BWW Reviews: Ballet Tech
If you were looking for an afternoon of pure enjoyment, Eliot Feld's Ballet Tech performance on June 12 was the place to be. As the old Gershwin line goes: "Who could ask for anything more?"
I suppose that I do have some objections, one being the music, which I found repetitive and annoying. That said let me move on to the best aspects of the afternoon. And there were many!
First, let me extend warmest regards to Eliot Feld on the 40th anniversary of the Ballet Tech School, which integrates rigorous dance and academic studies for approximately 170 students in grades 4-12. The best part of it all: tuition free and they get to perform before a live audience. And the audience on Sunday afternoon lent plenty of support. The rapturous applause that greeted the advanced performers as they took their final bows was a true testament not only to their performance ability, but also to Mr. Feld's faith and belief in dance as a universal art form.
What better way to start the program than with Feld's A Stair Dance, a somewhat repetitive piece, but an excellent exercise for the young dancers in timing and coordination as they ascended and descended stairs to music that would be easily just as difficult for more accomplished dancers. That they all delivered the steps cleanly and precisely was, for me, proof not only of resilience and stamina, but of professional behavior and dedication. A word of congratulations to the outstanding teaching staff. Without you, this could never have been accomplished.
Apple Pie, a cross between an American hoedown and ballet mime, is long and overstays its welcome by at least 10 minutes. There's not enough to hold the eye or imagination and the lack of a central pair only accentuates its meandering and lack of structure. But put talented youngsters in charge and the piece does fly, at least outwardly to the audience. They shouted approval; something I could do for the appealing dancers, if not for the dance they were performing.
There is even more vitality, verve, and talent, in Feld's new Kydzny. The music is what I would call somewhat kletzmatic, if I'm not correct, with lots of vigor, if not originality. It didn't matter. The dancers, wearing colorful costumes by Michael Krass, moved and surged across the stage. Somewhat mysteriously a group of young girls entered blowing bubbles-was there any significance in this? At the finale, the performers sat down, laughing hysterically.
It somehow entered my mind that if these students could sing and act, they might want to consider a production of the old Rodgers and Hart chestnut, Babes in Arms. Imagine what they could do with the Johnny One Note Ballet and the Peter Goes to Hollywood dance, not to mention a Nicholas Brothers routine.
So let me not complain. The afternoon ended happily on a note of euphoria. And why not? The kids were giving all they had, and the audience, comprising, I imagine of family members, beamed back their love. In a way, I did so also. I stood up and applauded. For all my reservations, it's wonderful that these young people have a chance that, while not propelling them into the life of a professional dancer, instills the discipline, diligence and stamina to approach and tackle any career opportunity that comes their way in the long lives ahead of them.
Photo: Todd Rosenberg