Posted by: viewfromtheriva | March 23, 2013

Split Ballet’s exuberant Don Quixote

Julija Pivotskaja is thrilling to watch

Julija Pivotskaja is thrilling to watch

The Split Ballet, the jewel of Split’s vibrant arts scene, once again displayed its virtuosity with an exuberant 3 act rendition of Don Quixote.  The dancers must have been exhausted after more than two plus hours of such spirited ballet, but they never never missed a beat.

The astonishing Julija Pivotskaja and her dashing lover, played by the equally gifted Artjom Zusov, clearly love to dance and did so with such gorgeous style–from Artjom’s graceful lifts and marvelously visceral  solos to Julija’s dazzling leaps and stunning footwork.  What’s so remarkable about these two dancers is their artistry–whether it’s a demanding en pointe  or multiple jumps their effortless ability to soar, turn, and land with such grace and beauty of line is just thrilling to watch.

the corps de ballet was fabulous

the corps de ballet was fabulous

And what a glorious Dulcinea–played with exquisite loveliness by Irina Caban, who except for her sizzling Carmen, has never danced more beautifully.  Lev Saposnikov as Don Quixote, captured both the passion and dignity of Cervantes hero with handsome dancing and some stunning lifts.

Irina Caban was never more lovely, partnered with Lev Saposniko as Don Quixote

Irina Caban was never more lovely, partnered with Lev Saposnikov as Don Quixote

And special mention to Mario Bulicic as Kirtin’s brother, who electrified the second act with his bravura performance that was both athletic and poetic.  (I hope I have given credit to where it is due, it may have been another dancer! But he knows who is he when he sees this photo!

The second act show stopper was Mario Bulicic's terrific dancing

The second act show stopper was Mario Bulicic’s terrific dancing

The orchestra too was in fine form, with some lovely solo work by the violin. And the set was perfect.  Yes, there was a windmill, but it was cleverly hidden as part of the facade in the bridge that framed the stage.  During the tempest in Act 2, one piece of the facade dropped down gracefully and both pieces began to spin–perfect!

The only issue I have with the ballet is the decision to make it three acts instead of two.  The first act was too languid and a bit repetitive; but the second act was spectacular and ended with Don Quixote looking forlorn as his beloved Dulcinea fades into the distance.  Why this wasn’t the end of the performance was strange.   But somehow there was a third act which was mostly a solo showcase for the ballet’s principal dancers.  While they enjoyed their solos immensely, the story and the emotional impact of the performance had passed.

I continue to be amazed by this company–the professionalism and quality of the dancing are clearly of a very high order and the Split Ballet deserves a tour to London, New York and other venues where their artistry would leave audiences spellbound.

Who says Split is just for Hajduk?!!






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