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Dance Reviews : Christopher Aponte’s Balletic Showcase

As a ballet dancer, Christopher Aponte offers a brilliantly honed, perfectly proportioned body along with equally remarkable expressive powers. He is a superb performer--and he needs to be, since his choreography often flings out ideas without developing them and borrows styles from all over the map.

A showcase for Aponte’s dancing and choreography at the Embassy Theatre began Saturday with “King of Stars,” in which Aponte wore a crown of thorns and hung from a huge wooden cross. It ended with him dancing Ravel’s “Bolero” as a solo. This is not an artist who suffers from self-doubt.

Among its other purposes, the program served as a benefit for the CareGivers project, a nonprofit, San Francisco-based organization that treats burnout among those who aid the terminally ill. This context added poignancy to the program’s highlight: “Adagietto From Mahler’s Fifth Symphony,” a demanding gymnastic duet in which Andreas Folsom supported and helped guide Aponte through what seemed an essentially spiritual crisis.

Expanded frontiers for male dancing proved the issue both here and in Aponte’s other personal vehicles--as well as Philip Jones’ tentatively executed, Graham-esque solo “Renewal,” the only work not choreographed by Aponte. Tracing a dynamic scale and range of emotions usually denied men in American ballet, Aponte, Jones and Folsom suggested potent European alternatives.

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Elsewhere, however, Aponte used men as mere cavaliers.


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