I cannot of course not attend the opening and finale of Diablo Ballet’s final program of the season.
While the anticipation was for Robert Dekkers’s world premiere of “Carnival of the Imagination,” it was another world premiere, “Mythic Place,” by Gary Masters that opened the program. The two works are both inspired by the imaginative and the spiritual but they couldn’t be more different in their basis of styles which highlights the breadth and width of the company’s talent.
To Carlos Chavez percussion adroitly executed by Musical Director Greg Sudmeier, Masters channels Limon in “Mythic Place” with the earthiness and groundedness of abstract native American gestures and perhaps a little bit of frieze-inspired Martha Graham. In contrast, with Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Le Carnaval des Animaux” lifting it, Dekkers’s work ventures from a ballet idiom into the ethereal, most exquisitely seen in the elegantly limbed Tetanya Martyanova in the ‘Butterfly Emerging’ section, ironically set to the music most people identify with Michel Fokine’s “Dying Swan.”
The pas de deux from Val Caniparoli’s “Hamlet and Ophelia” though anchored the evening for me, with its thoughtful purposeful choreography, helped no doubt by staging by Joanna Berman, a longtime family friend who originated the role of Ophelia at San Francisco Ballet, and lighting by Jack Carpenter and Dennis Hudson, and the focus on details by dancers Amanda Farris and Christian Squires.