|A magnificent world premiere from Ballet X, The Little Prince
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Jul 15, 2019 10:30am | comments
It was a dark and stormy night the evening of July 11, but those who chose to brave the tropical storm were richly rewarded. BalletX is presenting Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s full-length dance, The Little Prince at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia until July 21. The Little Prince is a world premiere created especially for BalletX and for its dancers.
Antoine Roger, Comte de Saint Exupery (1900-1944), writer, poet, aviator, aristocrat, and war hero was accorded the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre avec Palme. He wrote the novella The Little Prince which was published in 1943 shortly before his death. The novella presents an aviator who crashes in a desert where he meets an extraterrestrial child, a magic snake and learns important life lessons. The story was inspired no doubt by Saint Exupery’s own plane crash in Libya years before in 1935 where a Bedouin saved his life. Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince won The National Book Award and was voted Best Book of the 20th Century in France. Many of our readers no doubt were introduced to this book as children.
The Little Prince by choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is as presented by BalletX, a magnificent full-evening ballet. Every dancer shone in their role, with Stanley Glover as The Snake especially outstanding. To see Stanley Glover dance in this role is to see greatness on the stage. If genetic material from Fred Astaire and Bob Fosse were magically spliced by the Goddess Isis and tossed upon the waters near Chicago, it would produce a genius like Stanley Glover. Costume designer Danielle Truss created a sensuous, incomparable costume for Mr. Glover, which served to heighten our optical pleasure whenever he appeared on stage. Roderick Phifer was unforgettable as The Little Prince. He was another dancer one could not look away from even for a second. Zachary Kapeluck was the handsome, dashing Aviator. Exhibiting effortless grace with style to burn, he was an essential Aviator. In addition to these three dynamic artists, were Francesca Forcella as The Rose and Richard Villaverde as The Fox. Ms. Forcella as The Rose delivered a riveting performance of grace and beauty. Her cloche appeared to magically appear as if it were an especially enchanted Portuguese Man-of-War as she floated away to her exit. Mr. Villaverde as The Fox was poetry in motion as he taught the extraterrestrial child an important lesson, “to see beneath the surface of things,” to see with one’s heart, not merely with one’s eyes. The remaining dancers in the company provided essential and compelling work as The King, The Drunk, airplane parts, rose bushes, and, at one point, using the airplane parts cunningly to resemble a carnivorous flower encapsulating The Aviator. Bravos go to Set Designers Matt Saunders and Petra Floyd for this and many other effects. Peter Salem was Composer and Musician, often within sight of the audience.
The Little Prince is a grand story of gay-infused interspecies love among a sexually enchanted snake, an extraterrestrial, and a human aviator. When The Aviator is about to leave, The Little Prince undertakes a transformation, not unlike Isolde, who becomes one with the universe of semen, ghee, and stars when her beloved Tristan shuffles off his mortal coil. The Little Prince is a must-see artwork which will help you see with your heart as well as with your eyes.
The Little Prince, a full-evening ballet by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is presented by BalletX at The Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, until July 21. For further information and to purchase tickets, visit www.wilmatheater.org or www.balletx.org .