Review: Boston Ballet’s 'Mirrors'

Angelica Potter

  • OnStage Massachusetts Critic

BOSTON MA - Boston Ballet’s Mirrors, alternating with Swan Lake at the Boston Opera House, is a fantastic blend of classical and contemporary ballet and features two world premieres: Smoke and Mirrors and Bitches Brew, as well as Resonance, created for Boston Ballet in 2014, and the stunning pas de deux Belong. From start to finish these pieces captured the audience’s attention and the company demonstrated their incredible versatility and passion for the art of dance. 

José Martinez’s Resonance opened the show with a beautiful blend of classical and contemporary ballet that was not hindered by excessive sets or costumes, but rather showed the athleticism and grace of the dancers who floated across the stage. The main pairs: Lia Cirio with Lasha Khozashvili and Dusty Button with Patrick Yocum, danced with flowing, naturalistic ease.    

Pianists Alex Foaksman and Freda Locker were sensational; adding vibrant energy to the dancer’s every movement. One piano was placed in front of the audience on the left side, while the other was placed upstage center where the dancers moved in front of it. The musicality of the corps de ballet was nicely displayed and their ability to follow each note played by either piano was great. Rarely did the corps de ballet fall out of sync.  

 Boston Ballet in Yury Yanowsky's Smoke and Mirrors; photo by Gene Schiavone, courtesy Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet in Yury Yanowsky's Smoke and Mirrors; photo by Gene Schiavone, courtesy Boston Ballet

Belong, choreographed by Norbert Vesak to music by Syrinx was an incredibly striking pas de deux danced by Petra Conti and Eris Nezha. Their musicality, strength, power and grace were perfection. Though it was a short piece, less than ten minutes, they completely captivated the audience and delivered what I believe to be one of their best performances of the season. It was beautifully poignant and I am so glad Boston Ballet has added this timeless piece to their repertoire. Conti and Nezha received a well-deserved extended applause for this must see pas de deux. 

Smoke and Mirrors choreographed by Yury Yanowsky, former Boston Ballet principal, to music by Lucas Vidal is a visually stimulating and unique mix of contemporary and ballet styles. The set design, by Benjamin J. Phillips, and the use of smoke throughout the piece added another level of intrigue and intensity. The women’s costume included a corset with handles that the gentlemen used to lift and move them around the stage. Designed by Charles Heightchew, these corsets were imaginatively created and their use by the company added a whole other level of movement between the partners. The company moved together very well and overall did a fantastic job with this new ballet. 

Bitches Brew with choreography by Karole Armitage is set to the music of the great Jazz musician Miles Davis. The costumes, designed by Peter Speliopoulos featured gunmetal grey leotards and tights that were died different bright colors for each dancer and that matched their colorfully died shoes. This detailed element was a great choice to bringing more life and spunk to the piece. While most of the females wore various hair pieces, lead dancer Ji Young Chae wore her long hair down and used it as a part of her movement.  She entranced the audience and seemed to move as one with the music. Overall, the dancers were entertaining, energetic and well enjoyed by the audience. Bitches Brew is unlike any ballet I have ever seen. It pushes the boundaries of classical and contemporary ballet with a fun edginess while holding true to ballet’s roots.  

The four ballets in Boston Ballet’s Mirrors offer something for everyone, but it only performs at the Boston Opera House until May 28th.Tickets and more information can be found at 

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