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Pálpito, Ãngel Corella and the Barcelona Ballet

April 24, 2012

Ángel Corella in Pálpito, Photo Erin Baiano

Wow, if you missed the performance of Pálpito, with Ãngel Corella and the Barcelona Ballet, then you missed one of the best performances I’ve seen in recent history! I know, I know the (established) critics have been harsh…down right mean! But sometimes you just got let dance be dance and stop reading so much into it!

Pálpito is brilliant; the original musical composition by Héctor Gonzalez is intoxicating, the choreography by Ãngel Rojas and Carlos Rodríguez is original and innovative, the costumes by Vicente Soler intriguing. It is a full-company classical ballet with Mr. Corella weaving his solos throughout.

Bells are heard before the curtain goes up, then music starts to blend with them, creating expectancy from the start. Suddenly we hear heartbeats that build in tempo and volume, Mr. Corella appears, lying on the floor in a pool of light. At this point, I am all in; the beginning is so dramatic I can’t wait to see what follows!

Alejandro Virelles and Dayron Vera in Barcelona Ballet's 'For 4.' Photo by Erin Baiano

Mr. Corella stands and starts a solo accompanied by the sound of a gypsy voices lamenting in the background. This solo, one of the many done by Mr. Corella is vibrant, he possess the heart of a flamenco dancer as he claps out his rhythms then arches his body in relevé. On stage, Mr. Corella is in his element and can do know wrong. He is lifted above his self!

Momoko Hirata comes on stage and begins a series of fouettés that are perfection and ending in a multiple pirouettes. Her dancing is effortless; she is light and airy in her lyricism of movement.

Carmen Corella, Mr. Corella’s sister is hard to miss when she comes on stage; the eye is drawn to her like moths to a flame. She has a presence on stage that is regal and commanding. When dancing with her matador Dayron Vera, she is sensual and teasing to him. He is as helpless as a spider caught in a web.

Ángel Corella and company in Pálpito, Photo Erin Baiano

Throughout Pálpito there is an underlying sensuality that breathes though the work. Each section is based on various traditional Spanish dances and has depth of both content and artistry.  Ãngel Rojas and Carlos Rodríguez are the founders of Nuevo Ballet Español and are noted flamenco artists; this is their first foray into classical ballet. They stayed true to their roots and created a ballet that is a reflection of Spanish cultural history, which was request by Mr. Corella.

Now I am not sure how the title, Pálpito, which translate to “hunch” in English, relates to the ballet? But perhaps it’s one of those words that get lost in translation and non-Spanish speakers do not grasp its intended implication. 

The synopsis states that The story of Pálpito is about the main character who is trying to free himself from the strings that have him bound to his former role as dancer and keep him from advancing into his mature role”. If you seek this in the ballet you will lose the beauty of the work for it is a thread that is flows throughout the piece and cannot, will not be seen in a literal sense.  You will get lost looking for it, which is what I am guessing happened to all the (established) critics who lambasted Pálpito in the tri-state area. If only they had talked to me first…they would have had a much more enjoyable experience!

Barcelona Ballet is a young company first formed in 2008 as Corella Ballet Castilla y León and the only classical ballet company in Spain. Spain has not had a ballet company in 23 years. Mr. Corella goal is create a company for which Spanish ballet dancers no longer need go abroad to have a career. The company today is international, with 60 dancers from 12 countries.

As Mr. Corella bids his ‘adieu’ to American Ballet Theater, his last performance with the company in June, he has set himself upon a new path, a new course as Artistic Director. With the technical precision exhibited in Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto, No. 1, the male virtuosity in Christopher Wheeldon’s For 4 plus the excitement and daring of Pálpito, Barcelona Ballet will grow into the world-class company Mr. Corella’s has envisioned, strong and true to its Spanish heritage and culture. I can only stand and shout bravo, bravo and bravo again!.  

 

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