High Lonesome

The afternoon’s two pieces from the company repertory, George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and Choo-San Goh’s Fives serve as reminders that some rules are to be broken. In Fives, it’s the rule that dancing must be set to music, for some of the most interesting passages come early in the piece when the ten ballerinas have nothing to sync with but themselves and their own breathing. Similarly, Balanchine achieves some stunning effects even when his dancers are motionless, in preparation. Jason Hartley’s dives to the floor in the “Melancholic” variation belie the truism that ballet is about pretending that gravity doesn’t exist, and Jared Nelson gives us a buttery-smooth “Phlegmatic” variation.

Hartley’s floor-tumbling prowess also works well for him in Trey McIntyre’s semi-autobiographical High Lonesome, set to music by Beck, a series of sketches of family dysfunction. Jade Payette, in the kid sister role, catches some serious air.

  • High Lonesome, Washington Ballet, Washington