Ballet training schools will be active in May with performances from Ellison Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, and NYCB’s School of American Ballet (SAB). Ballet fans that only attend performances from major companies like ABT and NYCB don’t know what they are missing; student companies offer exciting performances that sometimes rival the established companies as dancers are turned loose to showcase their talents.
Ellison Ballet presents a mixed rep performance at Symphony Space at 96th and Broadway on May 15 and 16. Ellison Ballet is a training school in New York run by Edward Ellison, a former Soloist at San Francisco Ballet. The performance, which commemorates the 10th year of the school, consists of one-act ballet Carmen, as well as excerpts from Petipa’s Don Quixote and Esmeralda, Vainonen’s Flames of Paris, Gzovsky’s Grand Pas Classique, Legat’s Fairy Doll and Bournonville’s Jockey Dance, all of which will be performed by both current students and alums of Ellison Ballet who are currently dancing around the world. Look for my interview with Edward in early May, in which he reflects on a range of topics such as the first 10 years of the school, importance of ballet competitions, and ties to Russian companies.
Gelsey Kirkland Ballet presents Don Quixote at Schimmel Center at Pace University May 14 and 15. The legendary ballerina founded the Gelsey Kirkland Academy in 2010 with a mission to “…foster a rebirth of dramatic storytelling in ballet through our academy programs that provide specialized training for gifted students from around the world.” Gelsey Kirkland Ballet was started in 2013 and has 28 members in the Studio Company, 72 full-time professional training program students, 20 pre-professional after school students, and 50 children’s division students. Kirkland dancers in lead roles are mostly in their late teens. I liked their Nutcracker last December and look forward to another full-length effort from the company.
SAB presents its annual workshop performances Saturday, May 30 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the benefit performance on June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 155 West 65th Street. On the bill are Harlequinade, The Sleeping Beauty pas de deux, the 3rd Regiment “Thunder and Gladiator” from Stars and Stripes, William Tell pas de deux, Valse-Fantaisie, and Fanfare.