We arrived late to the ballet because of our food stop. There were three separate shows – Summerscape, Marvelous Mandarin, and Rodeo. We missed most of Summerscape, but as far as I'm concerned that's fine. Dennis Nahat, the art director for SJSV's Ballet choreographed it, and as I dislike his work (Every program he does follows the same pattern! There's no variety at all!) I was actually happier that I didn't have to sit through it. The costumes were very simple – just short purple/white dresses for the women and purple/white full-body leotards for the men. It was obvious from the short bit we saw that this piece had not been practiced much, because the dancers made several errors and were uncoordinated overall.
The Marvelous Mandarin was better, albeit very twisted and strange. The story was as follows: A prostitute seduces customers and three thieves steal from the men she attracts. A foreigner – the Mandarin, who in ancient China was believed to be descended from the gods – chooses the prostitute and they stab him and leave him for dead. To their shock, he returns to his feet and joins the prostitute once more. Again they "kill" him, and again he returns. They even hang him, but he gets to his feet once more. He stubbornly refuses to die until the prostitute relents and gives herself to him. In her arms he at long length expires. The dancing of the prostitute and the Mandarin was quite lovely, but much of the thieves' dancing was limited to hopping up and down like frogs. Since all three thieves were amongst the company's best dancers, it was a true waste of their talent.
The costumes for this one-act ballet were quite interesting, reminding me of some of Lip Service's bondage-fetish lines. The thieves wore PVC vests that laced up the front and gray tights – when they attacked the prostitute's customers, they wore red PVC masks over their faces. The whore was dresses in a nude leotard that was decorated with red hourglass markings on her rib cages. She was beautiful, but disturbing.
The last ballet was by far the best – SJSV's troop is far better suited to comedy ballets, not dramas. And how can you beat dancing cowboys? Rodeo is the tale of a woman who dresses as a man so that she can play with the cowboys, but longs for love. Karen Gabay, who played the main character, has the most marvelous facial expressions and conveyed her character with passion and energy. Her dancing has the expressive talent of one who has spent years performing, and her experience shone throughout. This ballet had the biggest budget of the three performed tonight, and the superior sets and costumes helped complete the picture in a way that the minimalist approach of the prior performances never could. It looked like everyone was having fun as they pranced across the stage. It was a spectacular way to end the night.
I pulled into my driveway right after eleven. I'm too tired to go up to my room – I'll just curl up on a pillow downstairs. Oyasumi.