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Proteges III at Kennedy Center

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This is set to happen next week. Four top-flight national ballet academies to perform, including one from Japan (New National Dance Theater of Tokyo):


I hope that the Japanese contingent is OK and that they are still planning to come to Washington next week. My thoughts are with all of them.

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Did anybody else go? I went to the Friday opener and will go again today at 1:30pm.

In a nutshell, I LOVED IT!!! All four contingents (Bolshoi-Moscow acad, Japan-NNTB, Argentina-Bocca school & Denmark-RDB school) performed interesting and beautiful ballets...although Argentina's perhaps went on a little too long.

I'm having a hard time deciding if the Danes' or the Russians' presentation was best, they were both spectacular. The Danes' B is for Bournonville -- a fanciful pastiche of B'ville highlights --revealed some amazing up-and-coming dancers AND it was a delight to discover the late-Lavrovsky (1967) neo-classical treasure, Prokofiev Classical Symphony, created for the Moscow academy shortly before the choreographer's death. I'll cite names after I (hopefully) sort them out at today's show...as the playbill doesn't seem to have them in order. One of the solo couples was extraordinary but I need names. :)

There was huge applause for Japan's New National Theater Ballet Academy after their performance of Asami Maki's neo-classical Triptych. This edition of Proteges is dedicated to the people of Japan, as per a playbill insert.

Bravi Tutti!

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I went back to the KennCen for the closing Proteges III yesterday and was able to obtain a bit of confirmation on who danced specific segments of the ballets, as the playbill was sketchy, particularly about the Bolshoi soloists.

While all young dancers from all 4 academies performed admirably, the standouts in each piece, to me, were:

RDB School: 'B' is for Bournonville: Ida Praetorius and Luke Schauffus (related to the Schauffus?) were beautifully tender in the 3rd Movement (excerpts from Kermesse in Bruges pdd), while blonde Louise Brorsen was sharp in the 1st segment, mostly to Flower Festival excerpts.

New National Theater Ballet School, Japan: Triptyche: guest pro Yuichi Shinomiya was outstanding and, in general, the entire corps was sharp and unified.

Julio Bocca Fdtn. School of the Arts, Argentina: Con Nombre y Apellido: In general, this group was more 'rough around the edges' than the other three, and tended more toward modern dance, BUT the audience went crazy for the great style and musicality of tango soloist William Malpezzi (3rd section).

Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow, Russia: Classical Symphony: Extraordinarily wonderful corps of 8 couples (16 corps dancers) backing 8 superb soloists (3 couples leading the first 3 movements + 2 demi-solo ladies). Tall and super-muscular -- in a nice Vishneva way -- Joy Annabelle Womack (American?) led the 1st movement with brio...but the revelation of the run, to me, was the adorable, gorgeous and perfectly-proportioned beauty who led the 3rd mvment (Gavotte), Nastassia Limenko...impacting on me just as the tiny Natalia Osipova moved me when I saw her at an academy concert at the old Bolshoi in December 2002. Remember the name: Limenko. Also remember her zippy and charismatic partner, Gabe Stone Shayer (also American?), who garnered some of the loudest 'bravos!' of the night with his high jetes. But oh that corps -- each and every one 'To the Manor Born'!

p.s. I am still a bit 'iffy' about the names of the exact soloists for the Bolshoi piece...so let's say that I was wowed by the young Osipova look-alike who led the 3rd mvmt. If someone can confirm that she is indeed Nastassia Limenko, as an usher who followed rehearsals told me, then great. If not, feel free to correct me, please.

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