The Ballet Nacional de Cuba closed it Kennedy Center season this weekend with one gem -- Alicia Alonso's production of "Giselle," and one egg -- the multichoreographer "Night of the Guitar," a collection of trite pieces which use their guitar accompaniment as mood music.
Aside from the talent-show level of choreography, the most distressing thing about "Night of the Guitar" is that it gives most of the company's best dancers plenty of opportunities to work, but no one a chance to shine.
Mercifully, the company's last performance was in "Giselle," a ballet that shows them at their best, both as classical dancers and as a dramatic ensemble. Alonso acted the title role, making every aspect of the story clear by her spacious gestures. Jorge Esquivel is so low-keyed an Albrecht that one almost forgets he is there until he soars out for his second-act solds, slashing the air in front of him with long, lavender-clad legs, which slam open and closed with audible force
If the women's movement ever needs a theme dance for a Sisterhood is Powerful convention, they should hire the Cubans to do the Wilis' dances from the second act of "Gisele." Sweet and feminine at first, they turn into vicious, menacing creatures when they sense the presence of men in their forest. They encircle their victims, first in culsters of four, then the whole horde of them, swirling, leaping, snapping into line formation, dancing the intruders to their graves. The Cubans make what often seems a game of Mother May I into the fight to the death that it should be.