|Erica Lall and Garegin Pogossian|
|Rachelle di Stasio and Ilya Kolotov|
We enjoy watching young ballet dancers on the cusp of a professional career as much as hearing young opera singers in the same position. Last night at the wonderful Schimmel Center at Pace University we were privileged to see some of the stars of tomorrow. Undoubtedly you will see some of them perform in the near future with American Ballet Theater. The starting point for dancers is far younger than that for opera singers. These talented youngsters are all under 20 years of age.
But just observe how well they handled Act I of Marius Petipa's Le Corsaire in a version by Anna-Marie Holmes! We first caught sight of the elegantly lanky Ilya Kolotov in the role of Lankendem, the slave trader. If there is anyone in this group better suited to the role of danseur noble we would be surprised. He has an exceptional line and was effective in partnering.
Kudos to Rinaldo Venuti who mastered the difficult choreography of the role of Ali the slave, minus the feathered headband. He is slight of build and talented in musicality, with the requisite deftness of phrasing. His rubato led to some breath holding on our part.
Hanna Bass excelled as Gulnare and Breanne Granlund as Medora. The three Odalisques, Wanyue Qiao, Clara Superfine, and Rachelle di Stasio were perfectly in unison.
We consider ourselves well acquainted with Antony Tudor's choreography but somehow missed Little Improvisations. The petite and playful Erica Lall had a wonderful time teasing her partner Garegin Pogossian and making interesting use of a piece of fabric. We would happily see it again.
Excerpts from Merce Cunningham's Duets was staged by Patricia Lent to some "music" by John Cage and showed what the company can do with more modern material.
The program ended with another modern piece that was far more to our liking--Hush with choreography by Stephen Mills to music by Philip Glass. It was here that we witnessed four inspired partnerships: the long-limbed Mr. Kolotov paired well with Ms. di Stasio; Ms. Lall again danced with Mr. Pogossian; Mr. Venuti performed with Ms. Granlund and Tyler Maloney partnered the lovely Ms. Bass. The simple blue leotards were simply effective, courtesy of Ballet Austin and we were tempted to rename the ballet Rhapsody in Blue. It is a piece we'd never seen before and it left us with a fine impression of this young company.
You have two more opportunities to see them perform--today there are two performances, matinée and evening. Seize the opportunity!
(c) meche kroop