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BWW Review: Syracuse City Ballet Charms With ALADDIN at Crouse Hinds Theater

BWW Review: Syracuse City Ballet Charms With ALADDIN at Crouse Hinds Theater
Syracuse City Ballet's Coprs de Ballet in the company's production of Aladdin. Photo by Katie Lynch.

The Syracuse City Ballet, the only professional ballet serving the Central New York community, brought the enchanting ballet of Aladdin to life this past weekend at Crouse Hinds Theater in Syracuse, New York. The production was directed and choreographed by founding artistic director Kathleen Rathbun and it once again brought down the house. Like all Syracuse City Ballet productions, this one provided a wonderful opportunity for local professional, pre-professional, and student dancers to perform alongside national and international guest artists.

Aladdin features music composed by Adolphe Adam, Leon Minkus, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. It tells the story of the beautiful princess Jasmyn (Claire Rathbun) who meets Aladdin (Jose Carlos Perez) in the marketplace. Jafar (Alejandro Cobas), the villain, accuses Aladdin of being a thief and banishes him to the desert where Aladdin then meets a genie (Joshua Dean). The genie's magic will help change Aladdin's future.

The production was unique because it featured the NYC-based 2 Ring Circus, which specializes in creating aerial and ground circuses for various theatrical productions. Co-founder, Artistic Director, and choreographer, Joshua Dean was a featured artist in the ballet, portraying the Genie and a sand aerialist. Dean made the choreography and acrobatic moves appear effortless and he displayed comedic charm while executing some daring and difficult moves. The talented Lani Corson, a co-founder of 2 Ring Circus, is also featured as a sand aerialist and Venom. Corson's strength, agility, and charm shined as she intricately looped herself around fabric, netting, etc. The additional aerial choreography 2 Ring Circus provided brought the magic of Aladdin to life in a very hypnotic way.

The production also showed off some high-flying effects. Princess Jasmyn and Aladdin dazzled the audience when they soared across the stage on the magic carpet created by Flying by Troy. Charming first dancer Lynea D'Aprix made an impression when she flipped around as the Magic Carpet. Then, the prop magic carpet took flight with Aladdin escaping from the cave. The performer-based flying effects brought the production of Aladdin to a "whole new world."

The production starred Syracuse City Ballet alumna Claire Rathbun as the beautiful, strong, independent, and confident princess Jasmyn. Rathbun is no stranger to the stage, having recently portrayed Victoria the White Cat in Cats on Broadway as part of the closing cast. Her elegance and beauty brought the best out of the stunning choreography by Kathleen Rathbun. She performed it effortlessly with such grace, skill, and power.

Jose Carlos Perez, resident dancer of the Syracuse City Ballet, was strong, confident, and comedic in the title role. His confidence as a dancer made it easy for even the youngest audience members to follow the story. Perez effortlessly executed the impressive choreography and had wonderful chemistry with the young student dancers.

Alejandro Cobas, the first Residential Dancer of Syracuse City Ballet, was highly memorable as the villain Jafar, especially as he swooped and twirled across the stage. Young Andres Valladares, as Jafar's Assistant, was a standout as he followed, fought, and danced alongside Cobas.

The cave scene where Aladdin sees the many riches and jewels was also very memorable. Featured dancers each performed a dance representing each individual jewel. Madison Riccardi was on fire as she embodied the Ruby, dressed in the breathtaking red. Mary Coon was pure elegance and shimmered as the Diamond dressed in white. Makayla Kanerviko glowed as the Sapphire. The many detailed costumes enhanced the production.

Other memorable dancers included Nicole Blue as the Snake Charmer, Tim Alberts as the Sultan, the chosen maidens (Delaney Glassford, Makayla Kanerviko, Erin Kerwin, Dawsun Weil), and the Harem Women (Nicole Blue, Madison Riccardi, Hannah Walsh). There were many talented younger student dancers featured as the spiders, sand, Beggars, and Thieves. The Dads of many of the young student dancers also charm as they lifted their young offspring, fought as the Guards, and dazzled with comedy.

The Syracuse City Ballet's production of Aladdin was a fabulous ballet. It successfully showcased the professional featured artists, 2 Ring Circus' aerial choreography, and the talented student dancers. The production itself was breathtaking and memorable - it was a real family-friendly treat that soared.

Running Time: Approximately two hours with one twenty-five minute intermission.

The Syracuse City Ballet's production of Aladdin played on March 10, 2018 and March 11, 2018 at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater. For tickets and information on the Syracuse City Ballet, click here. For information on 2 Ring Circus, click here.

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From This Author - Natasha Ashley