Isn't Always Provincial
Freedom to Dance
Regional Dance America's Northeast Festival
Annenberg Performing Arts Center
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Saturday, June 5, 2004
copyright 2004 by George Jackson
published June 8, 2004
This third and final evening of the festival was its gala performance.
Of the six pieces on the program, I'd recommend two to anyone who attends
Ashland Regional Ballet's Barn Dance was just plain fun. Being
polished classicists wasn't the point the dancers on stage were trying
to make. This piece was about verve, vigor and being sociable. The cast
of 10 (a mix of advanced students and young teachers) bounced in country
style to old-type country music, adding a ballet step here and there—wherever
one fit in. That the girls wore toe shoes seemed like just another teen
fashion. Hellie Schussler was the choreographer. She knew how to use her
dancers as individuals and wisely avoided looking too much like Agnes
Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet's performance of Balanchine's Who
Cares? (Gershwin/Kay) might well be the envy of some adult professional
troupes. These youngsters (boys and girls) had style and sophistication.
Robbie-Jean Arbaczewski, age 13, showed remarkable clarity and courtesy
in the Marnee Morris role. Anna Gerberich (as Patricia McBride), Leta
Biasucci (as Karin von Aroldingen), Ian Hussey (as Jacques D'Amboise)
and the spiffy corps dancers gave evidence of good training and experiencing
the joy of dancing. Former members of Balanchine's New York City Ballet,
Darla Hoover and Peter Frame had staged the choreography. Costumes were
by Marcia Dale Weary (CPYB's director) and Freda Bromberg.
Allegheny Ballet's Wanderer Fantasie (Schubert) featured some
decently trained young women, but Paul Gibson's choreography lacked phantasy.
The other three dances—Gina Gardner-Walther's I Closed My Eyes
for the Vineland Regional Dance Company, Kirsten Kaschok's The House
That Jane Built for the Cumberland Dance Company and Mary Giannone's
Concerto in Dm for the Canton Ballet—showed the dancers'
and choreographers' limits.
Volume 2, Number 21
June 9, 2004
Jean Battey Lewis
Sali Ann Kriegsman
Alexandra Tomalonis (Editor)
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