Gelsey Kirkland Ballet (GKB) is unusual because it is a studio company without a parent company. Other studio companies, designed to train young dancers before entering a major company, are affiliates of larger companies such as ABT, Washington Ballet, and Colorado Ballet. Without an affiliation to a larger ballet company, GKB is like an independent minor league baseball team.
Although an unaffiliated studio ballet company, some of the individual performances by GKB are worthy of the ballet big leagues. Such was the case Saturday afternoon with Nina Yoshida and Koki Yamaguchi as Marie and the Nutcracker Prince, respectively in the GKB Nutcracker. I’ve been impressed with Koki’s previous performances as the energetic Pan in Walpurgis Night and as Nutcracker last year. The 21-year old trained at Tokyo Ballet School and Rudra Bejart School in Switzerland, joining GKB last year. Koki was very impressive in the Saturday matinee, putting on display his great technique and leaping ability. In his solo in the Grand Pas de Deux, he displayed nice high double tours to a deep plié, big split double cabriole derriére, and gigantic grand jetés in attitude, performed with nice phrasing. His dancing was at a higher level than some dancers I’ve seen at major companies, although he stumbled on his landings on his double assemblés, performed better last year. In addition to his solos, he was an attentive, strong, and effective partner. This Vimeo video below shows his impressive skills.
18-year old Nina, from New York City, gave a solid performance, with little-girl charm in Act I. She has nice technique and extension and, with time, her stage presence will grow. Nina and Koki’s Grand Pas de Deux was good, with Nina performing a solid fouetté section in her solo.
The company gave another great performance Saturday afternoon. I previously reviewed the opening Thursday performance. In addition to my previous comments on the enjoyable doll and divertissement dances, I liked the Flutes Dance with Georgia Brinkman, Sasha, Newman-Oktan, and Risako Toda.