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AFA and Houston Ballet Academy

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I went to the American Festival for the Arts concert tonight, which featured works composed by students ranging from the ages of 16 to 19 and also 5 "collaboration" ballets with students from HBA (sorry, I refuse to call it Ben Stevenson Academy; it seems kind of silly to me...). You can read about it in Wednesday, July 16's links.

I was suprised by the amount of talent among these teenagers. I heard some very good pieces of music, particularly a trombone and piano duet by Meghan Handley and a piano suite by Felipe Ruiz.

After the intermission came the ballets. The first one called String Quintet in D Minor, composer Jordan Montgomery and choreographer Peter Zweifel (possibly related to HB corps dancer Ingrid Zweifel), was an impressive neoclassical piece. This one was my favorite out of all five and used the most ballet vocabulary, and I think Zweifel is a promising choreographer. It might have been a bit too "Balanchinian" at some parts, but overall, it had a nice effect. The ballet titled "Intimacy"-- the one with the students featured in the Chronicle-- was very, um, contemporary. Trying to keep myself from saying anything discouraging since these are amateur choreographers and composers. :dry: I enjoyed the music for the next ballet, "Aux Yeux de Désir," which was a lovely jazz composition. Choreography, on the other hand, didn't do it justice. The last ballet, Revision L: Dance!, was an actual collaboration, with real interaction between the choregrapher and composer, unlike the other ones when someone just composed a piece of music and handed it over. It pays off, IMO. Many of the dancers were wonderful to watch, although I wish this event could have been held in a better theater since there was way too much clunking of pointe shoes. Some of them looked very young, even though they all seemed to be on the same level of dancing.

This is such a terrific opportunity for inspiring choreographers, composers, musicians, and dancers, and they said the only other place this happens in the States is Julliard. Kudos to this organization! :thumbsup:

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