Richmond Ballet’s pairing of George Balanchine’s “Serenade” and Ma Cong’s one-act “Firebird” encapsulates the beauty and quintessential oddness of ballet. The drama and simplicity of “Serenade’s” opening startled the audience into eager applause. The Richmond Ballet dancers built a community before our eyes and graciously welcomed us in. As the dance shifted through its four sections with many entrances and exits and varying numbers, I felt sad to see the corps go and a little thrill when they returned. This is not to dismiss the performance of accomplished soloists, guest artist Kristina Kadashevych in particular dancing with assurance the combination of speed and lushness Balanchine technique demands.
Cody Beaton in “Firebird” by Ma Cong. Photograph by Sarah Ferguson