Two Super Spring Stagings: LVBC & NBT
By Hal de Becker
Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Academy and the Kwak Ballet Academy recently presented their annual spring concerts which included their students as well as guest artists. To the credit of the dancers, teachers and choreographers, both productions were thoroughly entertaining and of professional caliber.
Presentations like these are an artistic adventure giving youngsters the important opportunity to experience the on-stage and backstage atmosphere of theatre life with all the excitement of costumes, make up, rehearsals and, finally, the thrill of the performance itself.
The Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre’s student dancers performed the full length classic “La Fille Mal Gardee” at Ham Hall.Numerous versions of this cheerful ballet have been choreographed between its premiere in 1789 and the present. The most popular version today is Fredrick Ashton’s which he created for England’s Royal Ballet in 1960 and it was the one presented by the ‘Academy’.
The production followed the original storyline relating the efforts of two young lovers, Lise and Colas, to outwit the girl’s mother who wants her to marry another man, Alain.Some of the choreography was adapted to the talents of the youthful dancers but they still had ample opportunity to demonstrate their skills and the high quality instruction they’ve received. Academy principal, Anna Lantz and members of her faculty provided the deft re-staging of the ballet.
Among the outstanding guest artists was NBT’s Mary LaCroix who portrayed Alain ‘en travesty.’Her execution of the charming but demanding choreography with its rapid, often eccentric movements garnered well deserved ovations.Marcus Bugler, also ‘en travesty,’ brought his customary panache to the role of Lise’s mother. Another NBT guest artist, Barrington Lohr as Colas, showed an impressive flair for comic acting and mime, and Ariel Triunfo, as Lise, acquitted herself well.
This was a major undertaking involving many artistic and organizational challenges including a huge cast requiring extensive choreographies, hundreds of beautiful costumes, rehearsal time, and more.The result merited high praise.
Kwak Ballet Academy, home of the Las Vegas Ballet Company, presented its concert at the Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center.The younger students and the older more experiencedcompany members joined forces with their illustrious teachers and mentors Yoomi Lee and Kyudong Kwak in excerpts from “Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake,” “Rodeo,”“Carnival of the Animals,” “Paquita,”and an original ballet, “Glory,” choreographed by Mr. Kwak.
“Glory,” set to a Bach Concerto for violin and string orchestra, was performed to superb live accompaniment by Nevada School of the Arts string ensemble.The choreography, in sleek neo-classic style, was a sensitive visual realization of the music.
Included among the ballet’s many highlights were a romantic adagio and virtuoso solos danced by Ms. Lee and Mr. Kwak.
Twenty members of LVBC gave a spirited performance of“Paquita” and met all the Makarova/Petipa choreographic demands with surprising aplomb.Technical feats, including fouettes (multiple turns on one leg) and entrechat six (six aerial crossings of the legs), seemed to present no challenge to these dancers.Mr. and Mrs. Kwak (Kyudong and Yoomi) danced the work’s grand pas de deux to rousing applause.SuzanneDieckmann’s tutus were almost as eye-pleasing as the talented dancers wearing them.
The families and friends of the young ballerinas and cavaliers of the NBT and Kwakacademies were not the only ones who enjoyed the two excellently mounted productions. Many other patrons attended the concerts only because of their love for classical ballet and they were not disappointed.