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Whoops and Screams of Delight - An Evening of Dance by Ballet des Amériques

Whoops and Screams of Delight - An Evening of Dance by Ballet des Amériques

Freeform Review:

From the outset of the program on Saturday night at the season's final Evening of Dance in the studio of Ballet des Amériques in Port Chester, N.Y., there is a buzz in the air.

Irene Przywara thoroughly inhabits “Legba” now. She crawls this earth; she knows this voodoo. Her performance gets under the skin.

Ashley Cook and Jenna Simon make the most of their brief classical excerpt from “Sleeping Beauty”, choreographed by Nureyev after Petipa. Before we have had time to imprint their speed and precision, poof, here is Isodale Alexis as Aurore, the Sleeping Beauty herself, elegant, statuesque and brilliant.

The initial comic element of “Coppelia”, played so exquisitely by Alexandria Ina Rose Bocca, soon gives way to awe at this young dancer's perfect take as the mechanical doll. The stab of sadness catches us by surprise no matter how many times we have seen Alex sink to the floor as the spring winds down.

In the “Queen of the Dyads” (“Don Quixote” – Nureyev after Petipa again), Christine Sawyer is an imposing presence. Regal and distinctive. Her technique is strong.

For Petipa's “Kitri Variation from Don Quixote”, Isodale Alexis has become the most playful, teasing Iberian coquette ever while not quite concealing the fire and the nobility. Her dancing is superb but her acting, her embodiment of the role, is extraordinary. The snap of a fan speaks volumes.

“Evocations”, choreographed by Carole Alexis and performed with such passion by Jenna Simon and Garrett McCann to spine-tingling music by Airto Moreira, has become a highlight of the Evenings.  he precision of the dancers has reached another level. Jenna appears as Garrett's shadow and his mate.  Are they a breed of big cat?  Such conscious, alert, jungle creatures.

Closing out the introductory selections is another Madame Alexis piece to music by Bizet danced by Alex – “La Poupee – Jeux d'enfants”. Both music and dance are exquisite.

After a pause, comes the rapturous “Bolero”, a dance that the company has taken from Madame Alexis and made their own. 

Isodale's arms, so impossibly supple, draw us in. 

In the previous performances that have given us a chance to watch this piece grow, there have been many hints of its hypnotic power. Hypnotic is the word. That main theme of Ravel's is the essence but Madame's dance has drawn it out and exposed its power. At times the dancers appear mesmerized  - are they robots - are they haunted?  Their commitment to the performance and the choreography – to the company – is total. 

And the audience response, which was enthusiastic when the idea was still in its infancy, months ago, reached a crescendo Saturday night that we do not encounter in ballet performances – whoops and screams of delight – wonder, even awe, expressed by the pounding of feet and frenzied, long-lasting applause. The studio reverberated.

Following intermission the final dance was a further evolution of “Lentil Soup” by Madame Alexis. Here again the complete investment of the company is profound. One of the highlights was the emergence of Victoria Kress.  Victoria came to the company in the past year and has always danced with aplomb, but Saturday night her breakout, knockout, sequence in “Lentil Soup” was dazzling. Can one dance with abandon, really? The dancer must always be in control.  But Victoria seemed utterly possessed. Her dancing was raw and vital.

Once again, at the end of this “Lentil Soup”, there were raucous, uninhibited shouts of joy and encouragement - noise loud enough to shake the studio.

The dancers were visibly moved.

“Lentil Soup” is the meal of meals, homecooked, yet, haute cuisine. 

Still we wonder if there will be other ingredients added, a teaspoon of this, a pinch of that. 

Our chef, Madame Carole Alexis, is a woman of mystery.

And the unfolding of her mysteries is art in process.

How lucky we to be invited to the table.

Can't wait for the next feast on June 11th at 2 PM at the Tarrytown Music Hall.

— Frank DeLigio 5-1-17

 

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