's "Square Dance" too labored, I enjoyed the joyous power with

which she leapt and turned, especially when she traced a circle around

the edges of the stages, stretching her legs like the needles on a

compass.

Her partner Renan Cerdeiro, with his impossibly long legs and

arms, brought a lighter touch to the Balanchine's intricate passages,

but if their energy was mismatched, they were both a delight to watch.

Jennifer Kronenberg was stunning as always as the love object for Jerome

Robbins's young male dancer caught in a narcissistic moment in the

studio in "Afternoon of a Faun." Carlos Miguel Guerra lent himself

easily to the role of male object of desire, transferring the audience's

longing for him to his partner with a chaste kiss on the cheek.

Partners in Christopher Wheeldon's darker and more interior duet,

"Liturgy," Katia Carranza and Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez struck the poses

called for Christopher Wheeldon, who at times appears to be more a

kinetic sculptor than a choreographer: he is less interested in how

bodies move, than in the shapes they make in space. These shapes brought

audible gasps from the audience, as though suddenly revealing unknown

depths drawn from the human body.

If Miami City Ballet evoked exactly the right mood in the first three

pieces, Twyla Tharp's "In The Upper Room" suffered, and such a thing is

possible, from being too pretty. Here Delgado's perpetual smile

undermined the playful bite of Tharp's choreography, one emblem of an

approach to the piece that lacked the weight and release that would make

this piece exciting.

MCB has established that it can be, and nearly always, is breathtakingly

beautiful. Only sometimes beauty is not the only goal worth striving

for.

--Celeste Fraser Delgado, Artburstmiami.com

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