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BWW Reviews: Manhattan Youth Ballet Presents Workshop 2014

When young, aspiring dancers perform, there is an excitement in the air. The March 8 performance by the Manhattan Youth Ballet was no different. The thrill was palpable.

The program opened with the pas de deux from George Balanchine's Harlequinade, staged by Deborah Wingert and danced, at this performance, by Brian Casey and Brianna Stankus. Stankus conquered her choreography. At first, I had the impression that Casey was a boy they were fortunate to have as a partner, as he gave nothing away in the opening pose that would lead one to believe that he possessed talent. However, once he began to move his clean lines and well-executed technique excited me. I look forward to seeing him mature into a dancer of real self-assurance and distinction.

Next on the program was Children's Ballabile, comprising the all-female Pollichinelles, Harlequins, Pierrots and Pierrettes and, finally, the Scaramouches, performed by five girls and four boys, including Brian Casey, dancing cooperatively with striking musicality.

Third on the program was an excerpt from Raymonda, staged by Marina Stavitskaya after the original Marius Petipa choreography, and performed by the advanced girls and one boy. It was plain to see that they had worked hard to achieve the choreography's challenges. During the 2nd section, Entrée, the natural ability and feeling of a ballerina was on display by Kira Anderson. Her solo, Variation III, was also a stand-out. She is another talent to watch. Variation V was also well done by an expressive Brittany Cioce.

We were treated to two premieres. The first, Fragments: A Work in Progress with choreography by Attila Joey Csiki, played with shapes, created by the dancers. Again, we were treated to the more advanced dancers, including Anderson and Casey. This was an opportunity to see them dance a contemporary ballet.

Carnival of the Animals, was danced by younger students, including three boys. It is always encouraging to see boys dancing seriously and with focus.

Last on the program was the premiere of a contemporary piece by Brian Reeder, Light Is Calling. Reeder gave the dancers an opportunity to show their ability to move through various patterns on the stage, different from the strict classical choreography performed in the first half of the program.

This was a successful performance, proved by the enjoyment of the audience, a full house.

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From This Author Marjorie Liebert