Yoko Ichino was the last new Kitri in American Ballet Theatre's "Don Quixote" series. Besting her father and foppish suitor, sparring or spooning with her working lad lover and finally wedding him with a little help from the Don, this Kitri had energy.
It was a mechanical energy at first. When Ichino would smile or pout became predictable. Her dancing, though sharp and secure, didn't lead the viewers eye beyond her body. But, rather than tiring her, the old ballet's continuous bravura tapped extra reserves. By the second act, Ichino was relaxed enough to play with the characterization. Jumping into the attitudes and arabesques of the "dream" solo, she had not only held her balance in time but commanded the surrounding space.
Danilo Radojevic, Ichino's partner on Saturday afternoon, was giving his second Kennedy Center performance as Kitri's lover.
Cheryl Yeager, who had made her debut as Amor the night before, looked delightfully fresh in the role at the matinee. Marie Johansson, now projecting her intelligent portrayals on a large scale, was a wily gypsy. For those who wonder why Johan Renvall and Joseph Carman change roles in the first and last acts, the answer has to do with balanced casting, not with a mysterious subplot.