Seven pas de deux, three solos, one grande divertissement plus a dramatic work in three scenes, made Maryland Ballet's gala into a marathon Thursday and Friday at Baltimore's Lyric Theatre. Yet there was nothing rushed about the actual dancing because Petrus Bosman, Maryland's director, allotted generous slots to both guest performers and his own dancers.
Some guests were familiar. Anthony Dowell displayed fine line, but wasn't as pliant as always in the duo from Ashton's "Dream". Rebecca Wright was more frantic than exciting, both in the ashton and in Stuart Sebastian's "Undine" solo.Christian Holder wore his best Judith Jamison manner and sensational pants-skirt for Arpino's gospel dance, "Touch Me."
That excellent partner, Donald MacLeary, supported his less familiar British colleague, Alfreda Thorogood, in two adagios. MacMillan's "Concerto" showed Thorogood's beautifully arched feet and neatness of attack, hallmarks of the Royal Ballet's style, but she wasn't grand enough for the "Sleeping Beauty" finale.
France's Magali Messac, making her debut in our area, moved with intelligence, intensity and plasticity alongside the able Edward Myers in a balletomodern duet by a Dane LaFontsee. Linda Di Bona, of Boston and London, had the classical proportions and looks of a young Margot Fonteyn, but she and Robert Brassel brought rigidity to the suppler requirements of Attilio Labis' "Spartacus" heroics.
Maryland's stars, the fluent Sylvester Campbell and strong Linda Kintz, held their own in the competition, and the entire home team did well. If only Bosman were as good in choosing regular repertory as he is in holding galas.