By Logan A. White
An evening of symphonic interpretation and voyage, the translation of iconic music into motion — Carolina Ballet’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” performed Thursday night at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, 2 E South Street, Raleigh, is the epitome of variety and class.
Consisting of four ballets, the performance showcased all facets of the company, from the classical to the swanky. The evening began with “Serenata,” a light and cheerful piece set to the music of Antonin Dvorák. Nine couples took the stage with fluid, effortless grace, executing daring lifts and delicate steps that appeared to defy gravity with ease. Choreographed by artistic director Robert Weiss, “Serenata” accents both the emphatic and syncopated melodies in the music, a combination of lyrical explosion and freedom.
In contrast to the carefree air set by “Serenata,” the following dance, “Courtly Manners,” has a more structured feel but retains all of its exuberance. Like its title, the piece is regal, reminiscent of traditional court dances. Solely composed of corps de ballet members, the dance featured incredible formations, seeming exact and orderly one moment and shifting into something completely new in the blink of an eye. Transitioning smoothly from a grand, formal entrance to a slower second movement to a final burst of majestic motion, Courtly Manners is the portrait of royal poise and flamboyance.