BWW Review: New York Theatre Ballets' GOOSE!
New York Theatre Ballet's production of Goose! was one of the offerings of the company's Once Upon a Ballet 2014-2015 series. Goose! is another enchanting jewel in the crown of witty and wonderful ballets by Keith Michael. Goose! brings to life characters from the Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Jack and Jill, Little Bo Peep, Little Boy Blue, Little Miss Muffet, and other favorites kick up their heels in this delightful ballet.
Vladimir Shinov's shimmering original piano score for four hands is based on the Mother Goose rhymes and rhythms. The score was marvelously performed by Michael Scales and Zheng Ma. The costumes designed by Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan, the sets designed by Derek Stenborg, and the wonderful Shoe constructed by Quinn O'Sullivan were fabulous and utilized by the dancers in many clever ways.
The ballet is drawn from the Mother Goose rhymes and is loosely structured around a day in the life of Mother Goose: the Old Woman who lived in a Shoe and her children.
The first part of Goose! is The "Rhymes." Standout dances are the innovative "pail" pas de deux for Jack and Jill, and is danced with aplomb and humor by Carmella Lauer and Stephen Campanella. The always technically strong Amanda Treiber is Nanny Etticott (The Candle). "A Was an Apple Pie" is a brilliantly conceived number with the cast bending, shaping and "writing" the ABCs with their bodies in wondrous ways as an apple pie is passed amongst them. The Fiddlers Three is a well-crafted and delightful number performed by Stephen Campanella, Mitchell Kirby and Michael Wells. "Three Blind Mice" offers a dark side that includes that unfortunate incident with their tails. Alexis Branagan, Carmella Lauer and Amanda Treiber are the fine dancing mice.
The second half of Goose! is The "Littles." These are tiny puppet-sized performers in the roles of Little Boy Blue (Stephen Campanella), Little Bo Peep (Carmella Lauer) and Little Miss Muffet (Amanda Treiber). Fabulous is the word for this trio and their "sole-ful"assistants. The three-legged Goosey Goosey Gander as danced by Elena Zahlmann offers a commedia dell'arte flair to the production.
Keith Michael's program notes begin with "The world is so full/ Of a number of things/I'm sure we should all/Be happy as kings by Robert Louis Stevenson. The ballets by Mr. Michael that are presented by New York Theatre Ballet do indeed make balletomanes and both young and adult audiences as "happy as Kings."
New York Theatre Ballet also serves as an important builder of future audiences for ballet. Director Diana Byers' informative pre-performance lecture-demonstrations educate children and adult audiences alike on aspects of ballet. The talk on March 7th at 1pm featured adorable "dancing examples," young students from the New York Theatre Ballet's school. The topic was music and its important relationship with dance. Musical upbeat and downbeat was explained with a clap and a stomp. Allegro (fast music), adagio (slow music), and how music conveys different emotional feelings were demonstrated by the dancing examples, and included audience participation. New York Theatre Ballet continues to be a cultural treasure for the New York City arts community and audiences.