by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic~
Artistic Director Valentina Kozlova, the eminent former ballerina from the Bolshoi Ballet, offered her welcomed annual spring performance gala for students at Symphony Space, New York City, last last month.
In a smorgasbord of dances from the classical repertory, both tiny tots in leotards and tutus, to seasoned performances from professionals from ABT turned the evening into a special magic.
Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory Performance Project mission is “to foster classical dance and disseminate its education, both as a traditional value and everyday performance art form. Through classroom work, scholarships, performance presentation, the commissioning of new choreography, and its newest initiative, the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition (VKIBC), formerly known as the Boston International Ballet Competition, (June 27-30: Registration currently open) DDPP strives to nurture, educate, and promote budding artists.”
Two very obvious standouts of this mission were exemplified in the beauty and grace of Veronika Verterich and Sara Steele–graduates who are off to the Dutch National Ballet and Tulsa, respectively. We wish them well, and hope to see more of them in the future.
Both Ms Verterich and Ms. Steele are equally adept in the classical repertory, as well as in contemporary dance modes. For Verterich, her Don Quixote Pas de Duex with ABT’s Alex Hammoudi was both fiery and well performed. An unusually gifted dancer with great dynamics, long line, and pliant body Verterich showed refined and confident ability once again with Cesar Reyes Lopez in Primera Vez, a contemporary piece. Ms Steele, dignified, with elegant charm, danced the Sleeping Beauty Pas de Duex with strong and attentive Craig Salstein, from ABT, to the familiar Tchaikovsky music, and closed the evening with a contemporary piece, Les Sabres du Paradis, where she displayed another dimension in her dramatic movement abilities in a dark, and apocalyptic piece by Nina Buisson and Cesar Reyes Lopez.
The evening was filled with great moments. Hannah Park and Choong Hoon Lee were flawless in the Le Corsaire Pas de Duex; Ms Park confident, graceful, and seemingly with ease captured the character of Medora, the slave girl, while Mr. Lee performed the iconic bravura dance, incidentally, the role Ethan Stiefel offered as his farewell piece at ABT last year, with concentrated commitment and artistic magic.
Jack Furlong and Darrah Brewster were winsome in Flames of Paris Pas de Duex, to the quick tempi of the music by Boris Asafiev, with Furlong showing strength, stamina and speed in this challanging piece, as well as his La Fille Mal Gardee, again danced beautifully with Brewster. Ms. Brewster showed a lot of promise with their abundant charm, daring, and fine line.
Lastly, Juex d’Eau choreographed by Nina Buisson and Olga Verterich was one of the most unusual and sensual pieces of the varied evening, in a word, beguiling. A contemporary dance with themes of water, waves and natural elements, and to music by Henri Torque and Tchaikovsky, proved to be a beautiful combination of lyrical and poetic movement patterns danced by the large and engaged cast of dancers.
The very talented students of VKDNYC showed what exposure to dedicated training can produce, as the two star graduates graced the stage.
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Ms Kozlova continues with her International Ballet Competition(VKIBC) in New York, June 27-30, showcasing dancers from around the world, and will no doubt be a grand event and great opportunity for emerging talent, and audiences alike.
Dance Conservatory Performance Project presented the students of VKDCNY in the Annual Spring Gala at Symphony Space on Saturday, April 20 Performances featured excerpts from Raymonda, Don Quixote, Flames of Paris, Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, La Fille Mal Gardée and a new contemporary ensemble piece choreographed by Nina Buisson.
The Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition will take place on June 27 to 30 New York City in the Concert Hall of LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, right behind Lincoln Center, home of American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet.