DANCE REVIEWS : New Cast Closes Joffrey Repertory Season


Key cast changes in all four pieces brought novelty to the final repertory program of the Joffrey Ballet season on Saturday afternoon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Indeed, both Randy Duncan’s “A Tri-Fling” and Jiri Kylian’s “Return to a Strange Land” boasted entirely new lineups except for one previously reviewed dancer in each.

Even if the partnering gambits in Duncan’s trio often looked taxing--and arbitrary--Davis Robertson brought great force and drive to the twisting jumps and other solo challenges of his role. Without ever making her involvement with two partners seem anything deeper than mere erotic experimentation, Lissette Salgado danced with flair and got through her gymnastic tasks with dignity.

In “Return to a Strange Land,” Jodie Gates brought so much emotional weight to her dancing that her duet with the conscientious Pierre Lockett compellingly fused physical text and personal subtext.


In contrast, Elizabeth Parkinson’s style of emoting seemed more like a conscious (and not always persuasive) agenda imposed on her duet with the intense Pascal Benichou and on the trio with Benichou and the capable David Kierce.

Gates also contributed artfully modulated dancing to the first (“Action”) solo of Leonide Massine’s “Les Presages.” As Fate in the same ballet, Calvin Kitten looked under-rehearsed: technically spectacular in some passages, rough in his terminations elsewhere.

Frederick Ashton’s “Les Patineurs” needed more stylish dancing in the “white” pas de deux than Meg Gurin could command on Saturday opposite the previously reviewed Tom Mossbrucker. However, Ryuji Yamamoto exuded extraordinary elegance and technical aplomb as the Boy in Blue. His energy and attack in the trio proved somewhat disappointing compared to the solos, but in proportions and phrasing, no less than in bravura feats, Yamamoto established himself as a classical dancer of distinction.