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WB Studio Company Perf'sBlack Rock Center, 4/26/09

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#1 Mike Gunther

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 01:32 PM

I caught the WB Studio Company's Sun. Matinee at the Black Rock Center For The Arts in Germantown, MD. For those that aren't familiar with them, the WB Studio Company is a pre-professional "bridge" to the full Washington Ballet that supplies dancers to WB performances and also puts on its own performances, as they did this weekend. The program:

Zzzap!, a silly new ballet by Brian Reeder that reimagines ballet school as a superhero training facility (!?)
-- Carolina Neves, Andile Ndlovu, Alexandra Pera, Christina Schifano, Kirsten Wicklund
PDD from Don Q
-- Yuka Oyoshi, Kensuke Yorozu
PDD from Le Corsaire
-- Alexandra Pera, Andile Ndlovu
Who Cares? (Balanchine/Gershwin)
-- Jasmin Dwyer, Carolina Neves, Yuka Oyoshi, Kensuke Yorozu

The performance I saw on Sunday was fine. I was impressed by their technical preparation and execution, as well as their character work, which I guess is no surprise since these folks have already won/placed in numerous competitions just to get to this point in their careers. Some need to work on their "stage smiles," while others got it just right.

They are dancing the same program (alternating roles) next week in DC, well worth seeing imho. I left with a big "non-stage" smile on my face.

#2 Natalia


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Posted 30 April 2009 - 01:49 AM

I went to last night's opener at the Washington Ballet School's England Studio. You are right, Mike -- delightful program. The entire ensemble is very energetic and talented but there were obvious stand-outs, perhaps none more so than an amazing young South African lad named Andile Ndlovu who drove the audience crazy with glee as Ali in the Le Corsaire pdd, performing three consecutive rivoltade leaps during the coda. In truth, I have not seen such a powerfully sleek interpretation of the role since Farouk Ruzimatov's early years. Ndlovu possesses extraordinary ballon but much more -- elegance, beautifully-proportioned physique and that extra charismatic 'something'...that je ne sais quois. Not 'bulky' like Matvienko; not 'elfin' like Sarafanov; just right! In a Q&A session during a pause in the program, he explained how he switched from Latin Ballroom dancing to ballet after seeing a film of Nureyev. How appropriate.

Also very impressive were Yuka Oyoshi & Kensuke Yorozu in the DonQ pdd; both have exquisite line and strength to spare. Ms Oyoshi's eyes 'sing,' if you can picture such a thing! Alexandra Pera was a fine Medora opposite Ndlovu's Ali but she really came into her own when brilliantly essaying the ultra-difficult 3rd female solo of Balanchine's Who Cares? Suite.

I could have done without Zzzzap! though most in the audience loved it and it had some cute surprises that I will not reveal, to not spoil it for others. Thanks for explaining the story, Mike. I saw dancing superheroes being examined by a woman in a doctor's white jacket and thought "A hospital for cartoon characters?"

One of the best things about these Studio performances is the intimacy of the setting -- up-close-and-personal. My husband & I sat in the front row, literally tucking-in our legs whenever Ndlovu jete'ed past us. :(

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