BWW Reviews: Dance Conservatory Project Presents THE NUTCRACKER
Dance Conservatory Performance Project Presents The Nutcracker
By Marjorie Liebert
Artistic Director Valentina Kozlova presented her Dance Conservatory of New York in The Nutcracker on Saturday, December 7, 2013 for two performances at 3:00pm and 7:00pm. I had the pleasure of attending the 3:00pm performance.
The first act was one of the most delightful I have seen--and I have seen countless Nutcrackers. It was charming and colorful, with children ranging from the very young (perhaps 3 years old) to older, advanced girls. Clara, the heroine, played by Darrah Brewster and her two friends, Nikita Boris and Isabelle Breier, were on pointe, performing more elaborate choreography than demanded in many other productions. Fritz, Clara's younger brother, played superbly by Gabriel Grizelj, was much younger than Brewster's Clara. Darrah is surely a talented young dancer who displayed good training, but I would have preferred to see her having more fun during the ballet rather than struggling with the more intricate aspects of the choreography.
The choreography for Act One was created by Margo Sappington, who played the role of Baroness Drosselmeyer (traditionally a role for a male). Her dances for the children were imaginative, holding the attention of the predominantly young audience, as well as the adults. Her role was somewhat less impressive, since it was the children who dominated the scene. The Mouse King, Erik Baker, added humor, while the Mouse Princess, Nikita Boris, was acrobatic and lead the little mice with authority. The Snow scene was not as engaging as the party scene, so, the first act did not end on the same high note on which it had begun.
Act Two, Land of the Sweets, was staged by Kozlova after Vasily Vainonen and Marius Petipa. The Sugar Plum Fairy was danced by Demitra Bereveskos, partnered skillfully by guest artist, Solieh Samudio of Ballet Nacional De Panama. When very young children were on stage as Angels and Polichinelles there were older girls to lead the way, as they had in Act One. The older dancers performed the other variations: Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Marzipan, and Waltz of the Flowers. Sitting downstage left, were Clara and Fritz, who applauded each dance enthusiastically.
If a successful Nutcracker can be determined by the delight it brings to the audience, then this was surely a successful Nutcracker. We all had a good time.
Valentina Kozlova, the head of the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition, formerly the Boston International Ballet Competition, announced The First Edition of ITS Contemporary Dance & Choreography Competition, which will be held April 28-29 2014.