The company’s debut program focused on works by George Balanchine – the founder of the City Ballet, whose repertoire still dominates that of Miami City – but also included Mr. Gamonet’s “Transtangos,” which became the company’s signature.
March 27, 2021, 10:33 p.m. ET
Mr. Gamonet was prolific, creating several ballets each season. He described himself as a neoclassical choreographer who was indebted to Balanchine, but also to the theatrics of his parents. His offer ranged from remakes of Spanish classics such as “Paquita” and “Carmen” to original pieces by Bach and swing music in “Big Band Supermegatroid”.
In a 1989 Washington Post review, Alan M. Kriegsman wrote that Mr. Gamonet’s works showed “a talent full of flair and flavor and an instinctive sense of dance rhetoric, but also, not unexpectedly, some compositional flaws and immaturity. ”
Music always came first for Mr. Gamonet, with careful study of the score. “Two in the morning,” recalled Mr. Mursuli, “and he would still be preparing and making notes on the score with his headphones on.”
Ballerina Iliana Lopez, who played many roles in Mr. Gamonet’s plays for Miami City, said, “He came with the choreography in mind,” adding, “He made me feel beautiful and free in his work, and not every choreographer can do that. “
During rehearsal and classes, Mr. Gamonet was often weird, nicknamed everyone, but he expected the dancers to work as hard as he did. “He always said, ‘Nobody’s hand is tied to the bar,'” said Mr. Mursuli. “If you didn’t want to work hard, you could go.” But, he added, Mr. Gamonet was also generous: “I can’t tell you how many times he has helped dancers who have no money.”
In 2000, Mr. Gamonet’s position with the Miami City Ballet was eliminated. From 2004 to 2009 he ran his own company in Miami, Ballet Gamonet. At the Ballet Nacional del Peru, he revived his earlier works and created new ones, including a full-length “Romeo and Juliet” in 2019.