Dance Review: NYC Ballet duo shine brightest at 'Stars of Dance'

Saturday's dance performance at the Laguna Playhouse brings together all-stars from renowned ballet companies.

April 19, 2012|By Heather Youmans, Special to the Coastline Pilot
  • Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz perform in the Laguna Beach Dance Fest.
Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz perform in the Laguna Beach… (Courtesy Paul Kolnik,…)

Patrons and dance aficionados came together Saturday night for the Laguna Dance Festival's 7th annual "Stars of Dance" gala performance at the Laguna Playhouse.

Special guests Tiler Peck and Joaquin DeLuz of the New York City Ballet paved the way for a string of transfixing performances by the likes of Colorado Ballet, Ballet X, Smuin Ballet, and students from UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

Despite valiant efforts from the Colorado Ballet and Smuin Ballet duos to measure up, Peck and DeLuz stole the show. Peck and DeLuz's opening pas de deux was, without question, a tough act to follow, spoiling the audience with George Balanchine's legendary choreography.

"Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux," set to an excerpt from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" ballet, showcased the pair's captivating personalities and credibility as enchanting, young lovers.

A charismatic Peck floated in the air as she basked in a sea of orange flourishes. Her effortless agility and control made for an intriguing sight of tight, defined footwork transitioning into a glorious release of extension.


DeLuz, a Spaniard, supported Peck every step of the way. But he earned his share of the spotlight in mid-solo moments, which garnered continual applause for his eternal sequence of turns in second.

In Act Two, the pair took the stage once again in "Rubies Pas De Deux," another Balanchine work set to Stravinsky's dynamic, and even eccentric, "Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra." Once again, the pair was right on pointe, but now embodied a new set of vainly regal characters.

However, the primary feature of the Peck-DeLuz duo lay not in their superior technical precision and seamless flow, but in their mastery of storytelling.

Ballet X's inseparable duo, Cloe Horn and William Cannon, pirouetted into a close second with the Act One showstopper "It's Not A Cry," set to Leonard Cohen's tender cover of "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley.

Cannon is a rare treasure and was clearly the strongest male dancer coming out of Ballet X on Saturday evening. His strong, zealous movements combined with a tireless commitment to the music, choreography and emotional nuisances made him unmistakable as he lived in the moment.

Amy Seiwert's contemporary ballet choreography was poignant and inventive, especially when Chloe Horn used a black jacket to bind her lover's feet in an absorbing optical illusion.

Like an artist with her brush, Seiwart cordially painted this couple's rocky relationship through the eyes of human experience.

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