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The ballet makes for entertaining evening

Daily Planet Wire Service
Thursday October 17, 2002

The Oakland Ballet’s program 2, featuring two world premieres and two company premieres, made for an entertaining evening of dance last weekend at Oakland's opulent Paramount Theatre. Of the four pieces, the most successful were Agnes de Mille's “Three Virgins and a Devil” and Mexican choreographer Gloria Contreras’ “Opus 45.” 

Continuing its tradition of historically reviving works of merit, the Oakland Ballet introduced the comic “Three Virgins'” to its repertoire, complete with original costumes and sets, and with restoration works by costumer Ginger Shane and set designer David Guthrie. Gabriel Williams was an excellent devil, both dancing and acting, and the virgins – Yoira Equivel-Brito, Erin Yarbrough and guest artist Tiekka Schofield – assimilated the de Mille style beautifully. 

Contreras’ “Opus 45” is a pas de deux danced by Williams and Schofield. This proved a great pairing of dancers and their performance was mesmerizing. 

The world premieres were not as engaging. The evening opened with “Dei Sogni Piacevoli (Of Pleasant Dreams).” The large work for 10 dancers is by Luc de Lairesse, Oakland's ballet master in chief. Dimly lit, it was difficult to tell exactly what the dancers were doing. 

The final dance, Dwight Rhoden's “Glory Fugue,” is an athletic and abstract ballet set to a pastiche of soul and classical music played at ear-splitting volume which detracted from the performance.