Review Roundup: Ballet San Jose’s “Don Quixote”

Ballet San Jose Soloist Junna Ige as Kitri. Photo by Robert Shomler.

Ballet San Jose Soloist Junna Ige as Kitri. Photo by Robert Shomler.

Ballet San Jose’s company premiere of Don Quixote may be over, but the reviews are rolling in! We had such a wonderful run last weekend of ballet’s original romantic comedy that even now we can still hardly believe it’s over! Take a look at what some of the critics around the Bay Area have said about this production of Don Quixote (staged by Ballet SJ Artistic Advisor Wes Chapman), our special guest artist José Manuel Carreño, and our fantastic company.

Writing for the San Jose Mercury News, dance correspondent Rita Felciano noted:

What a fabulous idea for Ballet San Jose to start its current season with an inviting “Don Quixote”…For comedy in ballet — it’s a rarity in any period — you need performers who can act as well as dance. Ballet San Jose has a long tradition of cultivating these twin qualities in its ranks.

Of the dashing José Manuel Carreño, who danced the role of Basilio, Ms. Felciano also wrote:

The handsome Carreño…impressed with his assurance. Rock solid in the one-handed lifts, he turns beautifully and partnered [Soloist Junna] Ige securely. To see him drop her from an overhead lift into a fish dive was breathtaking.

International Ballet Star José Manuel Carreño and Ballet San Jose Soloist Junna Ige as Basilio and Kitri. Photo by Robert Shomler.

International ballet star José Manuel Carreño and Ballet San Jose Soloist Junna Ige as Basilio and Kitri. Photo by Robert Shomler.

Heather Desaulniers of Critical Dance wrote:

No matter which company is presenting it, “Don Quixote” is not my favorite full-length narrative ballet…That being said, even I can admit when a good version of “Don Quixote” comes along, as was the case with Ballet San Jose’s company premiere (staged by Wes Chapman after Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky). The story, as always, still had…inherent issues, but the performances, choreography and design were delightful.

…At this performance, soloist Junna Ige danced the role of Kitri, and her first solo was the stuff ballet dreams are made of. Ige has the technical chops for this demanding role, yet her commitment to artistry was the shining star.

Mary Ellen Hunt of the San Francisco Chronicle called Ballet SJ’s Don Quixote a “solid showcase,” stating:

As the crisp, elegant street dancer Mercedes, Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun almost bourréed away with every scene she appeared in, flashing coquettish glances at matador Rudy Candia. In the second act, a gamine Maria Jacobs-Yu was particularly polished as Cupid, and Karen Gabay made a brief, welcome foray atop a table as the feisty barmaid. Elsewhere, the comic byplay between Anton Pankevitch as Kitri’s father and Maximo Califano as her would-be suitor added bubbles of hilarity to an effervescent evening.

Ballet San Jose Soloist Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun as Mercedes in the company premiere of "Don Quixote." Photo by Robert Shomler.

Ballet San Jose Soloist Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun as Mercedes. Photo by Robert Shomler.

Blogger Paul Myrvold described our Don Quixote as “an eye-popping tour de force, a rousing, entertaining exhibition of classical prowess that garnered ovation after ovation throughout the evening.” He went on to say:

And it is a major delight to have the ballet orchestra back in the house. To have the power of masterful musicians guided by the sure hand of conductor George Daugherty supporting the onstage action moment to moment is exhilarating. To have the orchestra suspend a moment in total coordination with the dancers is to know performance art at its finest.

For DanceTabs, Toba Singer wrote:

The progress this company has made in the last two years is registered by the work of the corps de ballet, especially the men who dance the Toreadors…The overall spirit is vivacious, the ensemble committed, on task and fully present. As this company moves along its new trajectory, with Messrs. Chapman and Rodríguez at the helm, there is every reason to believe that its partnership with ABT will be celebrated, and its performances warmly received by San José audiences.

A big thank you to all who attended Don Quixote last weekend — especially to those of you who gave us your feedback on Facebook, Twitter, and at the theater. This was just the start of a fantastic lineup for the rest of our 2013 Repertory Season, and we can’t wait to have you all back at the CPA next month (March 22 – 24) for our second program of Neoclassical Masters. Tickets are on sale now! Visit or call (408) 288-2800 to buy tickets to another fantastic program featuring the dancers you watched and loved in Don Quixote.

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3 thoughts on “Review Roundup: Ballet San Jose’s “Don Quixote”

  1. […] the dazzling company premiere of Don Quixote, Ballet San Jose is gearing up for an awesome mixed repertory program in March. In preparation for […]

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