Balletto di Toscana's "Mediterranea" at The
Orange County Center for the Performing Arts is a rich tapestry of
music and dance from all of the lands of the Mediterranean. The music
medley of Paride Bonetta and Mauro Bigonzetti features selection of
Marin Marais, Palestrina's "Kyrie" from "The Missa
Brevis" and songs as disparate as ancient Greek to Turkey,
Spain, France, and Tunisia. The recorded music is interwoven with
sounds of the sea and other electronic effects to fuse it into one.
Bigonzetti's choreography is more modern than classical. We have
pounding rhythms that capture the heat and fiery passion, but the
movement generally lacks the graceful carriage of classical ballet.
Frequently we're left with flailing arms and legs that lack cohesion
and real movement. When one thinks of repetition, Philip Glass comes
to mind. "Glass Pieces" moved in small incremental steps,
in a definite direction, but "Mediterranea" frequently was
merely repetitious, without direction. It's very athletic, with a lot
of jumps, twirls, and couples swinging each other in various
directions with flying kicks, but there are none of the soaring leaps
that define first rate ballet. Rather than a cohesive unit of
interwoven movement, we're too often left with virtuosic
exhibitionism, that, while impressive, lacks purpose.
"Mediterranea" certainly has it's moments. There is a
beautiful pas de deux toward the end, and some excellent ensemble
work. It's mystical and rhythmic, with a definite Turkish flavor that
certainly captures the exoticism of "Mediterranea" by
Balletto di Toscana at The Orange County Center for the Performing Arts.