Dayton, Ohio: Gem City BalletOkay to post about pre-professional co?
Posted 12 October 2005 - 04:49 PM
Gem City Ballet (not affiliated with the company, but take class at the affiliated school) will be performing Sat. Oct 15 at 8:00 pm at Bellbrook HS.
The performance will include "Valse Fantaisie" (Balanchine), "Caprice" (Erin Robbins), "Echoes of Vienna" (Estelle Bean), and "Graduation Ball" (I am not sure of the choreographer.
I am anxiously awaiting this performance, it will be my first time to see a staging of Balanchine works and the resident choreographers always put on magnificent ballets.
Posted 12 October 2005 - 07:19 PM
Balanchine choreographed two completely different versions of Valse Fantaisie to the same music. I wonder which one this will be. Both are well suited to advanced students.
"Grad Ball" (by David Lichine) should also be a great vehicle for the young dancers. It gives opportunities for acting as well as bravura highlights (two girls in a fouette contest).
So, Skittl, as long as this isn't a private or restricted performance, please return with a review!
Posted 13 October 2005 - 04:50 AM
It is indeed a public performance, and for the few members in the dayton area, tickets are available from Pontecorvo Ballet Studios. (Check google or the phone book for contact information.)
Posted 16 October 2005 - 03:54 PM
(The program was open to the general public, but the information is not listed on the internet, it is occasionaly reviewed in local papers, but because these are all students I am not going to list names... which will unfortunately make the review seem somewhat incomplete.)
The program consisted of 4 ballet.
The first shown was "Caprice" choreographed by Erin Robbins. The program states that Caprice was honored at the 2003 RDA festival. This was a short, more contemporary piece choreographed to music by Haydn and Mozart. It was the first piece of the evening and while the dancing was technically good, there appeared to be some nerves amongst the performers- a few of whom were in their first company performance. The soloists did not catch my eyes and I found myself watching instead a corps that was very well put together. The principal dancer had a lovely line and looked excellent in her pas de deux, while dancing with the entire group, however, the choreography made her seem lost and as though she was just chasing her partner around. The one male in the performance has improved as a partner and a dancer since last year, but still has a bit of a way to go, both in technique and stage presence.
The second ballet presented was "Echoes of Vienna" choreographed by Estelle Bean. I very much enjoyed the choreography, however my husband said that it seemed to ignore the music completely. He felt that when the music changed tempo the dancing did not and that large beats were sometimes ignored. Once again, I think the corps work was stronger than the soloist work. The corps (of 9) often danced in a block where one line would pick up at a time to join the rest of the group and the timing was perfect. The soloists had 3 adagio sections of developes to the front, side, and back. The balance on most of the girls was somewhat shaky, however, I have seen these girls in practice and it is to be said that they went for beautiful line in a romantic tutu, rather than over the head develope. My main complaint about the piece was the costume, which paired a beautiful black and gold brocade bodice with a romantic tutu of black,yellow and brown, which was distractingly ugly.
The third piece was Balanchine's Valse-Fantaisie (Repetituer Daniel Duell). The piece was danced by 4 females in the corps and a female and male lead. I was completely mesmorized by the way these 6 dancers shined. Every step was quickly and techincally well executed. They were performing as if they were on the stage of Lincoln Center, rather than Bellbrook High School. The choreography (this was my first Balanchine) left me speechless. My husband pointed out to me "That was really good. Every note had a step and it paid attention to the tempo and the accents." I then pointed out to him that this was choreographed by someone who is considered to be the best American choreographer. I don't know how else to describe this piece. The company will be performing "Who Cares" in January and I just cannot wait.
After the intermission, the company performed Graduation Ball. As I said before, the GCB only has 1 male, so a "retired" principal from the company was pulled back in, a young student from the school was asked to perform, and then males were borrowed from various sources including a local performing arts high school, and 2 local universitys.
I was looking forward to this piece, and I found it to be enjoyable but almost to hectic. The headmaster and headmistress (both played by adults, not high school students, although one is a current company member and the other just left last year) offered both superb acting and dancing. All of the girls danced well, but the acting was to over the top. Some degree of exaggeration is needed, but it almost seemed unnecessary.
The divertessements (is that the right word) ranged from very well done, to unnecessary. I greatly enjoyed the head girl's solo and the drummer boy's solo was nice, although the costume a bit silly. The Poet's pas de deux, which was done by a guest artist, was beautiful.
The foutte competition was great, with well executed fouttes that stayed in place. I think the numbers they did ranged from 6 to 8. When they mirror imaged each other, the girl who switched to her left foot did travel quite a bit.
I found the "Circus Act" divertessement to be unenjoyable and not well prepared. They didn't seem to be dancing.
Perhaps the best part of the entire ballet was the character dancing by the headmistress and the entrachet sixes by the guest artist. Amazing! The rest of the men were doing grande echappe (I think that is the word- looks like a frog jump) in the back- a wise choice for dancers who range from no ballet to advanced ballet training.
Thanks for reading my review. It may be a bit futile to post a review without the names, but I would like the dayton area ballet talkers to know about this "gem" of a company, and also to practice being able to review ballets so I can be a more confident poster here at BT.
Posted 16 October 2005 - 05:38 PM
Many thanks for your fine review. I think it's great that students outside SAB get to perform Balanchine, and what a privilege to have Daniel Duell come home to Dayton to stage it.
Posted 16 October 2005 - 06:12 PM
Posted 17 October 2005 - 10:09 AM
(And my usual Old Grump, "shut up and appreciate the art" attitude about audience behavior was lifted, miraculously and without any effort on my part, for both performances.)
Maybe we should have a policy of mentioning at least the lead student dancers, since some will (we hope) go on to professional careers, and it's always nice to be able to say: "I was there when ....".
Posted 17 October 2005 - 05:29 PM
I hope someone higher up will give us a policy statement. In particular, being unpaid, pre-pros, it might be unfair (unkind) to permit negative comments: at this level there is a right to fail in private, and since young people generally have this internet thing mastered, no doubt the performers and their friends will find any mention of them. Of course favorable comments are another matter!
It is great to read reviews like Skittl's, a breath of fresh air and a beam of hope for the art! And I can't wait to read the review of "Who Cares." Skittl, do you know who will set "Who Cares?" It must have been fun for the dancers having Danny Duell, who was a popular star at NYCB not so long ago, prepping them for "Valse Fantasie." "Who Cares" is going to give a lot of dancers a really great opportunity to shine. In four decades of NYCB-going, it is still fresh and a joy to see.
Posted 17 October 2005 - 09:06 PM
drb, on Oct 17 2005, 06:29 PM, said:
Posted 26 October 2005 - 04:30 PM
drb, on Oct 18 2005, 01:29 AM, said:
The studio receptionist told me that Judith Fugate (my apologies if the spelling is incorrect- however this isn't in print, so I'm not sure if a moderator would prefer it not posted) is setting Who Cares. I was able to watch a bit of rehearsal tonight. I can't wait for January.
Posted 26 October 2005 - 05:37 PM
Here is an interview with her not long after she retired from NYCB:
Please keep us informed on how it goes.
Posted 26 October 2005 - 06:14 PM
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