Love. Betrayal. More love. Death. Redemption. More death.
No, I’m not previewing a new Shonda Rhimes show for #TGIT, though this could be. Rather, I’m whetting your appetite for King Arthur’s Camelot, the full-length dance production put on by the Cincinnati Ballet.
In 2014, if you recall, that’s when this new ballet first premiered, with choreography by Victoria Morgan and an original music composition by Canadian composer John Estacio. Back then, it was called "groundbreaking." And guess what? It still is.
It’s groundbreaking because, after sitting through Camelot, you’ll think you just witnessed a live Broadway-esque production a la The Lion King. Cincinnati Ballet does not not hold back: There’s eerie & powerful projections, a real-life looking horse (yes, really), and, of course, the magnificent Maestro Carmen DeLeone to lead us with the sound effects.
Here’s the Sparknotes version. King Arthur falls in love with & marries a girl. Let’s call her Guinevere. All is hunky dory in the land. That is, until a new hunk arrives. Let’s call him Lancelot. And no, it's not the same Sir Lancelot from The Vampire Diaries. (Oh wait, there are no Lancelots on The Vampire Diaries.) Moving on...
Enter a big RUH ROH moment. The totally expected happens. Lancelot and Guinevere get it on. It’s fiery. It’s hot. It’ll make you wish you could trade places and be either Lancelot or Guinevere. But the whole sleeping with another man’s wife thing… well, it turns out that it was just as not cool back then as it is now. Actually, more so.
To the flames Guinevere must go. But Arthur, being the good, lead-with-integrity guy that he is doesn’t want to see his love burned at the stake. It causes some upheaval and plenty of inner turmoil + lots of blood and gore. Bye, Arthur. Bye, Lancelot. Bye, evil Mordred. The end.
Cervilio Amador as Arthur is perfect. Seriously, it could not be a better match. He brings a childlike innocence and playfulness to his character but also has the experience and maturity to fully realize the agony of his position (i.e. the betrayed husband/ leader of the free world(-ish).
Chisako Oga as Guinevere is brilliant. New to the company this year, she has shined in just about every role thrown at her, and this is no different. Even though Oga is only 20, she has such command of her technique that you wouldn’t be able to tell she's still a full year away from drinking the night away at Righteous Room.
Patric Palkens as Lancelot is divine. I mean, that guy looks like he’s straight outta some Disney fairytale as a knight. And here, he plays one. Anytime the choreography is solely designed for Palkens, you best keep your eyes on him. His strength as a dancer… Those jumps… I just want to rewind and watch ‘em on a loop.
Rodrigo Almarales as Mordred is dynamite. If I didn’t love Almarales so much as a dancer, I’d take up the campaign to get him out to Hollywood and act. His ability to embody a character through movement is unlike anyone I’ve seen. In this case, he’s the evil guy we can’t help but love. And I’m the number one member of his fan club.
Dear Cincy ladies, you can have Arthur and Lancelot. I call dibs on Mordred!
THE REASON YOU SHOULD GO
Well, I’m pretty sure I just gave you plenty. Weren’t you reading? The test on my article will be administered at 5pm, sharp.
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Cincinnati Ballet brings King Arthur’s Camelot to the stage this Valentine’s Day weekend. Performances run February 10-12 at the Aronoff Center.