Best of 2007
Kirov and Bolshoi ballerinas in exquisite form, and a commanding "Henry Five."
Sunday, December 30, 2007; Page M08
1. The Kirov Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" (Jan. 16, Kennedy Center): This richly textured production of the 1940 Leonid Lavrovsky ballet showcased an astonishing 23-year-old ballerina -- Evgenya Obraztsova -- whose clear, light dancing set the tone for a more nuanced approach throughout the ranks than past Kirov works.
2. The Bolshoi Ballet's "Don Quixote" (Feb. 25, Kennedy Center): Another young ballerina, 21-year-old Natalia Osipova, and her even younger partner, Ivan Vasiliev, 18, set off sparks in this ballet, plump with bravura dancing, extraordinary fullness of detail and rocketing physical excitement.
3. The Pick Up Performance Company's "Dancing Henry Five" (May 11, Clarice Smith Center): A witty, occasionally chilling hour-long reduction of the Shakespeare play, this deceptively homespun patchwork of theater, narration and dance by veteran postmodernist David Gordon draws biting parallels to the Bush administration and its invasion of Iraq.
4. Matthew Bourne's "Edward Scissorhands" (Feb. 13, Kennedy Center): Though this wordless dance-theater work is not as dramatically powerful as Bourne's earlier Tony-winning "Swan Lake," the choreographer's sympathy for the outcast makes for an emotionally satisfying take on the Tim Burton film, and the dancing by Bourne's company was first-class.
5. "Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana" (March 6, Music Center at Strathmore): Unforgettably hot dancing burned this performance into memory, particularly the fury drummed up by Olga Castro, who hammered countless agonies into dust with her heels, and the impeccably musical Juanjo Garcia, who blurred his feet but not their rhythms.