BWW Reviews: Ballet Academy East Delivers an Impressive Spring Performance
On Friday, May 16th, I was privileged to be in attendance of the opening night of Ballet Academy East's 2014 Spring Performance. These young dancers displayed good training and a delight to be performing in eight varied works. Having seen a number of school performances this year, the school shows itself to be a cut above.
La Source, choreography by George Balanchine and staged by Darla Hoover, was surprisingly well done by these young people. The lead ballerina role was performed by the lovely and sweet Ariella Friedman, who demonstrated confidence and emotional involvement in her dancing. I'd like to see her use more energy below the knees, but this did not detract from her nearly ready for prime time performance. She was partnered attentively by BAE alumnus Ariel Rose, now with the Miami City Ballet. Siobahn Howley was perky in the soloist role and the eight corps members were well rehearsed and enjoying themselves. The live music was played by Steven Mitchell on piano and Anton Smirnov on violin.
We were treated to see the youngest dancers in works by Darla Hoover, Marcia Dale Weary (of the famed Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet) and Jenna Lavin. The steps were simple and executed with joy. Even the youngest students demonstrated good use of epaulement (expression of shoulders, neck, and head.) Lavin's choreography included four boys, notably Tristan Massa, who delivered an exciting solo with good technique and attack. The audience was moved by his dancing, as was I.
Jonathan Stafford choreographed A Simple Assortment for the older students, girls on pointe, to the gorgeous music of contemporary, Italian composer, Bruno Moretti. Zoe Stein was a stand-out in the soloist role, demonstrating beautiful line.
Szorakazas, choreographed by Charles Askegard to music of Hayden, showed off the marvelously talented Marc LaPierre, partnering the spritely Chloe Harper. LaPierre is a good partner worth following as he matures into a valuable professional.
The excellent Sweet Guitar Suite, choreographed by Jenna Lavin to music by J.S. Bach, was a good vehicle for these students. Boys and girls alike have follow through of line, coming from well-trained technique and artistry.
Symphonic Etudes, choreographed by Emery LeCrone to music of Robert Schumann and performed by pianist, David Aladashvili, closed the program. Again we were treated to the talented pairing of Arielle Friedman and Marc LaPierre in the principal roles. Ana Eustace, wearing purple, danced her variation with centered balance and freedom. Lauren Wolfram, performing the "green" soloist role, did a good job with challenging choreography intended for an accomplished dancer. The corps had good unison, a trait found in the better professional companies.
Without exception, the dancers of all ages were having fun, the mark of a successful school. Bravo to the dancers and to the teachers!
Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor