Pennsylvania Ballet's "Messiah' (2nd review)

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A new dance god is born


So much of Robert Weiss’s Messiah rises and falls on the Messiah himself, and the audience couldn’t get enough of principal Sergio Torrado in the role. Torrado has stalked the stage in smaller roles for less than a year after leaving the San Francisco Ballet, where he was a soloist. Jesus is not your typical danseur noble role; there is more at play and at stake, and Weiss physically and mentally asks a lot of him.

Torrado exploded on stage at the Academy in this part. What impresses most is his stoic deportment: He doesn’t try to act it; instead he seems to give his entire body over to it. Technically, Torrado continued to build physical transcendence in this part with soaring aerial work and diamond-hard turns. One sequence of repeated pirouettes that had him drop to the knee was executed with thrilling precision. Torrado and main-man disciples Alexander Iziliaev and James Ady had several double tours sequences and kept up their clarity and attack throughout.

Surprisingly, in a key scene, Weiss borrowed some famous solo dance lines from both Apollo and Prodigal Son, two of Balanchine’s most famous ballets, which completely distracted. But the night belonged to Torrado, and judging by the roar of approval at his curtain, a new dance god was born in Philly.

To read another review by Jim Rutter, click here.

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