Avoid the Rain with a Trip to Spain
Review of Don Quixote at Pacific Northwest Ballet by Charlotte P.
Is the cold winter weather getting you down? Well, Pacific Northwest Ballet has provided the perfect solution. Take a trip to warm, sunny Barcelona with PNB’s Don Quixote. The production, choreographed by world-famous choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, captures the passion of Spain with an undertone of Russian classicism.
Based on Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s literary masterpiece Don Quixote, the ballet is an energetic spectacle that draws out laughter from the very beginning. Although entitled Don Quixote, the Don (and his portly sidekick Sancho Panza) plays a minimal part in the action aside from his journey to find his true love, Dulcinea. The majority of the plot follows the escapades of Kitri, a feisty Spanish girl, and Basilio, her lover, around Barcelona in escape from Kitri’s father, who wants her to marry the ridiculous, but wealthy, Gamache.
Opening night featured Carla Kӧrbes as Kitri and Batkhurel Bold as Basilio, both of whom perfectly capture the classicism of Ratmansky’s choreography but slightly lack the chemistry expected between forbidden lovers. However, Karel Cruz and Lindsi Dec—husband and wife in real life—successfully portray the passion and intensity required as Espada and Mercedes, respectively.
Tom Skerritt and Allen Galli, both guest artists, play Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and add the perfect comedic touch necessary for this ballet. One chuckle-inducing moment takes place in Act One when Sancho Panza, blindfolded, is led from one side of the stage to another by the clapping hands of the townspeople.
Act Two is slightly more confusing, what with the supposed gypsy camp where there are no gypsies but instead other characters like the Devil and Harlequin. However, the second scene of Act Two drew gasps from the audience as the curtain rose. Taking place in the dreams of Don Quixote, where he searches for his love Dulcinea, Dryads and Cupids dance around a Sleeping Beauty-esque set. Rachel Foster, who performs Cupid, sparkles throughout the cheerful, sprightly variation. Lesley Rausch, who dances Queen of the Dryads, is effortlessly elegant and serene. However, it’s Carla Kӧrbes who steals the show in her Act
Two variation with incredibly long balances and lightning-fast pique turns.
Although the third act is perhaps the least exciting of the three—except for Kitri and Basilio’s pas de deux (which induced a standing ovation)—it concludes happily, with the wedding of Kitri and Basilio and a bittersweet goodbye to Don Quixote as he leaves to search for Dulcinea.
Whether this is your first ballet or you are a seasoned balletomane, Don Quixote is sure to be a fiesta full of lively music, magnificent costumes, and the enchanting dancers of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Pacific Northwest Ballet
January 30 - February 8