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‘Modern Masters’ one great dance atop another

The Arizona Republic, Richard Nilsen, Reviewed Thursday, March 24, at the Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix
The world seems to be falling apart around us, but Ballet Arizona just keeps getting better.

Its current “Modern Masters” program is just one more exhibit, beginning with the marvelous precision and unanimity when the mass of dancers is moving together on the beat.

That became clear in the opening “Polyphonia,” choreographed by superstar Christopher Wheeldon. The company first performed “Polyphonia” two years ago, and it was a delight then. It proved even more so this time, with better cohesiveness among the performers.
Not the least of it was pianist William Wolfram’s playing of the 10 character pieces by Gyögy Ligeti that accompanied the dance.

But as good as it was, it was bested by Alejandro Cerrudo’s “Off Screen,” danced to a collection of movie scores – and, just for the fun of it, a Paganini capriccio. Slinky and modern, with sexy steps and eccentric moves, it was less classical than Wheeldon, more street.

How could the finale, a new piece by artistic director Ib Andersen, possible measure up?

Well, it did. Danced in full tutu regalia to Prokofiev’s “Symphonie Classique,” it matched the ebullience of the music with a stage full of twirling, leaping dancers in perfect synch with the spirit of the snappy, snazzy score.

It was the topper.

The evening was so delightful, so full of utter pleasure, I’m going back for seconds.