Christian Holder's one-act ballet, "Coup d'Estoc," was the lighthearted centerpiece for the Washington Ballet's program Saturday night at Goucher College. Based on the 18th century novel, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," Mr. Holder's condensed ballet smartly unraveled the complicated plot of genteel seductions and revenge with attention to character.
"Coup d'Estoc" ("Thrust of the Sword") was visually attractive and featured first-rate dancing. Yet there was an annoying abundance of pantomime. While "Coup d'Estoc" needed more than average character work for the audience to understand the mechanisms of the dance's plot, the work felt more acted than danced. Instead of a deeper exploration of character that would naturally occur in a pas de deux, it seemed that whenever John Goding and Julie Miles, or Yan Chen or Francoise Thouveny began a serious interlude, another character made an entrance.