|Thanks, Angel. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor
So it was with complex emotions that I watched them perform this great ballet marking Corella's goodbye, one they've done countless times. Corella is now devoting most of his time to his own company and school, Barcelona Ballet. Even for a man to whom it seemed ballet's riches gravitated naturally, in a country that hasn't had a national ballet company in more than two decades, it hasn't been an easy path. The troupe was relocated and renamed, and commissioned works which reflect the proud, rich Spanish culture. But the country's economy has since been on an inexorable downslide, which can't bode well for national support.
|Paloma Herrera and Angel Corella. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor
Herrera was a careful, detailed Odette, giving as much attention to placing her toe on the floor as the tilt of her head. Her deliberation paid off when she extended one leg while opening her arms like a flower blooming, creating a resonant visual tension. Her coolness balanced out Corella's warmth, which hopefully we'll continue to see seasonally with his company's New York visits. His peers lay bouquets at his feet before a blizzard of mylar confetti blanketed the stage. Angel beamed, all that was needed to catch our hearts one last time.
|Polina Semionova and David Hallberg. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor
Semionova is his physical female counterpart—long, gorgeous lines and unimpeded extensions. When Hallberg lifts her in second splits, it's dazzling. But her performance felt surficial, lacking in psychological depth. Hallberg has channelled his great physical gifts to imbue his dancing with soul.
In this cast, Alex Hammoudi danced Von Rothbart: The Man, with the fancy purple suede boots. He was dastardly and bewitchingly seductive, and his robust physique is a good foundation for this gem of a role. Despite his corps rank, Hammoudi has been cast in several major roles this season. He should at least be a soloist in the near future.
ABT's Met season wraps up this week with the glitzy Corsaire, another ballet that requires two leading men. Look for Ethan Stiefel (retiring as well) and Ivan Vasiliev (jumps like a kangaroo) as Ali, the slave, in head turning performances.