Above photo: Silas Farley’s In Excelsis. Repertory diversity was the theme at the Ballet Academy East Winter Performance last week at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. Two works by Jenna Lavin ( Les Valseurs and Rondo Grazioso) showed off the students’ classical skills in addition to Charles Askegard’s Salon de Ballet. Two works were more contemporary from Boston Ballet’s Lia Cirio and New York City Ballet’s Silas Farley. Rounding out the bill was a fun contemporary work from former NYCB dancer Amanda Edge. As usual, the dancers demonstrated a high level of dramatic and technical maturity in these innovative and multifaceted works. Having the dancers show their skills in costume twice a year to works from innovative choreographers is a major benefit of BAE, which celebrates its 40th anniversary. My photography website notmydayjobphotography has a number of photos from the dress rehearsal.
Lia Cirio’s Cheshire is set to a lead dancer (Macy Murray) and 12 Corps dancers to a score from Josh Knowles. Josh is a recurring collaborator with Cirio Collective (headed by former American Ballet Theatre and current English National Ballet dancer Jeffrey Ciro) and Boston Ballet. Cheshire, Lia’s second effort, is a moody and mysterious work with Macy Murray as the lead. Studying the group dynamics was fascinating; Macy worked her way in and out of the corps formations, sometimes accepted by the group and sometimes rejected, possibly representing the difficulties in fitting in with society. Macy commanded the stage with her long line with an arabesque that covered much ground, as shown in the photo below.
NYCB dancer Silas Farley’s In Excelsis is an uplifting work set to lush, hymn-type music from Ola Gjelo. The strength of In Excelsis is Silas’ use of the 29 corps dancers as they created various patterns throughout the work, as solo efforts, particularly from Anthony Hoyo, broke up the corps work. An inspirational work. Silas choreographed his first work at age 11 and has created pieces for School of American Ballet’s Student Choreography Workshop, SAB’s Winter Ball, SAB’s Summer Workshop, New York Choreographic Institute, and Columbia Ballet Collaborative.
A wonderful video by Erik Braund captured the warm family atmosphere at BAE with interviews with former students such as ABT’s Hanna Marshall and NYCB’s Erica Pereira along with faculty.
Julia Dubno founded BAE in 1979 and BAE students are on the rosters of major ballet companies worldwide. The Pre-Professional Division faculty, led by BAE (and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet) Artistic Director and former NYCB dancer Darla Hoover, includes former and current dancers Charles Askegard, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Olga Dvorovenko, Gonzalo Garcia, and Cheryl Yeager.