Ballet Reviews : Bustamante and Ferri in Evening Performance

Her extension seems to grow higher every year, but Alessandra Ferri is still a great Juliet where it counts--in her intense surrender to each moment of Kenneth MacMillan’s Shakespeare ballet.

Sunday evening in Shrine Auditorium, Ferri graced the last performance of the American Ballet Theatre season. Her Romeo: Ricardo Bustamante, a Ballet Theatre soloist with an unusually high extension of his own and an ability to almost match her sense of spontaneity and passionate involvement.

Though his best dancing had extraordinary suavity and technical plush, Bustamante did not always look comfortable in his solos, with their emphasis on intricate combinations of jumps and turns in place. However, the duets were glorious: paradigms of mutual risk, trust and inspiration. Bustamante’s sensitivity as an actor and strength as a partner released Ferri into dancing of thrilling urgency, intimacy, generosity.

Otherwise, this final “Romeo and Juliet” featured a number of pointed character portrayals: Victor Barbee’s brutal Tybalt, for example, and Clark Tippet’s haughty Capulet, plus, as always, Georgina Parkinson’s memorably elegant and neurotic Lady Capulet.

John Summers made a confused, manipulated Paris (another victimized Verona youth rather than a co-conspirator). As Mercutio, Danilo Radojevic followed current Ballet Theatre practice by reducing the character to generalized sweetness and solid-gold virtuosity. Jack Everly conducted.