BWW Reviews: Ballet, Inc.
What a joy to attend the first fully staged performance for Ballet, Inc. This quirky ballet company blended ballet on pointe and contemporary/modern dance together to create a smooth and flowing movement. I loved how soft, yet commanding the movements were. The dancers' legs and arms were long, graceful, smooth, yet still sharp, creating an original style of contemporary dance on pointe. Their arms and legs flowed on and on, enhancing and embracing the quirky and eccentric choreography. The rounds in the choreography flowed like silk, moving seamlessly from dancer to dancer. The lighting for the show was also original- romantic and dark, setting a stage that masked faces and races, making the dancers not a black woman or a Hispanic man, but souls and bodies who all share a common passion for dance.
The lifts were incredible to behold. Men lifted and twirled their partners through the air with just one arm, showing off their incredible strength and their partners' complete trust in their counterparts. Scott Lewis, one of the principle dancers, lifted Kayla Ernst-Alper high into the air, all the way above his head in a duet titled Examinis. And even being held in the air, Ernst-Alper still managed to hold her body gracefully, trusting him completely. I only wish that the company might have pushed the barrier even more by including women lifting one another, since Ballet, Inc. is about dance regardless of race, gender, and body type.
I must also recognize Michelle Vargo and Edgar L Peterson III on their duet, Some Say. This was definitely one of the highlights of the show, the duet light, fun, and playful. Even in the dark lighting, it was easy to see how spunky Vargo is, and how passionate Peterson is in his dancing. The amount of time these two spent rehearsing was evident in how together and in sync they were throughout the entire number- the only couple in the show to be perfectly together. These two had great chemistry and should definitely be rewarded with more duets in the future. They were a joy to watch!
I would be remiss to not mention the best number of the show, Fallen Angels. The power, sensuality, commanding nature, and sharp movements of this piece made it impossible to look away. It was completely captivating, split into four sections. Courtney Sauls opened the number by herself and completely set the stage. Sauls was hard-hitting, fast and powerful, forcing you to watch her and listen to what her body had to say. Sauls was truly the star of this number and made me pay attention every time she was hit the stage after that. The group numbers, however, needed much improvement. While the choreography brought something new and original to the table, the dancers weren't always able to keep up. Their tricks were breath-taking, their partnering done with ease, but their synchronicity was off. Many of the dancers struggled to keep up with the fast choreography. Much of the performance was simply a spectacular trick, a series of walks in a circle, then another trick. When the pointe shoes came off, the choreography became much more dance-centric, but that was when the dancers struggled.
The entire show, over-all, was hard-hitting, powerful, beautiful, and sensual. The romantic choreography, though, was not suited for children. The environment was extremely informal, the director of the show even inviting the audience to drinks with the ensemble afterward. The company still has a ways to go, but the potential to grow is definitely there.