Sometimes ballet companies present "mixed programs" of works that are thematically related, sometimes they present carefully selected contrasting pieces. But the bill of fare the Joffrey Ballet offered last night at Wolf Trap was one esthetic indigestion, like a banana split made with a pickle instead of a banana.
The sweets on the menu were Ashton's delightful "Les Patineurs," Gerald Arpino's flashy "Fanfarita" and that same choreographer's frothy Kettentanz," all divertissements with a classical vocabulary. The pickle was the Wolf Trap premiere of Glen Tetley's modern-ballet "Mythical Hunters." t
"Mythical Hunters" contains most of the thematic and choreographic materials that have become Tetley trademarks -- sexual conflicts (here Man is the hunter and Woman his prey) and a movement vocabulary limited to stretches, rolls, lifts, wriggles and squirms.
Presumably, Tetley tries to fuse ballet and modern dance to retain the virtuosity of the former and acquire the expressiveness of the latter.Sad that with both these tools at his disposal, "Mythical Hunters" is an artistic void. All those dancers writhing in agony so beautifully should result in more than a different, more empty, virtuosity.
Ashton combined two disparate arts -- ballet and ice-skating -- with more success in his "Les Patineurs," which received this season's first performance last night. Glenn Dufford as the Blue Skater perfectly caught the style of the rold, investing his whiplash turns and clean beats with a tasteful, well-mannered virtuosity.