Balletto di Toscana's "Mediterranea" at The Orange County Center for the Performing Arts is a rich tapestry of music and dance from all of the lands of the Mediterranean. The music medley of Paride Bonetta and Mauro Bigonzetti features selection of Marin Marais, Palestrina's "Kyrie" from "The Missa Brevis" and songs as disparate as ancient Greek to Turkey, Spain, France, and Tunisia. The recorded music is interwoven with sounds of the sea and other electronic effects to fuse it into one. Bigonzetti's choreography is more modern than classical. We have pounding rhythms that capture the heat and fiery passion, but the movement generally lacks the graceful carriage of classical ballet. Frequently we're left with flailing arms and legs that lack cohesion and real movement. When one thinks of repetition, Philip Glass comes to mind. "Glass Pieces" moved in small incremental steps, in a definite direction, but "Mediterranea" frequently was merely repetitious, without direction. It's very athletic, with a lot of jumps, twirls, and couples swinging each other in various directions with flying kicks, but there are none of the soaring leaps that define first rate ballet. Rather than a cohesive unit of interwoven movement, we're too often left with virtuosic exhibitionism, that, while impressive, lacks purpose. "Mediterranea" certainly has it's moments. There is a beautiful pas de deux toward the end, and some excellent ensemble work. It's mystical and rhythmic, with a definite Turkish flavor that certainly captures the exoticism of "Mediterranea" by Balletto di Toscana at The Orange County Center for the Performing Arts.


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 Last UpdatedFriday, April 17, 1998 by Paul Berenson