We begin to dread the outcome of this exchange, however, in Possokhov's too-practiced handling and the giddy, carnivallike passage of Matyas Seiber's score. The rape scene that finally erupts, while not as shocking now as it must have been at its premiere, still burns itself irrevocably in the viewer's memory as a rough partnership of lifts and thrusts with a jarring physical climax. The ballet contains a trying amount of stage business, and a divertissement with party entertainers (dressed as fighting cocks) is a heavy-handed bit of symbolism, but Lucarra's dazzling pointe work and nuanced characterization are shattering.
As the Russian Ballerina, Joanna Berman runs away with Antony Tudor's Gala Performance, a parody of the worst stylistic elements in Russian, French, and Italian ballet. Hers is a wickedly funny interpretation with over-the-top, nostril-flaring dramatic notes. The Christopher Bruce piece Sergeant Early's Dream, a series of moving vignettes danced mainly to Irish folk songs, and Jerome Robbins' Glass Pieces, an expertly staged vision of urban chaos, are welcome returns from last season. And in a powerful addition to the repertoire, Stephen Legate, David Palmer, and Guennadi Nedviguine make every unforgivingly quick beat count in Hans Van Manan's angular, six-minute Solo.