A LIVE Benefit Performance: Nijinsky's Last Dance, winner of Washington D.C.'s prestigious Helen Hayes Award for "Outstanding New Play” comes to Coastal Virginia for a rare one-night only hybrid virtual & in-person performance.
Vaslav Nijinsky, one of the greatest male tortured dancers of all time, was discovered at the tender age of 9. As with many child protégées, the pressure of living in a whirlwind of fame and excitement proved too much for the young star. In less than 90 minutes, this play moves in and out of the dark mind of Nijinsky to tell the story of his rise from obscurity to fame as a young dancer with the Russian Ballet; his innovative dance style that changed the face of modern dance; and his ultimate and tragic descent into madness.
Ricardo Melendez is utterly believable as the unstable and slightly crazed Nijinsky.
Creating a sense of incredible vulnerability, he encapsulates the audience as he tumbles back on a journey retelling the colorful tale through the dancer’s eyes.
ABOUT RICARDO MELENDEZ AS NIJINSKY: All of the main players in Nijinsky's life are brought to life by Melendez, with a simple change in stance or voice. It's a script which demands much of its performer - not least the Russian accent - but Melendez rises to the challenge admirably. A former dancer himself, with Alvin Ailey among others, he moves beautifully, albeit in a rather restricted space. Posing to have his picture painted, Melendez strips down to reveal a statuesque body. It is a moving scene which epitomizes Nijinsky's entire personality - well- founded conceit mixed with an almost pathetic vulnerability.
Melendez brilliantly portrays Nijinsky as well as nearly a dozen others who populated the great dancer’s life. The characters include Nijinsky’s lover Sergei Diaghilev, prima ballerina Tamara Karsavina, and artistic champion Auguste Rodin. Through the passionate telling of his own rise and fall, Nijinsky offers his audience a glimpse into a world descending into the chaos of World War I and the challenges facing an artist during this turbulent time.
(Pictured: Ricardo Melendez)
"It is hard to believe that any other actor would have been able to capture as well the essential spark of genius and madness that lived side by side within Nijinsky." -John Porter, NPR
"Nijinsky's Last Dance holds such a sway and power over the audience that you feel you are basking in the heart and soul of Nijinsky.” -Jayne Blanchard, The Washington Times
“Melendez is Nijinsky” -Fest Magazine, Edinburgh Scotland