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The ballet’s orchestra seemed to relish the abandon of the music, and the audience Thursday loved the abandon of the dance. Its hideous costumes, however, suggested badly imagined marathon wear for a new nation. The dance itself was full of enjoyable clusters of bodies that sent arms up as if to celebrate a team win. It also was packed with waves of action that both deposited and picked up The Protagonist — as Peck portentously calls the character nicely danced by Joseph Walsh. But it is a slender work, unable to support all its grandly named characters (The Foil, The Hero, Quantus, Electress and Botanica) or designation for the crowd (School of Thought).
While Peck has an eye for moving ensembles around the stage in clear and simple patterns, he hasn’t figured out how to breathe narrative life into what’s essentially a rollicking Broadway ensemble piece, “Continuum” (2002), which opened the program, was in every way, “Countenance’s” opposite — and one of Christopher Wheeldon’s most austere and fascinating works, Part paean to the engineering of the body and part nod to the Bauhaus, yoga and modern dance (with hints of Jerome Robbins’s “The Cage”), the ballet never strayed from classical form pink ballet flats but consistently dared to push its envelope..
Set to a compilation of György Ligeti’s works for keyboard, the ballet opens as the back curtain liquidly rises to reveal a band of white, while dancers appear from the wings and then disappear, only to emerge to perform a simple walk catch step. Like “Theme,” “Continuum” relies on basic building blocks to create a highly reticulated world as mysterious and unpredictable as the Ligeti compositions. Vanessa Zahorian and Luke Ingham were sensuous and Shiva-like, yet intensely functional, in their pairing. Frances Chung precisely carved arabesques into the air in one of her solos. The couplings of Dores André with Steven Morse, Chung with Joseph Walsh, and Sofiane Sylve with Tiit Helimets highlighted dance as mysterious clockwork motion, and bodies as whirligigs and elegant organisms.
For lovers of this troupe, this year’s retirement of Russian-born Nedvigin, Cuban Joan Boada and Frenchman Pascal Molat marks the departure of three splendid dancers who have channeled artistic brilliance and real humanity into this company for 19, 17 and 14 years respectively, There is still time to see them at work here, though, In Program 6, Boada dances in one of the casts for Christopher Wheeldon’s “Rush.” And in Program 7, Nedvigin’s diamantine technique and gallant style remain on display in Balanchine’s “Theme and Variation” (1947), Nedvigin will also be featured pink ballet flats in Program 8’s full-length “Eugene Onegin” later this month, A formal farewell for these longtime principals will take place in an April 17 goodbye concert that’s open to the public..
The event will also celebrate the past century in California and the 100th birthday of Filoli House. Flower-accented vintage cars, floral interpretations, elegant table settings, children’s bouquets, horticultural collections, educational exhibits, flower arranging demonstrations, and garden vignettes created by more than 100 designers inspired by the theme will add to the gala. Live music will be provided all three days. On May 5, the Opening Night Preview Party will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. to give attendees the first look at exhibits, a rare stroll in the Garden in the evening light, and a chance to talk with floral designers while enjoying live music, hors d’oeuvres, wine and champagne.
Tickets are $80 per Filoli member and $90 per nonmember, A V.I.P, Package (limited to 50 guests) will feature a special guided, behind-the-scenes, docent-led tour, extra gifts, and an pink ballet flats Opening Night Preview Party from 5:30 to 8 p.m, Ticket cost is $150 per member and $175 per nonmember, On May 6 and 7, Flower Show general admission will be from 10 a.m, to 3:30 p.m, Listen to live music, admire the floral designs, see the table settings, enjoy spring color in the garden, and learn flower arranging tips at Flower Chats..
General admission tickets cost $25 per member, $30 per nonmember, and $10 per child ages 5 through 17. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mother’s Day, the ticket cost will be $30 per member, $35 per nonmember, and $10 per child ages 5 to 17. A Special Tea will be held May 6 and 7 with seating at 11 a.m. Delicious sandwiches, seasonal salads, scones with lemon curd, and pastries will be also served. A Champagne Tea is also scheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 6 and May 7, and Mother’s Day Champagne Brunches are at 10:30 a.m., noon, and 1:30 p.m. May 8.
The special pink ballet flats tea ticket cost is $60 per member, $70 per nonmember, and $40 per seated child (infant through 17 years); the champagne tea ticket cost is $70 per member, $80 per nonmember, and $40 per seated child (infant through 17 years); and the Mother’s Day champagne brunch tickets cost $75, members; $85 nonmembers; and $40, seated child, ages infant to 17 years, Flower show admission is included for both teas and the brunches, No strollers are allowed due to lack of room, A preordered box lunch, served on the tennis court from 11 a.m, to 2 p.m., rain or shine, will also be available, No picnicking is allowed at Filoli..