Wednesday, September 19 , 2018, 5:44 pm | Fair 76º

 
 
 
 

State Street Ballet Swings Into Groove

'Salute to Sinatra' headlines a ballroom full of dancing to wonderful old favorites.

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If there is anything swanker than Frank Sinatra at the top of his form, singing classic American songs, it can only be State Street Ballet‘s sumptuous dances to those memorable recordings.

The company reprized it’s sophisticated Ballroom over the weekend at the Lobero Theatre. The highlight was a "Salute to Sinatra" filled with swinging tunes and lush romanticism. This updated version of the piece had new components along with the old, and wonderful performances by its especially strong male dancers.

After romantic numbers to Sinatra classics like "Come Dance With Me," "That Old Black Magic" and "American Beauty Rose," the men took over. Doffing their elegant formal coats and rolling up their sleeves, they presented a swaggering "That’s Life." This piece of male bravura was danced by Bayaraa Badamsambuu, Sergei Domrachev, Enton Hoxha, John Christopher Piel and Shane Tice.

It’s fun to imagine the response to "Salute to Sinatra" when danced by the troupe when it toured Taiwan and China. The choreography was by Victoria Simon and the lighting design, an abstract pattern of the New York skyline, was beautifully realized by Mark Somerfield.

"Sinatra" was followed by "Dream Dancing," an elegant pairing of Leila Drake and Ryan Camou, to music by Cole Porter as sung by Chanticleer. The choreography, set on a city rooftop with the dancers in satin pajamas, was by Nancy Colahan and Christopher Pilafian.

Next was "Love’s Avalon," to recordings of Natalie Cole singing numbers like "Route 66," "Orange-Colored Sky" and, and, of course, "Avalon." Eight of the company’s women performed this swinging number with two men. It was followed by Igor Stravinsky’s brilliant "Tango" pas de deux, featuring Jennifer Rowe and the irrepressible Domrachev, choreographed by the company’s artistic director, Rodney Gustafson.

The program ended with "B.A.N.D.," to recordings by the Andrews Sisters with Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday. Especially charming was "Drinkin’ Rum and Coca-Cola," sung by the Andrews Sisters and danced by women of the company.

A nice touch at the beginning of the program was a live intro performed by a trio including Jason Bray, string bass, David Campos, piano, and Adam Phillips, vocals.

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