For lovers of traditional and contemporary ballet, the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory’s IMPACT 2015 had something for everyone in the program. On Saturday night the students of the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory assisted by the Torrington School of Ballet deftly performed their repertoire to a sold out Nancy Marine Studio Theater.
The evening began with an introduction and welcome by Principal Ballet Master Tim Melady who reminded the audience how the dancing “en pointe” was radical and new at the beginning of the last century when Les Sylphides, the first act in IMPACT, was created. “Pointe was very new, very different then, so the act of going on to toe,” says Melady, “was something spectactular, a magic trick…how did they do it? Dancing has come along way.”
- The performance began with “Les Sylphides”, a non-narrative dance performed to composer Chopin’s work. A sylph “is a mythological spirit of the air” and each dancer glided on stage with grace and beauty. Each moment on stage appeared to be a moment straight out of a Don Perdue photograph. Staged by Denise Limoli, the dancers rested like clouds and moved like the wind. Soloists Jennifer Schwartz, Aja Belcher-Velez, Alexandra Lopez and Alexsander Keeperman all enjoyed moments to shine. The Copryphees and Corps de Ballet were Hope Freidman, Demeri Sutula, Kelsey Morris, Emma Davis, Simone Muhammad, Alma Evertz, Mary Colombie, Cassie Punzo, Isabel Jennings, Kaliece Carter, Katarina Gallagher, Meagan Selinsky, Grace Canfield, Erin Troost, Brenna Budaj, Olivia-Rose Awsumb all performed flawlessly. The point work was exceptional by all dancers.
After the intermission, Artistic Director Victoria Mazzarelli and Joan Kunsch entered the stage and greeted the guests and discussed what was to come, the Sleeping Beauty Suite and the modern dances. Mazzarelli shared that she couldn’t be more proud of all of the dancers, from beginning to end. Kunsch shared that she will be traveling tomorrow to Oslo for an international audition on behalf of the Nutmeg, noting that there are wonderful things on the horizon.
For Act II we were treated to Sleeping Beauty Suite with music from Tchaikovsky. The “Entrada” was staged by Susan Szabo and performed by the Torrington School of Ballet and the young performers danced wonderfully.
The staging of the Suite to follow was created by Eleanor D’Antuono, Kirk Peterson and Tim Melady. First came the GARLAND dance which made effective use of the four garlands. There were four male dancers, Andris Kundzins, Benton Stivali, Julius Taiber, Nicholas Vaccaro and eight female dancers, Jada Schiller, Emma Ziff, Hannah Folan, Emily Etchegary, Natalia Lopez, Janie Mae Westergard, Calpurnia Carter and Makenna Wollmann.
Lilac Fairy Variation provided the opportunity for Kelsey Morris, Ava Mayer and Meagan Selinsky to showcase their talent. It was followed by The Rose Adagio that tells a story of four suitors (Nicholas Gray, Matanya Solomon, Andris Kundzins and Thel Moore) who vie for the attention of ballerina, Kasey Arvold.
Alexsander Keeperman wowed the crowd by performing the Blue Bird-male variation, attempting to defy gravity as a bird in flight.
The Wedding Pas de Deux provided multiple opportunities of crowd pleasing leaps, lifts, pointe work and more as Thel Moore and Alma Evertz shared the stage together The audience applauded during the moments of superb dancing during the most challenging of feats.
Someone in the audience involuntarily said, “Awesome….” as the MOMIX (Moses Pendleton and Cynthia Quinn) choreography began. The piece was called Solar Flares and the joy on the dancers faces beamed rays of light on par with the sun itself. Staged by Rebecca Rasmussen and Tim Melady, the dancers Cassie Punzo, Isabel Jennings, Riley McGregor, Hope Friedman, Jennifer Schwartz, Olivia Rick, Simone Muhammad, Meagan Selinsky, Grace Canfield, Olivia-Rose Awesumb, Nicholas Gray, Taylor Gober made the MOMIX magic come alive.
Kate St. Amand’s “The Arrow of Time” came next as Andris Kundzins, Jada Schiller, Jesse Kulynch-Griffith, Brenna Budaj, Demeri Sutula, Calpurnia Carter, Sarah Meili, Nicholas Vaccaro, Benton Stivali, Emily Etchegary, and Hannah Folan took to the stage to perform the work “inspired by time”. According to St. Amand, the young dancers were involved in the creation of the work and their ownership of it translated into the performance.
The evening’s entertainment culminated in an epic finale entitled “Trance Dance”, a work choreographed by the Nutmeg’s Victoria Mazzarelli. The dancers were given the opportunity of expressing their ballet techniques in a modern style performance. Dancers Sarah Jimenez, Alma Evertz, Alexandra Lopez, Kasey Arvold, Emma Davis, Mary Colombie, Aja Belcher-Velez, Katarina Gallagher, Ava Mayers, Kelsey Morris, Isabel Jennings, Thel Moore, Nick Keeperman and Matanya Solomon gave their all as the evening concluded with thunderous applause.
There may still be a chance to purchase tickets for the March 8th, 2pm show and if you have the opportunity, this performance is not to be missed. Some dancers will perform different roles in the March 8th show.
For more information on the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory visit them HERE.
And purchase tickets at the box office or online HERE.