A caveat: coming to see the Milwaukee Ballet more or less directly from the Vienna Statsoper's "Coppelia" was a bit like seeing some very expert big league team play, and then going to see the local AA team. The Milwaukee Ballet is very good, no question about it, and they are OUR home team, but it cannot be denied they do not have the flawless polish of a company that is funded to do more than five productions in a season.
That being said, we thouroughly enjoyed the performance. The local paper reviewer suggested that the Corps was the real star of the production, and we tend to agree mostly. The company danced the major production numbers with great precision, verve, and evident enjoyment, and managed Pink's innovative dances quite handily. The principal dancers were also very good, with just a few flaws. We like to sit up on one side, which allows us to see the figures of the dance, but also notice things not meant to be seen--.
The role of Don Quixote is not a big dancing role (he spends a lot of the ballet unconscious except for the "Dream of Dulcinea" scene in the Third Act, but Andre Kasatsky put across the role's pathos with skillful physical acting. Marc Petrocci as Sancho Panza was the hero of the piece: not only did he manage some fine comic dancing, he also managed to haul Kasatsky, who is a head and half taller, across the stage over his shoulder while also encumbered by the Sancho costume, the Don's sword, and a bag of luggage (no donkey in this show--), and not drop anything.
Characters in each of the vignettes were quite good: Jeanette Marie Hanley as Kitri, David Hovhannisyan as Basilio, and Cristian Laverde König as the Toreador danced a good love triangle in the second act, although König (last seen by us in lst season's revival of "Sheherzade") was one of the dancers we noticed make a couple of landings with a rear foot out of line. This was his third night in a row dancing a demanding role, and perhaps he was bit fatigued? Douglas McCubbin and Raven Wales were sultry and slinky as the leaders of the Gypsy band; Diana Stetsura, Jennifer Provins, and Andrea Maciel de Faria, managed equal beauty but distinct styles as the shifting visions of Dulcinea in the dream scene; and Ryan Martin and Luz San Miguel handled the Petipa pas de deux with panache, although Martin also fell out of a turn later in the act--must be something about the "powerful" moves required of a Toreador.
The Milwaukee Ballet continues to grow under Pink's leadership, and we have enjoyed everything we have seen by them very much. We are looking forward to the reaminder of the season.