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Ballet Hispanico

Self-presented at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., NYC, Nov. 30-Dec. 12.

Ballet Hispanico's annual Joyce season included "Llamada," a solo by William Whitener that is a personal favorite of this writer, here performed with enormous dignity by Natalia Alonso. The phrasing of the piece, replete with plunging arabesques in contrast to thrusting arm movements, fit perfectly on the beauteous Alonso.

"Eternamente y un Diá," a New York City premiere, is the work of vivacious choreographer Peter Pucci, who came through with a colorful ode to things Mexican—the vibrant history, rituals, celebrations, and cultural richness. Set to traditional Mexican folk songs performed by the Kronos Quartet, the piece has the dancers flooding the stage, re-creating the vibrancy of city energy with large sweeping attitudes from side to side, multiple turns, and the men flinging themselves into risky calisthenics—a parade of technical skills that showed the company to be comprised of strong, beautifully trained dancers. Many new faces were welcome, but the elegant Irene Hogarth-Cimino and the ever-dependable Pedro Ruiz continue to be the core of the ensemble. It is a gift to watch Hogarth-Cimino unfold the length of her arms and legs as she paints a compelling picture in space.

Ramón Oller's "Bury Me Standing" is all about gypsies. Revised from the 1998 version and set to haunting traditional gypsy melodies, the piece is distinguished by one incredibly difficult pas de deux in which the male dancer maneuvers his partner through the entire bit of choreography by supporting her with his feet while lying on his back—a tricky effort that entails a lot of trust from both participants but worked blissfully, eliciting gasps from the rapt audience. The choreography for Domingo Rubio is somewhat lacking, mostly dependent on staring into the audience while raising his arms, both of which he does exceedingly well. However, except for the six women scampering across the stage on their knees, the choreography is overflowing with steps, becoming more tedious as the dance progresses.

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