SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET
June 3, 2012
It is always a pleasure to see the wealth of talent at the School of American Ballet's annual Workshop Performance. Saturday evening's program was no exception and included the younger students, (age11- 15) in Sean Lavery's charmingly danced "Twinkliana." Pianist Alla Reznik played the Mozart variations with verve and precision, giving the exuberant youngsters just the right support. Samuel Akins was the lone male and his solo and pas de deux with Lilia Hamdy was a highlight. Faculty member and former NYCB soloist Katrina Killian lovingly staged and coached the ballet.
After a short pause, "Les Petits Riens,"choreographed by Peter Martins and also danced to Mozart, graced the stage and provided just the right challenges for these eager dancers. Each of the four couples danced with polish and musical clarity which is a hallmark of SAB training. Craig Wasserman led the opening and proved to be an accomplished partner in his duet with Indiana Woodward. Brianna Abruzzo and Sebastien Villarini Velez, and Olivia Bisson and Harrison Coll were equally persuasive in their technique and artistry. They approached each moment with confidence and a fearless abandon. Olivia Mackinnin and Ghaleb Kayli stood out for their obvious delight in mastering the intricacy of a lift that twirls into a suspended diamond shape. All of the dancers displayed the detailed coaching by Darci Kistler and Jock Soto, in addition to fleet footwork, sparkling beats of the legs and pliant pointe work.
George Balanchine choreographed "Cortège Hongrois" (1973) in honor of the retirement of ballerina Melissa Hayden. Steeped in the traditions of classical ballet, the piece celebrated Ms. Hayden's 18 years as a principal with NYCB. Beginning with a grand procession, 16 classical and character couples, introduce the traditions and majesty of another era. Led by Unity Phelan and the extremely talented Harrison Coll, the czardas was performed with flair, as staged by Susan Pilarre. The classical couples performed with élan, and one could see the energy and finesse of Suki Schorer, who staged this portion. Daniela Aldrich danced an exuberant solo, literally bursting on the stage, while Isabella DeVivo performed her variation with piquancy.
Ms. Hayden's role is for an established ballerina and Claire Von Enck danced with admirable pluck, sensitively partnered by the elgant Austin Bachman. Mr. Balanchine's ballet looked vivacious and allowed the many students to really dance!
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deborah Wingert