A CELEBRATION OF CLASSICAL BALLET
By Hal de Becker
As Las Vegas Ballet Company continues to grow, so does its troupe of youthful dancers. In a recent performance at Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center their increased professionalism, skills and experience were conspicuous and gratifying.
Under the direction of LVBC’s founders, artistic director Kyudong Kwak and ballet mistress Yoomi Lee, the company offered a rich program in keeping with its dedication to presenting the great ballet classics.
The performance consisted of excerpts from Petipa’s ‘Paquita’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’, plus the famed ‘Dying Swan’ solo and the pas de deux from ‘Le Corsaire’, popularized in the West in the 1960’s by Nureyev and Fonteyn.
In a special appearance in ‘Beauty’, Mr. Kwak and Ms. Lee added icing to the cake with an exciting rendering of the Third Act Grand Pas de Deux. They were the essence of classical purity and their dancing, in addition to its elegance and presence, sparkled with his soaring leaps, her lightning fast pirouettes and their effortless lifts.
‘The Dying Swan’ was the signature piece for legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova. It was choreographed expressly for her in 1905 by Michel Fokine to a cello solo by Saint-Saens.
The brevity and the apparent simplicity of the dance are deceptive. To capture the emotions of an audience as it watches the wounded swan’s futile struggle to survive requires an artist like Ms. Lee. Her interpretation was sensitive and musically expressive, and her slender fragility and delicate features well suited the role.
Two extremely promising and well paired teen agers, Monika Hackiewicz and Voytek Ogloza danced the Blue Bird pas de deux with all the technical trimmings that have made it one of the most challenging duets in the classical repertoire, especially for the male. In his solo variations he seems to spend more time in the air then on the ground.
Voytek possessed outstanding elevation, controlled multiple pirouettes and almost every other technical feat in the ballet vocabulary. Disappointing, therefore, were his sloppy feet and lack of polish. However, he has plenty of time to overcome those deficiencies and is certain to do so with maturity and the guidance of his LVBC instructors.
Monika’s classical purity of line and assured pointe technique were matched by her lofty ballerina bearing. She regularly performs leading roles in many of LVBC’s classical productions and in this one also danced major solos in Paquita and ‘Beauty’.
Hina Agins’ robust leaps and turns in her Paquita solos were impressive. Other standouts in it and in ‘Beauty’ were Sidney Lee, Lindy Kelley, Antonia Neal and Jacqueline DePari, and too many more among the 30 member cast to name each one.
Except for numerous un-pointed feet -- walking as well as dancing -- the ensemble numbers were well coached and rehearsed. The dancers performed with relaxed confidence and musicality as well as heart-warming bright eyed smiles. Indeed, a special aura of health and happiness seemed to pervade this splendid celebration of ballet.