Saturday, February 9, 2013


I seldom stray too far from the Columbia Classical Ballet fold when attending local dance (maybe an occasional City Ballet), but tonight I took the boys to see the Carolina Ballet's This Is Ballet , a 25th-anniversary celebration of civic dance in Columbia. Founded by the late Ann Brodie (and other dance professionals) the company provides training and opportunity to young, pre-professional level dancers and amateurs seeking a venue to continue expanding their skills for the love of dance. The Carolina Ballet has started many dancers onto professional careers, as well as spawned two professional companies in the area. Although there were many levels of experience and talent on display tonight, the overall performance was very solid and entertaining. Probably the most fun dance was "A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" which featured many younger girls and boys in the company, giving them a chance to really shine and get experience on the stage in front of a large and appreciative audience. I wish my son had been able to dance in something similar when he was involved in ballet, a reward for hours of hard work. Too often outside of "The Nutcracker" he had the slimmest parts (not unexpected in a professional company), but I think it would have helped keep him on stage. Who really cares if their steps were at times out of line or a pose faltered? They were out there enjoying dance, and that is what really mattered. And they really did a good job. I loved the tiniest dancer. . .so adorable. Younger members also shone in "Jewels" and "Le Carnival." I liked Yhosvany Rodriguez in "Le Spectre de la Rose," despite one mislanding, performed alongside artistic director Mimi Worrell. A crowd favorite was "Spring Waters" danced by Cooper Rust and Caleb Roberts. Also well received was Act I of "Giselle," by Mallory Jones and Patrick Van Buren. The final effort was "Hosanna," a very nice, flowing piece choreographed by alum Jeff Lander in honor of Brodie. The first dance, "The Kingdom of the Shades" from LaBayadere, was probably my least favorite, partly because it was hard not to judge it against the performance given by the CCB earlier this season, but because I think it is one of the more boring (albeit pretty) pieces. We really could do without the march on (especially when so many of the dancers are not as strong or sure as the professionals). The rest of the dance after the first section is very nice. I applaud all that the Carolina Ballet does to inspire young dancer and for its outreach to the community. We need, and benefit, from every opportunity to have any of the arts practiced and presented to the public. It is the first time I have ever been in the Township Theater, newly refurbished and spacious. It was fun to listen to Joey critique some of the dancers, and I know in my heart he would have sparkled alongside them. I wish the Carolina Ballet another successful twenty-five and more.

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