'The Lottery' proves a lucky ticket for Ballet West

By Heather Hayes

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Nov. 5 2012 11:00 a.m. MST

So, without missing a beat, Bennett put into play what she and the rest of the cast had rehearsed in the event that they became the Chosen One. Suddenly an outcast, even turned on by her husband (expertly played by soloist Adrian Fry, whose style and strength make him one to watch), Bennett embarks on a dance of death much like Vaslav Nijinsky’s “Glorification of the Chosen One” section in “The Rite of Spring.” The music likewise morphs into a tribal, dissonant, Stravinsky-esque feel.

Bennett, a towering, regal perfectionist, was now challenged with instinctive, convulsive, writhing movement — like a trapped and terrified animal. It’s a long and demanding solo, especially considering she didn’t know whether she’d be the one doing it. And the movement is foreign to her long, elegant bearing. Bennett’s acting chops are finely tuned; the emotion was there.

In a final flash, the dancers reach for stones and propel their arms toward her. Then, in decisive punctuation, a storm of stones falls from overhead and the curtain drops.

“The Lottery” is an absolute thrill-ride for audiences and dancers alike. Truthfully, it’s the concept that drives the piece, but that’s not to say there aren’t some engaging choreographic moments: like the wrenching pas de deux between Emily Adams and Christopher Ruud, where, at one point, he whirls her with such fluidity it was as if the floor had turned to ice. But it’s hands-down the very real drama that makes this work a winner.

Finally, a repeat performance of Nicolo Fonte’s abstract and compelling “Bolero” rounded out the evening. The company performed the work a week ago during its annual gala, and the piece lived up to earlier admiring reviews. However, the all-star cast, with muscle and grace on full display, differed from last week with Easton Smith and (again) Bennett at the helm — it really was her big night, as luck would have it.

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