Richmond Ballet’s “Trio” transformed the Carpenter Theatre into three separate worlds with three remarkably presented ballets. Prior to the 2017 premiere of the “Trio,” RVA Mag was able to join the Richmond Ballet’s Company dancers as they prepared to present their repertoire to not only Richmond, but Norfolk as well. The rehearsals of “Gloria,” “Silence,” and “Journey” reflected what was executed on the main stage; the ballet master meticulously spot -checking and polishing routines for consistency and poise.
The curtain rose to “Gloria,” a choreographic interpretation of Vivaldi’s classic, and the work featured a marvelous collaboration between the Ballet, the Richmond Symphony, and the Virginia Commonwealth University Commonwealth Singers. This grandstanding, traditional ballet encompasses what dance is capable of in a multi-media digestion of artistic content. Vivaldi, a classic, would receive classical treatment within the confines of ballet, which I find boring from repetition, but this was never the case while I watched “Gloria.” The most notable performances of the piece coming from the second movement, comprised of three sets of gorgeous partnering, and the tenth movement, which featured a striking, articulated solo from Eri Nishihara.
My personal favorite of the night came with the second ballet, “Silence.” Originally a smaller work that premiered at New Works, choreographer Gina Patterson was commissioned by the Ballet to travel to Richmond and fully produce the work. This is how the floating pillar came to be, as well as the walking red dress performer. But, what truly captivated my interest about the choreographic layout was the highly-occupied space of dancers in a perpetual state of redress and organic redirection. With so much occurring at once, I always knew where to look. “Silence” is an outright breathtaking pillar of contemporary ballet. Also, special kudos to Fernando Sabino and Maggie Small’s performance.
Last in the “Trio” lineup was “Journey,” a form-breaking ballet consisting of an all-male cast. No other words can describe these twelve professional male dancers besides virtuous and essential. The piece’s original choreographer, Salvatore Aiello, crafted the work to honor the male dancer, who he had believed broke a glass ceiling in the industry. Men don’t just have to lift the women, but they can be lifted themselves. The most thought-provoking quote uttered during those rehearsals rang a little like, “You’re not lifting them, you’re catching them, so they don’t fly away.” That tenderness is the point, and that tenderness received a standing ovation.
Richmond Ballet’s next performance will be “The Nutcracker,” premiering on Sat, Dec 9, at the Dominion Arts Center.
Photo Credits: Sarah Ferguson