Four superb ballets showing off the high standard of the dancers are presented. To the music of Verdi, George Balanchine’s Ballo Della Regina opens the show. It is his tribute to ballet scenes in opera and was created for ballerina Merrill Ashley, who staged it. It is gloriously danced by all, especially the leading couple of Vanessa Zahorian and Gonzalo Garcia. With snappy beaten jumps and smooth circular lines, it is a pleasure to view.
Helgi Tomasson, the Icelandic artistic director, showed off the men in his company with Concerto Grosso to music by Geminiani. The work for five male dancers, led by a carefree Pascal Molat, was a display of elegant vitality.
Set to music by Scriabin, Study in Motion has been created this year by Yuri Possokhov, a principal dancer in the company. It is stark and speedy but is stylistically dated, with elements of old-fashioned east European choreography. A series of four duets intermingle with fine dancing, especially from Lorena Feijoo and Nicolas Blanc.
Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, performed to the Hindemith score, dates back to 1946 but remains fresh and vital. Nicolas Blanc ably leads in the first variation Melancholic, Sarah Van Patten with Vadim Solomakha brightly lead Sanguinic, with a cool Yuri Possokhov leading Phlegmatic and Muriel Maffre a firecracker as Choleric.
In performing Balanchine, SFB do not have quite the refinement of the New York City company or quite the precision of some of our own Royal Ballet presentations but they are joyful and a delight to watch.