Last weekend my school had the amazing opportunity to watch Boca Ballet's La Bayadere featuring Gillian Murphy as Nikiya, Jose Manuel Carreno as Solor, Sarah Smith as Gamzatti, and Daniel Ulbricht as the Bronze Idol. Before the show I realized that this was by no means a professional performance. It was all non-profit and had many volunteers (especially parents) to help with the set, costumes, and even acting onstage. I thought they had an amazing production; the sets and costumes were stunning and looked very real (almost too much like Boca Raton in a way). It was nothing like POB's version of course (which by the way costs $5M), but it was definitely extravagant and well-crafted. I was amazed (especially in the final scene with the earthquake).
It was a very good performance for the kids that train at the school, however I don't think it show-cased them well enough. I don't care much for Gillian Murphy, so I wasn't surprised that I didn't like her dancing. I must admit though, I enjoyed her artistry, especially in her snake variation. She has beautiful feet, but they look too long in those Gaynors! Don't get me wrong, Gaynors look beautiful on some dancers (like Alina Cojocaru and Natalia Osipova), but not on Murphy. They elongated her feet so much that her feet looked huge. I thought she looked best when she wasn't wearing a tutu. Unfortunately I don't care much for Jose Manuel Carreno either, but yes, those Cubans can turn. He looked too small for Murphy. Sarah Smith had a beautiful presence onstage, but Gamzatti was not her cup of tea.
Now onto my favorite person in this producton. Daniel Ulbricht. For those of you who don't know that name, watch this video NOW.
He was the most amazing Bronze Idol EVER. No joke. (I think I may have peed my pants a little). Not only were his tricks amazing, but the strength and character were stunning. Everything was done so technically precise. He was my favorite part of the entire show.
My friend and I managed to sneak backstage when I saw a door open very quickly. We waited for what seemed like hours, but we waited. My friend is a huge Gillian Murphy fan, so he was searching for her. I was pacing all over trying to find Ulbricht (and I had no idea what he looked like). Carreno came out and was flooded by enthusiastic fans... we couldn't manage to get a photo. We started to leave and took the back exit, and then we saw him. Wooooo!!!! We waited for him to get off the phone, and then we asked for a photo. He is so awesome and he brought us back inside to the stage for better lighting. He made sure we took two shots and that the pictures came out good. He was so nice and funny!