Busy week for New York studio and student companies, with performances from Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, Ellison Ballet, and Ballet Academy East. I’ve attended performances from all three companies/schools and think they are great, with many talented young dancers. 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 at bargain prices that sometimes rival the established companies as dancers are turned loose to showcase their talents.
Gelsey Kirkland Ballet
Gelsey Kirkland Ballet presents an interesting mixed bill consisting of Leonid Yakobson’s The Wedding Procession; Walpurgis Night from Leonid Lavrovsky, restaged and choreographed by Gelsey Kirkland Ballet’s ballet master Nikolai Levitsky; and Harlequinade on Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2 pm at the GK Arts Center at 29 Jay Street in DUMBO. Brooklyn.
Yakobson’s work is set to Shostakovich’s Piano Trio Number 2 in E minor. It tells the story of a poor groom whose pregnant lover is forced to marry into a wealthier family. Yakobson also choreographed Vestris (made popular by Mikhail Baryshnikov), Pas de Quatre, and Rodin.
Walpurgis Night is the Bachanalian scene from Charles Gounod’s Faust where virgins, satyrs, Pan and Roman Patricians celebrate the festival of Bacchus. The final work is the 19th century classic Harlequinade featuring the mischievous shenanigans of the cunning Harlequin and his adorable Columbine, jealously guarded by her father.
The Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Company is a professional Studio Company founded in 2010, consisting of 13 dancers.
Ellison Ballet presents its Spring Showcase at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center at 248 West 60th Street. On the bill are 26 short works including classics (Giselle, Don Quixote Pas de Deux, variations from Paquita and Chopiniana) to works I am not familiar with (The Reaping, Villanelle, Whelmed, Weight of Darkness). Ellison Ballet is a training school in New York run by Edward Ellison, a former Soloist at San Francisco Ballet.
Ballet Academy East
Ballet Academy East presents its Spring Performance Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College at 59th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. The works will be danced by the BAE Pre-Professional Division students and include a revival and a world premiere by Alan Hineline, two new ballets by Jenna Lavin, and Act III of Coppelia, choreographed by Roger Van Fleteren after Petipa.
The BAE Student Company was formed in 2003 to provide performing opportunities to the aspiring dancers of BAE’s Pre-Professional Ballet Division. The Company performs twice annually, in February and May.