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Connecticut Ballet

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Meant to post immediately after performance, but couldn’t get to it…

Connecticut Ballet presented 4 premieres at Riverfront Recapture in Hartford, an open air theater on the banks of the Connecticut River.

It is wonderful to have a free performance, but this venue has very steep seating for the audience, with reserved seating of folding beach chairs for donors, which were graciously opened up to us hoi palloi when the donors didn’t fill them… however several of us had trouble with them sliding down the hill at inopportune moments.

Didn’t know what to expect and had invited several dance students with their parents to attend. I had been to the showing at the Connecticut Science Museum earlier, which had previewed a little of the evening’s work… but having seen that, hadn’t been expecting the date night fare that was offered… It was good, and very appropriate for the crowd at Riverfront, but less so for the kids I brought with. Live & learn.

Let’s see what I can recall without aid of a program:

1st Premiere by Mitzi Adams (title?)… charming vaguely Fosse-esque/musical theater through modern dancer’s lens brio trio… danced in heels & hats, two girls & a man… and ensuing triangle… “girls in their summer dresses”… nice to open with after the free ballroom lesson. I’m not doing it justice, but it was interrupted about a third of a way into it by very striking natural lighting effects… and we all rushed under the canopy to admire the rainbow. My students: “I didn’t know ballet could be done in heels!?”, so I told them ballet started in heels and it was perhaps a hundred years before they tried dancing ballet without heels. (yes, I needed a history book handy just then, but no luck). It was well danced. Music was 1930s? One girl's eyes widened as she recognized Betty Boop's theme, but now I can’t remember… was it Gershwin, was it Ragtime? Lost to me now.

Next was the only piece in pointe shoes…. called something like “Old Fashioned Ballet”… by former Armitage & Lines dancer Brian Carey Chung… which showed Armitage & Alonso King’s influence (off-center-ish stuff & some nice lines, respectively)… costumed in modified baroque, reminded me of a youtube video I can’t seem to call up of modern-cross-over baroque dance.. … with the side padded overskirts for the girls but no underskirt so completely exposed legs… it was a little risqué for some of the more hyper-sensitive tweens but not explicit… There was a motif of a couple lowering to one knee while holding their jointly clasped hands outstretched in front of them that was rather nice, but mostly it wasn’t balletic nor baroque in aesthetic even though it was on pointe… lots of high extensions suddenly clutched for striking images. Nice for widening the young ones' concept of what ballet might be, as they’d mostly only seen Nutcracker & other 19th century ballets… but don’t think it slayed anyone.

The third piece was very well crafted, and well danced, a love triangle with speaking dancers… I liked it, but not for the under 18s… who didn’t “get” it but pronounced it “inappropriate”. I made no attempt to explain. It was right for the rest of the audience present.

Lucklily the kids & parents all stayed, for the evening concluded with a jewel… I believe it was made by Ted Thomas, but without a program am not sure….

gorgeous costuming, beautiful music, thoroughly enjoyable balletic aesthetic apparently about the joy of dancing to that music… seemed to me like Limon’s “Choreo” re-imagined for a ballet company… This was the piece preview sampled at the Science Center, and it pleased everyone… many spontaneous bravos from what had up to now been a relatively reserved audience… The Tweens danced all the way from the causeway to the parking lot… (my favorite audience “badge of approval”)

Meanwhile, looking forward to the presentation of Coppelia in this Fall at the Bushnell…. Certainly a more family friendly program (wish I had thought this out before: premieres generally are contemporary ballet, and contemporary ballet generally isn’t aimed at kids… and the Riverfront Recapture looks like it’s targeting young professionals more than families…)

If anyone reading this has the details of the titles, choreographers and dancers, please add! Again, my apologies for not posting when the performance was fresher in my memory.

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