AUDIENCE REVIEW: Holiday Concert: An Evening of Dance & Song
Ballet Arts Center for Dance
December 7, 2019
It is always a pleasure to come to New York City Center to watch the Ballet Arts showcase. Each performance brings in a variety of artists featuring the faculty and students of Ballet Arts as well as many professional dancers/companies. This year, we were treated to classical variations from Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Paquita, Giselle, and Don Quixote. Do not be fooled by the name “Ballet Arts”! One of the highlights of the first half was “In Our Alley” choreographed by Danielle Diniz (danced by Christina Belinsky, Courtney Darlington, Danielle Diniz, Mariel Harris and Mary Kate Hartung) was a mix of jazz and theater that definitely heightened the spirits of the show. First act ended with a group ensemble set by faculty member Noriko Hara which featured intricate formation changes, clean port de bras, and beautiful costumes.
Second act started with a bang, literally! The hip hop piece “The Blast” choreographed by faculty member Kaori Hiwasa and danced by Hiroko Uchino, Keiji Kubo, Kaori Hiwasa, Michael Pe’er, Thiago Panucci Czarneski, and Yuriko Sakai was very powerful, a perfect display of strength and aesthetics. A total mood change but equally as high caliber was the piece that followed: “Really? Really!” choreographed by another faculty member Joan Liu and dance by Jessica Frazier, Saeko Hayashi, Akane Koizumi, and Emma K. Sniegowski. This piece was a blend of contemporary and ballet (done in pointe shoes) that’s both humorous (as the name suggested) and technically difficult. I was mind-blown by the play of geometric shapes that was brought out by Liu. The show ended on a high note with “Le Grand Pas De Quatre” danced by Jonathan Mendez, Wilson Li, Walter Battistini, and Estefano Gil. The quartet danced by four men Ballet Trockadero style was engaging and fabulous. Definitely put the audience in a good mood to enjoy refreshments after the show.