Posted by: viewfromtheriva | April 12, 2015

Split Ballet’s Puss in Boots is the cat’s meow!

As readers of this blog know, I’m constantly thrilled by the stunning performances of Split’s Ballet Company.  This season they are performing classic chestnuts like Madame Butterfly,  et. al., but the ballet I wanted to see was Bruno Bjeliniski’s adaptation of Puss in Boots, which had its premiere in Zagreb in 1977.  A contemporary Croatian composer, Bjelinski’s focus is classic folktales like Pinnochio and Peter Pan which he has turned into rich ballet scores that have been successfully performed abroad as well as here in Croatia.

The Split premiere was last week on the 9th of April.

The show is such a splendid spectacle–wonderful music, terrific choreography, soaring dancers, inventive sets and dramatic lighting that work together beautifully.

The star of the show as Puss in Boots was the extraordinary Aleksandar Korijakovski whose jumps, turns and winning theatrical presence–the man can act!—was a bravura performance that brought the house down every time he took the stage.

Watching him pirouette, prancing like cat whose only goal in life is to have as much fun as possible, was pure joy. Wow, what a performance!

The princess and her romantic lead, the miller Ivica, were danced by Eva Karpilovska and Artjom Zusov.  Their glorious, gorgeous duets–languid, sensuous, poetic, with sumptuous lines–made you swoon.  How exciting to see such a tall, slim male soloist like Zusov really being given a showcase for his talent, not just being used as a gallant set piece to lift the ballerina and act debonair.  Paired with the diminitive Karpilovska, who lights up the stage every time she appears, the pair were mesmerizing. It was watching love at first sight–anxious, yearning, passionate and pure.

This is the kind of dancing all ballet artists die for–choreography that gives them free, fluid notation to use the entire stage, with enough technique to make every solo, duet and ensemble piece really compelling.  And oh my, those lifts!  Just fabulous!

No these are not re-touched photos, these dancers can really fly!

Look at these lines–angular beauty at every turn!

Alexsandar Korijakovsi as Puss in Boots was thrilling to watch.  It was hard to count the number of soaring leaps by him and the other lead dancers.  But even the corps de ballet had their moments of gravity-defying joy!

No, this is not the circus, it’s the magic of the Split Ballet Company!

The choreorgraphy by Ljilana Gvozdenovic, was simply wonderful;  the perfect match for Bjelinski’s rhythmically diverse score.  She really let the dancers loose, but made sure they could also show you enough technique to let everyone in the audience know that these young, smashingly excellent dancers are gifted, highly-trained professionals.

Another thrilling night at the ballet here in Split.  There are a few more shows, so whether you are here, in Cavtat or Cleveland, if you love dance, get here!  The next performances are April 13,  14, 16, 20 and May 2.

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