The secret to this success? Deborah Colker's flair for showing the shifting dynamics of passion, be it stretching and yearning with an awakening erotic charge in a young girl or eager and impulsive with the driven adoration of a man who sees, feels, the object of his desire dancing out of his reach. What Pushkin evoked on the page, Colker and her company translate into a physical poetry of their own.
Act One condenses countryside and narrative into a quartet of main characters – albeit multi-faceted, with four "selves" apiece – who swarm, often acrobatically, in and over a toweringly angular tree. As lyric Tchaikovsky gives way to thrumming Brazilian hip-sway, Pushkin himself appears (in male and female duality) to manipulate the encounters that leave naive Tatyana in emotional thrall to arrogantly indifferent Onegin and her sister's decent fiance dead after challenging Onegin in a duel. The fast-paced, agilely inventive choreography is akin to the Colker we know.
Act Two, set to Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto, comes as a ravishing surprise. The men are now black-clad Onegins, the women are Tatyanas in white basques and on-pointe, delivering a sensual vision of romantic surrender before dancing proud, with scything limbs, in a rejection of the belatedly smitten Onegin. A stunning counterpoint to the vivid energies of Act One with Colker and her company in awesome form throughout.
Sponsored by Jenners.