The world of ballet is a strange one, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was probably in a bit over my head after watching the first few minutes of Stars of Today Meet Stars of Tomorrow. The performance itself sounds incredibly promising: it boasts several world renowned dancers from prestigious dance companies such as Kiev Ballet (Ukraine National Theatre Opera and Ballet), the Bolshoi Ballet (Moscow), the English National Ballet (London), and Alberta Ballet (Canada). However, as the first piece, “Pas de Quarte”, played out in front of me, I realized what I had gotten myself into; four female dancers in frilly white dresses frolicked, pranced, and daintily twirled around the stage. With smiles plastered on their faces and wreaths of obnoxious white flowers adorning their hair, the whole thing was a little too sugary and maybe a bit ridiculous for me. It seemed stiff and rigid, and while the dancers were all amazingly talented, executing every twirl, jump, and step to a tee, it was not the most exciting thing to watch.
As the production continued, I quickly grew tired of men and women prancing about in what looked like glorified lingerie, and while I kept trying to tell myself that I should respect and enjoy the art form as it played out in front of me, I just couldn’t help but escape the thought that this whole thing was a bit silly. And then, all the sudden, salvation! As the fourth piece, titled “Cachaca” began, the energy and liveliness emanating from the stage made me wanted to stand up, clap along with the beat of the music, and maybe even start dancing myself! The five female dancers wore sassy knee length floral print dresses, and bounded around the stage, still incorporating many impressive leaps, jumps and twirls. The dancing was much less rigid, and while it still maintained the daintiness that characterizes ballet, it had a certain edge and energy. This was actually fun to watch!
Photo by Rex Tranter
Yet another highlight was a piece called “Qualia”, and it was perhaps the most impressive bit in the entire production. The two dancers, Sarah Lamb and Edward Watson, wore no frills or gaudy sparkles, and instead were stripped down in plain white shorts and t-shirts. For even a novice ballet goer like myself, I knew that this was a serious showcase of talent: both dancers expertly executed their complex moves without hesitation, and the strength exhibited by both dancers was absolutely remarkable. Both dancers were constantly flowing and moving with each other in a series of intricate twirls and twists, and both gracefully contorted themselves in ways I had never thought possible. The passion and emotion the performers seemed to have for each other translated into their dancing, and I was left speechless after their stunning performance. Even if I didn’t understand ballet, I could still respect it, and this piece forced me to see what a beautiful and complicated art form ballet truly was.
In the end, Stars is not for everyone. It is a treat for anyone who is dance enthusiast or a lover of ballet, but otherwise, it is lost on the casual viewer. But even then, there are pieces that don’t require you to be an expert on ballet to marvel at the skill and energy that the dancers showcase on stage. However, if you fall into this category, you’d be much better off seeing a movie or a play, and leave Stars for those who truly enjoy this complex and difficult art form.
March 8th, 2008
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