A sexy, saucy Carmen

By Ellen Dunkel, For The Inquirer

The Pennsylvania Ballet opens its season with the company premiere of Roland Petit’s tale of the Gypsy girl.

There’s sex, jealousy, a wild bar scene – and murder. The dancers smoke on stage, clap rhythmically, snap their fingers to the music, even chant. They wear bright costumes, wigs, and black pointe shoes. The scene changes five times, with many lively corps de ballet dances and a long, seductive pas de deux.

All this in about 45 minutes.

Pennsylvania Ballet opened its season Thursday night with the company premiere of French choreographer Roland Petit’s exuberant Carmen, a welcome addition to the repertoire.

Petit danced the part of Don Jose in 1949, when his company, Les Ballets de Paris, debuted it; later that year, they performed it in Philadelphia. These days, Petit’s Carmen is rarely danced in the United States, but there is a widely available video with Baryshnikov in the male lead.

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