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Jennifer Wesnousky
Performance Reviews
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The Joffrey School
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New York, NY

Joffrey Ballet School Performances

by Jennifer Wesnousky
October 30, 2005
The Joffrey School
New York, NY -

Joffrey Ballet School Performances

Gail D'Addario, Director
John Magnus, Artistic Director
Teachers: Elizabeth D'Anna, Eleanor D'Antuono, Stephanie Godino, Sidney Lowenthal and John Magnus
Ballet 2: Cheyenne Biolsi, Mamima Doken, Rae Finio, Pearlmay Hubert, Ariel LaRoche, Alicia Ng, Felicity Richards, Annabella Sadoff, Sarah Tornay
Ballet 3: Olivia Ballard, Caitlin Dullahan-Bates, Cora Frederick, Aviva Madger-Pascaris, Sammi Schilling, Octavia Spellman, Chloe Vedder, Leyla Wade
Ballet 4: Briann Brink-Rivera, Alyssa Dyal, Nika Kneitschel, Jamie Maffeo, Auguste Roc
Intermediate 1: Carolina Cabrera, Emma Frederick, Kyra Gemka, Hillary Jost, Sarah Greenberg
Junior Trainees: Katie Advocat, Maria Castillo, Hannah Frederick, Shaked Geva, Rebecca Green, Rebecca Greenbaum, Magda Kelleher, Nova Landaeus-Skinner, Vira Lee, Chiara Marinai, Christina Sorrentino Montouri, Antonia Watson, Reina Yamazaki
Trainees: Lauren Ashley, Capri Aspe, William Blanken, Katrina Blose, Megan Buckley, Andre Boyd, Natan Daskal, Fredrick Davis, Janelle deMent, Jacob Garrett, Ashley Johnson, Robert Johnston, Elena Keeny, Mitchell Kilby, Mayo Kurokawa, Atsuko Minoura, Alisha Mitchell, Brandon O'Neal, Katelyn Padgett, Ibrahim Perez, Momoko Sasada, Tomoe Sakuragi, Asami Seki, Elizabeth Shy, Jaqueline Smith, Christina Taylor, Shiho Uchiumi, Asuka Watanabe, Meredith Wilson, Yukina Yamazaki

Jennifer E. Wesnousky
October 30, 2005

The Joffrey Ballet School's open house showcased six groups of students in a progression of age, ability and movement. The first three groups, labled simply as "Ballet 2," "Ballet 3" and "Ballet 4," performed barre excercises, simulating a classroom situation. While instructor Elizabeth D'Anna occasionally whispered the name of an upcoming step, the young performers appeared remarkably poised and self-reliant in spite of their young age- the ballerinas in Ballet 2, after all, appeared to be no more than seven or eight years old! Dressed identically in traditional black leotards, skirts and ballet pink slippers and tights, they did not appear nervous in the least as they maintained identical lines throughout a series of classical steps such as pliés, tendus and dégagés, ending with a charming roll-off.

Slightly more mature in both experience and age, Ballet 3's students danced a more complex continuation with a musical mixture of circular ronde de jambes, skillful strikes of the floor (frappés) and elegant leg movements likearabesques and passés . Featuring only four girls, Ballet 4 then performed the final barre segment, featuring a lovely fondue-attitude section to demonstrate the dancers' impressive flexibility and control. As an extension of the "class" which the Ballet 2 and 3 dancers started, the Ballet 4 girls executed high-kicking battements, followed by a series of beating changements and jetés (small jumps) and the flurry of small steps (bourrees) for which ballerinas are famous.

The Intermediate 1 class dancers were the first to break away from the barre and perform in the center with a combination incorporating pirouettes and tricky, controlled grand pliés (deep knee bends). Although their performance began with the beautiful extensions, arabesques and promenades characteristic of an adagio (slow, controlled combination in the center), it segwayed delightfully into lighter waltz steps and jumps. The audience was next treated to the Junior Trainees, who emerged with facial expressions rife with both elegance and enjoyment. As their slower patterns evolved into more quick and challenging work with multiple beats, their lines, execution and peformance ability were clearly professional as each and every dancer appeared completely in her onstage element.

The final students to perform were the Trainees, as the first class to include both male and female dancers. Their delightful and technically competent pax de deux (partnering section) displayed a maturity beyond their seemingly adolescent years, combining adagio's languid lines and gorgeously explosive leaps in which the men lifted the ladies adeptly above their heads.

To close the afternoon's performance, the audience received the verbal warning that the two young trainees about to perform a part of the Grand Pax de Deux from the Joffrey Ballet School's upcoming performance of "The Nutcracker" had only just begun to practice. Not only, however, did they dancers perform well technically, but related facially and emotionally to one another in such an organic fashion that one critic, at least, was brought to tears. If their performance, then, is any indication of what is to come, there are grand things in store for the Joffrey Ballet School's "Nutcracker" and the Joffrey Ballet School itself.

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