BWW Review: Maine State Ballet Takes on Broadway
For a week in January Maine State Ballet dancers temporarily put away their toe shoes, take out their tap and jazz footwear and revel in the choreography of Broadway musicals. The program, Tap, Tap, Jazz, which offers eighteen numbers - both solo and ensemble - each choreographed by a company member, showcases the entire company's versatility and talent.
As in all their productions, Maine State Ballet knows how to tailor its choreography to maximize the individual styles and strengths of its dancers. Among the solo numbers was Kallee Gallant's lovely lyrical rendition of "Someone to Watch Over Me," choreographed by Linda Miele; a fiercely expressive "Don't Stop Me Now" choreographed and danced with passion by Rhiannon Pelletier; and a dazzlingly virtuoso tap number, "Jazz Me Blues," created by Jonathan Miele for Julia Lopez. Broadway veteran and company co-founder, Miele, himself, made a cameo appearance and brought down the house in a tap solo and vocal performance of "Someone to Watch Over Me." Arie Eiten and Kendra Murray made a charming couple in Linda Miele's take on "S'Wonderful," while Glenn Davis, joined by Laura Moskevich and Adrienne Pelletier, choreographed, danced lithely, and sang appealingly in "Put on a Happy Face." Glenn Davis also took the lead in a sweetly amusing "You've Gotta Have Heart" from Damn Yankees for the male ensemble, who sang, danced, and had fun with the characters.
The ensemble numbers proved complex and vibrantly energetic. Janet Davis and Adam Miele choreographed a rousing "A Cappella Tap" for seven dancers who demonstrated precision and verve. Glenn Davis choreographed a lively moment with a large ensemble in "Shakin' the Blues Away" and led the octet of dancers in a fluid rendition of Irving Berlin's "The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing," choreographed by Jonathan Miele. Other offerings included the vivid opening ensemble piece by Rhiannon Pelletier, "Another Day of Sun;" the perky, lip synced performance of "Mamma Mia," choreographed by Adrienne Pelletier; four additional pieces by Janet Davis including the spirited "Rhythm of the Night" and the contrastingly still and heartfelt "Home" from Beauty and the Beast, which the eleven-person ensemble sang as well. The concert closed on Janet Davis' choreography of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" featuring Emma Davis and a twenty-four person ensemble in an all-out jazz/tap celebration that morphed into the curtain call bows for the entire company.
Using a plain blue, starry drop, a few well-chosen props, atmospheric lighting, and attractive, colorful and sometimes glitzy costumes, the entire program proved a feast for the eyes and an uplift for the spirits.
Photos courtesy of Maine State Ballet
Tap, Tap, Jazz runs from anuary 19-26, 2019, at Maine State Ballet's Lopez Theater, 348 U.S. Route One, Falmouth, ME. www.mainestateballet.org 207-7871-3587. The company's next production will be Cinderella, March 22-April 7, 2019.