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July 20, 1984 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1984-07-20

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6

ARTS
Friday, July 20, 1984

Page 12

The Michigan Daily

Villella gives a
'self indulgent'
performance

By Pete Williams
T ODAY MARKS the end of Edward
Villella's week-long visit to Ann
Arbor. And after participating in three
ballet performances and 10 masters'
classes, it reasons that he is ready to
go.
Although Tuesday's performance by
Villella and company had its faults, as
did their closing night on Wednesday,
both productions were an excellent
example of American choreography
performed by professional ballet ar-
tists.
The dancers were right on the mark
on Tuesday. The leaps and lifts were
awe-inspiring. The graceful movemen-
ts and pure skill of the company com-
plimented the piped-in musical
arrangments, and Villella's personal
touch - such as offering the audience
educated explanations and impromtu
introductions - made the whole thing
worthwhile.
Criticism is in order, however, for
Tuesday night's performance at the
Power Center. Ignoring the fact that
George Balanchine's pas de deux to
John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes

Premier American ballet artist Edward Villella and bsllerina Sheri Little
show their graceful abilities in Wednesday's performance of The Waltz
Project at the Power Center.

Forever inherently is at best, overly
patriotic, and at worst, blatantly corny,
Roseanne Germer and Oswaldo Muniz
could have done a bit more justice to
Balanchine's arrangement. In short,
Muniz was unclear in his movements. It
was hard to tell what was choreography
and what was a dancer's compensation
for his partner's inadequacies.
Germer and Muniz made up for
Tuesday with Wednesday's Stars and
Stripes. What was seen as a low point
in the company's performance on
Tuesday turned into a showcase for two
talented young dancers on Wednesday.
Muniz took command of the stage
with a rehearsed "proud to be an
American" attitude and dazzled with a
series of powerful leaps and movemen-
ts. Germer's performance on Wed-
nesday also seemed to be a much ap-
preciated over-compensation for her
previous performance. This time, she
seemed to take advantage of the in-
novation and glamour of Balanchine's
work.
That was the rule on Wednesday:
Make up for what was lost in the
previous night's performance and
ignore what went well. The rule had one
exception - Edward Villella.
The retired dancer, in what he admit-
ted was a self-indulgent move to regain
the spotlight, showed the audience in a
tailor-made performance of The Waltz
Project just what 25 years in the New
York City Ballet can do.
Villella's manager, Marcia Preiss,
put it best in her assesment of Villella
the dancer. "Now he doesn't have to
worry about technique. There are no
tricks, it's just pure graceful
movement."
Villella didn't jump 10 feet in the air
or do any of the moves commonly con-
sidered to be mortally impossible -
things he was once famous for. What he
did was to deliver a study in grace and
beauty in ballet that was tree from the
constraints of less experienced dan-
cers. It was, in essence, pure dance.
Paula Manso de Sousa, on the other
hand, dazzled the crowd with his
supreme agility and exciting dance. He
did unmistakeably jump up 10 feet
during his performance of Tarantella.
Either modesty or jealousy would not
permit Villella to disclose whether he or
his current protege was the better
Tarantella. Villella premiered that par-
ticular piece with the New York City
Ballet in 1964.
Manso de Sousa considers himself
priviledged to be working with a man
famous for his role in Tarentella, but
he said that, asa practice, Villella is not
one to mince words during a rehearsal.
"The first time you try something, he
likes to see it right," Manso de Sousa
said. "Then after you've done it once or
twice, he wants it clear. The third or
fourth time, he wants it perfect."
And Villella's background in Taren-
tella seems to have paid off for these
. See VILLELLA, Page 16

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