Gelsey Kirkland Ballet generally performs a great Nutcracker this time of year. I enjoyed the work immensely over the past three years, filled with outstanding young talent (see my reviews in 2016, 2015, 2014). However, this year, dancers in the holiday Kirkland performance were students from her academy. Not sure of the status of Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, but I hope it returns to action as it introduced New York audiences to rarely seen works, particularly from the Soviet era.
The holiday performance last week consisted of students from Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Ballet in Nutcracker Sweets, along with various segments from classic works. The dancing of the students, all in their teens, was at a high level, demonstrating advanced technique. Check out photos from the Wednesday dress rehearsal on my photography website notmydayjobphotography.com. A few highlights:
- Ryunosuke Masaki attacked the Spanish dance in Nutcracker Thursday with precision and pizzaz, with great matador flair. I also caught him in the Grand Pas de Deux in dress rehearsal. Tall and with a nice line, he has very high, controlled double tours to a deep plié along with great separation double cabriole derriére. Very nice.
- Carlie Clemmerson showed off great control on her turns in an effective solo from Paquita with quarter turns on her fouetté turns.
- Yuka Miura gave a nice Diamond Variation from Sleeping Beauty filled with nuance and delicacy. Likewise Nanami Nakajima was entertaining in a solo from Paquita.
- Hank Chieh Hung Hsueh, Brian Valencia, Mayuno Kubo, and John Lefkowitz hammed it up in the campy Basque Dance from Flames of Paris. With blaring horns and frenetic energy, this was the highlight of the evening.
- I usually think the Marzipan dance from Nutcracker is boring, but Amanda Arnaud, Mayuno Kubo, and Amelia Aroneo brought the Flutes dance to life with nice musicality.
- John Lefkowitz was high-flying in the Chinese dance from Nutcracker with nice pike jumps and high double tours to second position. Amanda Hwang complemented him well.
- On Thursday, Evelyn Au and David-Shih-Yuan Hung were featured in the Grand Pas de Deux. Both look like they are young teenagers, but danced the role with maturity. The highlight of Evelyn’s solo was a fouetté turn section, done with better control than I’ve seen from several ABT Principal Dancers.