MARCH 24, 1997

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Entertainment

PNB dancers show range and versatility in 'Les Biches'

Les Biches by Deborah Stone
PNB's recent production was a true showcase of the company's artistic and technical range and versatility. It included a world premiere of the much-anticipated Les Biches, a humorous tongue-in-cheek ballet choreographed by modern dance renegade Mark Dendy.
   The piece is set in a chic art deco home where a fashionable cocktail party is taking place and centers on the hostess and the antics of her various guests, including a group of gay musclemen who spend time flexing and posing, a lesbian couple, a dominatrix wielding a whip, an English couple in which the "she" is actually a "he," and several sweet maidens in virginal white. The scene is all very campy and the dancers seem to be having fun with their character parodies. Of particular note were Amy Rose, as the "hostess with the mostest" who strutted and slinked around the stage, and the long-legged Ariana Lallone as the electrifying dominatrix in black leather.
   PNB also presented the lyrical and elegant ballet Kammer-Garten Tanze, with music by Mozart, a good opening piece that was all light and lines, and Ballanchine's Western Symphony, a series of dances featuring cowboys and saloon gals that captured the sentiment of the Old West.
   The highlight of the evening that brought the audience to their feet with a thunderous ovations was Jardi Tancat. The piece, which premiered at PNB last year, is based on Catalonian Folk tales. The dancers, in their bare feet, convey the hardships of the peasants and their enduring spirit to live. It is melancholy and full of soul, and PNB's dancers give it an emotional intensity.
   The remainder of PNB's season includes the premiere of Lambarena with Balanchine's Mozartina and Voluntaries, opening April 8th, followed by the season's finale, A Midsummer Night's Dream, beginning May 27th. For ticket information, call 292-ARTS.