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Feld Ballet Adds a Balanchine Pas de Deux

March 5, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Feld Ballet opened a two-week season at the Joyce Theater with a program that included for the first time a George Balanchine dance, along with three of Eliot Feld’s works.

″Tarantella,″ a brief, bright, spinningly fast piece that Balanchine choreographed in 1964, was danced Wednesday night by Geralyn DelCorso and Darren Gibson, to a recording of Gottschalk’s ″Grand Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra.″

Miss DelCorso lacked the elevation, the speed or the sharp attack needed. Her softer style would look more appropriate in another ballet. She presents a winsome personality.

Gibson’s dancing came closer to the Balanchine ideal. He does have elevation, a crisp attack and decisiveness.

The evening began with ″Tzaddik,″ which means holy or wise man. Feld choreographed it in 1974. The company hasn’t danced it here since 1977.

It’s a very clear and moving dance of religious nurturing. Thomas Lemanski, the wise man, has two pupils, Hernando Cortez and James Sewell. Lemanski supports a pupil on each arm, wraps his prayer shawl around them, points things out in the distance, inspires them. They walk, holding their hands as though reading books, while he prays. Finally, they wrap themselves together in a scroll of Hebrew writings.

Lighting by Allen Lee Hughes gives a feeling of a spacious room and keeps a solemn dance from becoming at all grim. Aaron Copland’s ″Vitebsk″ was performed by pianist Peter Longiaru, violinist Kelly Leon and cellist Joshua Gordon.

Feld’s 1984 ″Adieu″ has beautiful choreography. A shroud, used a bit too prominently as a prop at the beginning, becomes less important later. A man, danced by Thomas Lemanski, apparently has died. His wife, Judith Denman, and children, Allison Wade and James Sewell, emerge from his shroud and dance scenes of happier times.

A pas de deux of love, serenity, devotion and mature understanding for Lemanski and Miss Denman is one of those scenes which speak powerfully but wordlessly to viewers and keep them going back to ballet.

All four dancers had the feel of ″Adieu″ right, with Miss Denman the most proficient dancer.

The music was Hugo Wolf’s ″Goethe Songs,″ well sung by soprano Renee Fleming, accompanied by Longiaru.

The evening ended with Feld’s ″Skara Brae,″ from last year.

The company will dance at the Joyce Theater through March 15. On April 4 it will begin a tour in Shreveport, La., which will go to Houston; Purchase and Greenvale, N.Y., and Ottawa, Canada. A tour of Italy is scheduled for July.

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