The Reluctant Writer: Something Else to do When I Should Be Writing

January 24, 2010

Looking at LifeChance

It was so nice to see such a great crowd at LifeChance Saturday night — and not just folks who got trucked in, but just a whole lot of people from the community. Here are a few observations:

  • The show was great — I love it that the show even exists and that Radenko Pavlovich brings in such fine talent from the far corners for us to see.  The talent and choreography should help to inspire local companies and dancers, especially the contemporary pieces performed by Lia Cirio, her brother Jeffrey Cirio, and Sabi Varga and James Whiteside.  Lia, who literally just got word that she was promoted to Principal dancer at Boston Ballet, is a force to be reckoned with.  Her exhibition of controlled energy is a tutorial for aspiring dancers — every inch of her body  was expressive and beautiful — not a wasted second or movement in her performance.  Total commitment to the dance — amazing.
  • Brooklyn Mack rocked.  I am completely biased because I love the boy so, but he was totally on — ON, and it was glorious to watch him take in all the love from the audience.  You have to know how humble he is to understand this.  He continues to see himself as a student, as a struggler, as someone who is working so hard to get where he wants to be — no fears about resting on one’s laurels here.  Not all the stars and wannabes from Columbia are this way, so it’s very refreshing to see.
  • That said, who was the chick he was dancing with and where did she come from?  This is a rhetorical question because I know the answer to both of them.  But what I want to know is why she was dancing with Brooklyn.  I’m not going to criticize her and say that she had a bad show — I’m not even going to say the child’s name — I think she just wasn’t up to the part.  Le Corsaire, the pas that she and Brooklyn danced, is all about lightness — we expect our dancers to skitter across the stage — to take flight.  That just wasn’t happening with her last night.
  • OK, and while I’m pretending not to be critical, (should I add a “bless her heart” here?), here’s my take on classical variations.  I ONLY want to see them if they are excellent — not just good.  Because any student of ballet who has been at it a while and has some hope of ever having a career even at a fourth or fifth tier company knows how to execute these classical variations.  They may not be excellent or even very good — but they can get ’em done.  If I want to see a future star of tomorrow, I’ll go watch a class or sit in on a YAGP competition.  For $30 — I want to see a pro.  Like  Meaghan Hinkis out of ABT II who we only got to see dance Don Q. This chick took a part that I’ve seen done way too many times and added her own energy to it to such a degree that I actually liked it.  So many dancers, when they do these tried and true (read dull and boring, imho) classical variations, work so hard to be precise that they suck the very soul from the dance.  This is why I shudder a little bit every time I hear music by Minkus, Asafiev, or Adolphe Adam.  Here’s to being so good that you add your own interpretation to ancient choreography. Go Meaghan Hinkis.
  • I’ve never seen the Trey McIntyre Project perform before, but after watching two of their dancers last night — I’m going to put it on my to-do list effective immediately.  Dylan G-Bowley and Chanel DaSilva brought synergy to the stage last night in a way you don’t always see in modern dance.  Loved it.
  • Can we talk height for a minute?  Little DeeDee Weatherly-Rosner, who went to NCSA with Annie and Bonnie, is s0 short — she’s like a tyke, right?  Well looking at Radenko’s corps last night, DeeDee was, well, she was mid-sized.  For some reason the Columbia Classical Ballet company this year appears to be made up of very talented kinder-gardeners.  This isn’t a criticism — it’s just an observation.  Wee dancers.  Tiny.
  • And speaking of DeeDee — good show, Child.  You stood out on the stage and, as an NCSA mom, I was proud of you.
  • OK, another observation — are we dressing up again?  I say this because, back in the day, LifeChance was the night that we put on the ritz — tuxes and sequins and faux fur (yeah, I know this is magical thinking on my part — I have to pretend that all fur is fake to suppress my compelling desire to drench it in a gooey red substance).  I’m thinking that we started dressing down after 9/11 — is that right?  At the risk of sounding like my friend The Shop Tart, who is clearly the authority on finery, I couldn’t help but notice a bit more bling last night.  And black velvet — which I was even wearing myself — and I loved it –ain’t nothing that feels any better on the bod that black velvet.  I’m OK if we are dressing up again — I was telling Jeffrey that since we don’t go to the Phil anymore that I rarely get to do it up.  To which he replied, Come to the Phil, then.  Probably not.  I’m betting that next year we’ll see more tuxes — which is good for me.   The Beer Doc looks especially fine in his tux.
  • Finally, I just want to give a shout out to Lee Lumpkin — who may be the most generous woman in town.  Her devotion to Radenko and Columbia Classical Ballet is the sole reason that company is alive, especially in the recent economic malaise.  I’m sure Radenko knows this.  Her support has allowed him to realize his dream — and it has allowed us to attend some quite excellent after-parties year after year.  Thanks to Lee and Mike for their hospitality and generosity.  You both rock.
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2 Comments »

  1. Hi!
    Loved this review! Having spent years avoiding/”running with fright” from being labeled a “ballet Mom” … but being present for endless competitions, I totally broke into audible laughter while reading your phrase, “I shudder a little bit every time I hear music by Minkus, Asafiev, or Adolphe Adam”. Do I relate?….in spades! I also relate to your comments on Brooklyn’s partner (you will have to tell me the details one day), on Meaghan Hinkis (who stole the first part of the show), and on the choreography of the Trey McIntyre Project (just superb…and I’ve seen some of the best the world has to offer at competition). Most of all…we left the Koger Center giggling….thinking about whether our son would be the tallest or next to the tallest in the local company. (He’s at at great height of being able to go “both ways”…”short or tall”…which means he’s also overlooked because he’s not definitely “one or the other”) His former roommate (one who suffers from a less than ideal stature) would, if a member of the company, be considered “one of the tall guys”…instead of being cast as Fritz in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Nutcracker last month. I’ve never seen such consistency in a professional ballet company….when measured in inches! I thought my “screen” was not properly balanced for HD or somethine….but, no, these guys were….well….live…and, yes, wee dancers. We loved Satenella though…a personal favorite…and, yes, we’ve seen it dozens and dozens of nail-biting times in competitions. It was performed quite nicely. The local company did a great job. Please call me sometime soon…just to talk and review the show.
    Susan

    Comment by Susan Lenz — January 24, 2010 @ 23:27

  2. Ahhh! I really wanted to be there and it just wasn’t in the cards. Your review makes me determined to go next year.

    I totally agree about black velvet. When I was in high school, I signed up for cello lessons after seeing a long black velvet gown that would have looked beautiful wrapped around a cello. I realized my folly and canceled the lessons – the dress wouldn’t have been available by the time I was good enough at cello to do it justice.

    And…psssst…I think a lot of that fur is faux. Or at least vintage. So carry on with your magical thinking, which is not entirely inaccurate.

    Comment by Anne — January 25, 2010 @ 09:22


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