|PNB Principal Dancers Karel Cruz and Lindsi Dec in "Don Quixote"|
photo by Lindsay Thomas
I know I hyperventilated about Karel Cruz and Lindsi Dec a couple of weeks back. I couldn’t wait to see them dance the leads in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of “Don Quixote.” Then, I started to second guess myself. Was I overly fulminous? Could any dancer live up to that hype?
Well, I’m here to say I had a blast watching Cruz and Dec, a real-life couple, dance Kitri and Basilio, the lovers in Alexei Ratmansky’s refreshing update of this 19th century ballet.
Saturday, January 31st was Dec’s debut as Kitri, a girl in love with a guy her father deplores. He’s fixed her up with a rich fop (the wonderfully hilarious Jonathan Porretta). So Kitri and Basilio run off to escape the intended betrothal, all the while dogged by Don Q and his sidekick Sancho Panza (Tom Skerrit and the perfectly cast Allen Galli).
The lavish production includes villagers galore, including Angelica Generosa and Leta Biasucci in the featured roles of Juanita and Piccilia. We’ve got cape twirling matador Batkhurel Bold and the sublime Carrie Imler as his inamorata, Mercedes. And there were a bevy of dream maidens, too, featuring Sarah Ricard Orza as the Queen of the Dryads, and Carli Samuelson as Cupid.
Everyone danced well, everyone looked great, but the night belonged to Cruz and Dec. The way they smiled at one another, the joy they found in their performance, the tender way Cruz held Dec aloft, or circled an arm around her waist. Sigh, it was dreamy, and so much fun to be in the audience!
They dance together in these roles again on Sunday the 8th; they will also appear as the Matador Espada and Mercedes in both performances Saturday, February 7th.
If you like story ballets, if you’re a fan of “Nutcracker” who has been meaning to widen your balletic horizons, this PNB production of “Don Quixote” is just the ticket. Trust me on this one.