RMBallet presents Intervals – The Ballet Russes Reborn

RMBallet presents Intervals – The Ballet Russes Reborn – Gala Celebration
Ballet Arts Studio at City Center
January 29, 2012
All photos by Arthur Coopchik

Joanna Sienkiewicz - RMBallet - Sacrifical Dance - Rite of Spring - Photo by Arthur Coopchik

RMBallet’s inaugural’s performance introduced an exciting new company of expressive dancers.  Their theatrical dance works are both entertaining and compelling.

The studio wall is arranged with an exhibit of boldly colorful paintings created by guest choreographer Myles Marsden for his ballet Pictures at an Exhibition.  The first section is an ensemble piece, in which the viewers arrive at the exhibit, dancing to the Promenade from Mussorgsky’s suite.  A series of divertissements follow – pas de deux and trios that seem to tell the stories of the paintings and the effects they have on those who view them.

Robert Graham and Viktoria Hofstaedter perform Strangers, a stirring pas de deux full of swooning falls and high breathtaking lifts, danced to Pink Floyd’s Breathe.  Every time that Hofstaedter falls forward or wraps herself around Graham, the movement seems to dramatize the spell that an artwork can cast over a viewer, lifting the spirit or inducing a dreamlike state and transporting the viewer to another world to experience a gamut of emotions.  Hofstaedter’s movement is especially lovely and lyrical and Graham seems to channel the force of a powerful work of art.

Catherine Borrone, Analia Farfan and Richard Marsden - Pictures at an Exhibition - Photo by Arthur CoopchikCatherine Borrone, Analia Farfan and Richard Marsden dance the trio Dark Side of the Moon to Pink Floyd’s Time.  The women trade off lovely solos full of yearning that are beautifully danced.  Marsden’s enormous spirit is evident from the most humble gesture to the liveliest tours en l’air.

In the closing section, The Web, Luis Gabriel Zaragoza is crouched low upstage and seems to prowl along the back wall.  Joanna Sienkiewicz and Lola Shapiro fly across the floor as they make their entrances, but soon they are doing bouree turns in place or hopping in arabesque, as if their ability to travel has been slowed down or even arrested.  It left me with the image that they’d been captured in a web spun by the power of the artwork.

I’d never before seen Pictures at an Exhibition presented as a ballet and I was completely charmed by Myles Marsden’s approach to the subject, and his theatrical choreography.

Joanna Sienkiewicz in The Sacrificial Dance from Nijinksy’s Rite of Spring - Photo by Arthur CoopchikJoanna Sienkiewicz delivered an emotion packed performance of The Sacrificial Dance from Nijinksy’s Rite of Spring, realized by Richard Marsden.  Sienkiewicz can move with gossamer ballet grace, but she had no trouble delivering the anguish and the heaviness that this role demands.  She seems driven and helpless at the same time.  She just broke my heart as she jumped in place or pounded the floor, the fierceness of her movement growing more intense as the dance builds.

Richard Marsden’s jazzy Cherokee Ballet was stylish and great fun.  Robert Graham partners the flirtatious Catherine Borrone while Viktoria Hofstaedter and Lola Shapiro provide the counterpoint of a chorus line.  I especially liked the unison section performed by the girls toward the end of the dance.  Very artistic and entertaining.

One of the highlights of the evening was Richard Marsden’s performance of The Cavalier in one of the variations from The Nutcracker.  He is boyish and exuberant in the role and he seemed to be having a great time as he flew across the floor and executed one series of tours after the next.

Analia Farfan in Richard Marsden's Toros - Photo by Arthur Coopchik

The evening closed with Richard Marsden’s sultry Latin flavored piece called Toros, performed to La Rosa Negra.  Joanna Sienkiewicz moves with authority as Negra contrasted with Rosa, danced with jubilation by Analia Farfan, both women partnered by Robert Graham.

I’ve never before seen a ballet company who deliberately set out to pay homage to the traditions of the Ballet Russes and I really liked the premise upon which this evening of short dance pieces was based.   RMBallet’s dances have a wide appeal.  The evening’s program offered plenty for the ballet fan to appreciate, and it could be just as entertaining and deliver just as much of an emotional punch for a person who isn’t familiar with ballet.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where the company will go from here.  This is one to watch!

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