Performing Arts: Dance
June 13, 2022
Kudos to the faculty, artistic director, repertory director, executive director, production manager, and most importantly, the students of Ballet Tech Kids Dance! Opening night at the Joyce Theater gave a complete and satisfying celebration of the end of an era and the beginning of a new period for the company as Eliot Feld retires and Dionne Figgins assumes the helm. And great honor to Eliot Feld for his vision in 1978 to build this school which has developed many professional dancers throughout its existence.

The two hour opening night spanned decades of choreography, from a 1957 version of West Side Story with choreography by Jerome Robbins and music by Leonard Bernstein, to excerpts of Feld’s 1992 Hello Fancy, and a 1994 First Movement of his 23 Skidoo in the first act, and a 2022 piece choreographed by Figgins.

Throughout the evening, the Ballet Tech students were well rehearsed, polished, and confident in a variety of styles and moods. A complete ensemble of dancers dressed in black and white, opened the evening with Feld’s Hello Fancy. Dancers lunged across the stage with twisting torsos, figure eight arms, kicks, sauté’s, in varied groupings, and ending with the entire cast on stage.

Eureka! (2022) choreographed by Artistic Director Dionne Figgins, cast students in street attire of red, blue, green, and pink, jackets atop sweat pants, accompanied by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor. A combination of hip hop, break dancing, and balletic pirouettes intertwined to make a cohesive whole.

Jacqueline Scafidi Allsopp, repertory director, fabulously staged sections of Robbins’ West Side Story” weaving “Jets and Sharks,” “Dances in the Gym,” “Cool,” “America,” and “Somewhere” in imaginative configurations, reminiscent of the stage and screen versions of the work.

Raymonda, choreographed by Petipa and set to lush music by Alexander Glazunov, demonstrated the company’s exquisite mastery of classical work, featuring soloist Raven Barkley (guest artist courtesy of Charlotte Ballet and former Ballet Tech student). Her subtle upper body nuances and gestures, commanded the stage.

Guardians by contemporary choreographer Men Ca, set to dreamy and dramatic music by Joseph Trapanese and Max Richter, stretched dancers across the stage in runs, pique arabesques, with arms slashing and cutting through space.

Manhattan Research by John Heginbotham showcased a group of younger dancers dressed in “I Love New York” tee shirts and shorts. A light- hearted work set to jazz music by Raymond Scott, rows of dancers bounced and ran, snapped fingers and clapped in shirting circles.

The evening ended with Infrastructure by Michael Snipe, Jr., opened with smoke on a dimly lit stage. Dancers in navy leotard tops and long grey unisex skirts, walked forward and back, side to side, arms gesturing large. Bodies lowered to the ground, contracting and lengthening, ending in low lying lunges.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Mary Seidman

©2001 Eye and Dance and the Arts | All Rights Reserved