On a cold February evening, Oklahoma City Ballet opened the second half of its season with a program of ballets new to local audiences, with two world premieres and one Oklahoma City premiere.
Although Artistic Director Robert Mills' new version of “The Firebird” might have been the initial draw for many audience members, they also were treated to two other very contemporary ballets.
The performance began with “Junctures,” a new work choreographed for this company by Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet's Alan Hineline. Set to music by Michael Nyman, the ballet opened to a starkly unadorned stage, no wings or backdrop, with lighting instruments exposed on metal towerlike structures on the side of the stage.
The dancers' costumes were similarly austere, minimally embellished unitards or tops with shorts for both the men and women. During this eight-part ballet, dancers entered and exited the stage in silence, mainly using simple walking or running.
More complicated dance technique was used as the music played, with various numbers of dancers on stage in each section. While the female dancers wore pointe shoes, they did not always dance en pointe, which sometimes looked awkward.
One highlight was the pas de deux by Miki Kawamura and David Barocio. This intricate duet seemed to flow as if the music and dance were created together. In fact, Hineline's strong musicality was evident throughout the ballet.
“In Between Dreams,” choreographed by Mills in 2007, began with the stage in near total darkness. Hands, arms, legs and finally the entire body appeared as the dancers reached through slits in black, stretchy fabric placed upstage center.
Though the ballet did not tell a story, one could feel the dancers' passion as they seemed to continually reach outward, their bodies as flexible as the fabric behind them. One standout moment was another pas de deux by Kawamura and Barocio that contained some spectacular lifts and partnering.