ABT Detroit Summer Student Performance--July 20, 2007
"Their enthusiasm and dedication are certainly palpable in the theatre today !"
So states the program accurately predicting these fine young dancers' performances.
The American Ballet Theater's Detroit Summer Intensive celebrated it's Tenth Anniversary with it's annual performance. I've attended these performances four years in a row. I really don't like to use the word "best", but I do feel that this was the "best" in the four years that I've attended.
'Very Committed and Enthusiastic'----(almost what the program says) is how I would describe what impressed me most about these young dancers and it showed in a very fine effort.
Several months ago I saw a wonderful hour of graduation exercises at the Vaganova in Saint Petersburg, Russia. To be impressed by a student group after this is exciting for me. They are not the Vaganova, but they were quite good and very enjoyable.
"These dedicated teachers offer the young dancers a comprehensive training program focused not only on classical ballet technique, but pointe work, partnering, ABT repertory, modern dance, hip hop, character dance, Pilates, dance history, yoga, music appreciation, nutrition and acting." So again says the program and all this is done in four weeks.
Sleeping Beauty-Act I--Garland Dance
Joy (Samantha Shelton)
La Bayadere-Act II
Don Quixote--Act I
Don Quixote--Act II--The Dream
Graduation Ball (David Lichine)
Allegrassai (Anh Nguyen)
Carmen Suite (Eliska Mayer)
The Fourth Session (Guiseppe Canale)
Mozart (Melissa Allen)
It mostly had a classical, lyrical feel with all dances except one using well-known classical or ballet music.
For those of you who are observers of 'large' extensions I once again didn't see a single six o'clock (one leg straight up). The weight condition of many of the girls seemed reasonably normal, which I think is very important.
Of the dances almost half was a variety of 'modern' style--a lot to learn in four weeks. One dance that I found very charming is David Lichine's "Graduation Ball" about a group of adolescent girls and boys getting together for the first time.
A dancer l liked very much among the many very fine dancers is Samantha Bell, who danced Kitri in The Dream Scene from Don Quixote. She had a lovely articulation and control of her moves. There was also a little boy with great spins and other moves along with a ton of personality, who danced around the toreadors in Act I of Don Quixote. I don't know his name but he could well be a major talent someday.
The dances were very enjoyable. All the dancing flowed along almost seamlessly. The highlight dancers were generally very good. All the dancers had a youthful enthusiasm that gave a really nice feeling to what they were doing.
For me it was really a very pleasant display of fine young dancing and a very pleasant surprise. Maybe ABT would consider establishing an 'annex' in Detroit or maybe this is it's annex. Once a year is certainly better than nothing. ABT really did a wonderful and very well received series of "Swan Lake" performances here in March and this display of ABT guided young talent was very fine as well.
It surely would be nice to have a major dance company's presence here as often as possible.
Two very pleasant parents sitting in front of me told me that their daughter 'really' wants to be a professional dancer. I think that she is one of many from what I saw. I wish them all much happiness and success.