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Ballet Next in Open Rehearsal at the Manhattan Movement Arts Center

April 7, 2012

I did not realize until I was witnessing the beauty of Ana Sophia Scheller and Joaquin de Luz performing Sleeping Beauty how much I missed pure classical ballet. I see a lot of and love modern and contemporary dance, but my foundation in dance is classical and once again seeing Petipa just put everything into perspective.

The performance was an open rehearsal format, dancers in their practice clothes running pieces full out for an audience. Ballet Next, the brainchild of Michele Wiles a former principal with American Ballet Theater and Charles Askegard a former New York City Ballet principal, combines a repertory of both classics and contemporary ballets performed by world class dancers to live music from its music director, the cellist Elad Kabilio. The company aims to introduce new audiences to ballet by showing both classical and contemporary works and the natural progression of the two.

Sleeping Beauty, created by Marius Petipa in 1890, is considered a masterpiece because of its score and choreography, and is a staple to many of the world’s great ballet companies. Joaquin de Luz and Ana Sofia Scheller performed the wedding pas de deux from the ballet. Mr. de Lux is a natural turner, his pirouettes effortless and smooth and was the perfect prince to Ms. Scheller princess, their dancing smooth with masterful and effortless technique.

Stravinsky Divertimento choreographed by Mr. Askegard was true to his New York City Ballet origin. The duet for Mr. Askegard and Ms. Wiles show the subtle influences of both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins in both the construction and styling of the choreography. It is fun and light, filled with brightness and a little humor and I found myself thinking of springtime while watching.

Entwined, choreographed by Margo Sappington is a new work set to Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne” Nos. 5, 7, 3 and 4. It is a mixture of duets, trios and solos, they were beautiful danced but I felt it lagged in places and the duet with Mr. Askegard and Georgina Pazcoguin though beautiful danced, seemed too long. Mr. Askegard lifts and cradles Ms. Pazcoguin in loving embrace but still something was lacking. But, this is a very young work that will go though many incarnations as it develops and I sure it will grow into a spectacular piece for the company.

The last offering of the evening was Mauro Bigonzetti’s La Follia for Ms. Wiles and Drew Jacoby. This is an exciting and daring work with both dancers weaving their bodies in perfect harmony with the Vivaldi score. Ms. Drew appears to excel in near perfection as she and Ms. Wiles, who was dazzling, gave us the most enticing performance of the evening.

Ballet Next is preparing for its New York Season at the Joyce Theater this October.


From → Ballet

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