Well-known ballerina, Kathleen Combes has been given a special surprise, the chance to dance lead for the new ballet, Rhapsody in Blue, which was created by Paulo Arrais, a fellow dancer. This comes as the Boston Ballet makes its season finale. The ballet will alternate between Sir Frederick Ashton’s ballet, Rhapsody, and Cinderalla at the Boston Opera House. Kathleen Combes joined the Boston Ballet in the early 2000’s and is set to retire from the stage once the season ends. She will then move into a new roll as Executive Director of Festival Ballet in September.
Rising choreographer and performed, Arrais has undoubtedly produced a winning ballet on his first go-round. As he uses George Gershwin’s 18-minute piece, he has purposefully called on Combes for the lead, surrounded by 15 men. She desires two of the men, one a manipulative hunk and the other who is more adaptable, whom she later rescues and brings around to her side. However, this ballet is anything but a damsel in distress. She is seen as more of a queen, as she is rolled and lifted by a quartet of male dancers. The ballets artistic director outfitted her with bobbed hair and a white dress to give the impression of a 20th century goddess.
The play, Rhapsody, opens with three Soviet produced pieces by Leonid Yacobson. While he is talented, much of his work has gone unnoticed in the West. The first of the three short ballets is a romance, Pas de Quatre. It involves four women being followed by a living statue-like series of pas de deux in homage to Rodin. The three short ballets produced by choreographer, Yacobson, ends with a 1969 solo by Mihail Baryshnikov prior to his leaving Russia. The dancers performance was riveting as he was able to seamlessly go between the various moods of the legendary dancer. The finale was Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, which was choreographed by Balanchine. It was based on the memories of his childhood of the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg.
The ballet, Cinderella, is reminiscent of a springtime rendition of The Nutcracker, as it also appeals to families and also an awe-inspiring masterpiece and childhood fairy tale that many can relate to. At the opening performance, the company’s South Korean-born principal dancer Hye Han presenting one of the evenings most talked about performances, displaying technical excellence and superior stamina. Every move was beautifully maneuvered and handsomely performed with grace.
While almost any ballet that is performed by the Boston Ballet Company is magical, it is clear to see that there is something extraordinary about its most recent ballet. With the leaving of one of its stars, there is much anticipation of just how she will leave. So far, she has not disappointed those in attendance. Kathleen Combes has delivered the performance of her life and is leaving the stag with grace and dignity. As she takes her leave, her presence is sure to be missed.