Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Character must be established instantly in the major roles of "Scheherazade" and "Le Spectre de la Rose," the Fokine choreographies revived by London festival Ballet and danced at the Kennedy Center for the second time Thursday night, but with some new casting.
Eva Evdokimova again was the girl in "Spectre," substituting for indisposed Elisabetta Terabust. The part does not call for prodigious technique, with the girl asleep much of the time while the man of her fantasy hovers about her chair. Yet the ballerina can't just be seated and slumbering, she must seem on the verge of being swept into her waltz dream. Evdokimova did not simply repeat her own performance of Tuesday night. She was much more the somnambulist throughout, but she failed in being every instant at the precipice of the dance.
Zobeide, the harem favorite in "Scheherazade," must be proud, servile, passive and passionate - convincingly. Often at the sides of the stage, she must catch every viewer's eye with movement that is more preening than dancing. Liliana Belfiore had the beauty for the part, and the silken posturing with impressively high extensions of the legs. As an actress, though, she exaggerated one state and then another. That amazing concentration of Manola Asensio's interpretation on Tuesday was not achieved, and this left in irreparable void at the center of Fokine's calculated construct.
No wonder these ballets are so difficult to revive effectively. Most of our ballet dancers today are fine dancers; they are not mimes or magicians.
In "The Sanguine Fan," Ronald Hynd's old-fashioned, two-year-old farce, Evdokimova danced here for the first time as the younger woman. With her fine long line, wonderfully arched feet, strong technique and rhythmic sensitivity she made the most of a brief solo moment that is almost pure dance. Throughout this piece of trivia she seemed to enjoy herself, which she seldom does in major ballets.
There was no change of cast in Rudolf Nureyev's roles. For those keeping score on his marathon, he was best in the first ballet - the Danish classroom classic, "Conservatoire." Although dancing almost all the male solos, which in other productions are distributed more evenly among the cast, his footwork was clear and quick. Landings could have been lighter, but his body seemed extended with ease. Terabust, looking as if she had stepped from a Degas painting, was his partner. If she injured herself during the ballet, she didn't show it.