'Peter Pan' sends audience soaring


POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Members of Ballet Hawaii and their guest artists twirled, whirled, leaped and, yes, flew about the stage in an incredible adaptation of the classic story “;Peter Pan,”; complete with sword-fighting pirates, Indian maidens, comical lost boys and everyone's favorite feisty fairy.

This production, over the weekend at the Blaisdell Center Concert Hall, was nothing short of “;en pointe.”; Exquisite technique and flawless choreography by Washington Ballet's artistic director Septime Webre created a magical ballet that was not to be missed.

Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan, but not everyone has seen the role played with the perfection of Cincinnati Ballet's Cervillo Amador, who dominated the stage from his first entrance, wowing the audience with four perfectly executed pirouettes followed by a seamless soar into the sky. After all, Peter Pan just wouldn't be Peter Pan if he couldn't fly.

As expected, Amador was not the only dancer given wings for this production. Janessa Touchet, Kyle McCraw and Jacob Ly got their dose of pixie dust as well. How else would Wendy, John and Michael make it to Neverland?

While these four may have been the only ones to fly onstage, no pixie dust or fancy wires were needed to send the hearts of the audience soaring through the roof.

As the Darling nursery faded into the distance and only an expanse of clouds and stars could be seen, a soft ripple of applause danced through the audience.

Of course, Neverland isn't all fun and games. Captain Hook and his band of pirates run rampant about the seas.

While they might be the antagonists in J.M. Barre's story, they were certainly a favorite for this audience. A combination of contemporary choreography and side-splitting antics made them a hard group to hate.

They ignited cheering and applause as they whirled about the stage, executing everything from intricate petite allegro to leaps that seemed to leave them in the air longer than humanly possible.

There was also a surprisingly graceful pirate pas de deux in which pirates paired with each other. Who would have thought pirates tiptoeing about the stage could be so hilarious?

Their delightful performance was interrupted all too soon as they scurried in fear at the sound of the dreaded tick-tocking crocodile played by Derek Daniels. This hip-hopping, tambourine-playing crocodile gave the pirates a run for their money.

Audience members screamed and laughed as he moonwalked — in homage to that other Neverland denizen — his way across the stage in search of his next meal.

Once again, Ballet Hawaii did not disappoint. While there were some moments when dancers' timing was slightly off, the overall production was beyond magical. Audience members trickled from the theater, the child within shining just a little brighter.