The Opening of the Joffrey Ballet School’s New Home in Northridge
July 30th, 2012 · 4 Comments
By Geoffrey Maingart Los Angeles, CA(Hollywood Today)7/30/12/—The new Joffrey West Ballet School at the Valley Performing Arts Center held it grand opening performance and fund-raiser on Friday, July 27th. The event at the spectacular new performing arts center was organized by Press Center.Com and marks the beginning of this important addition to our cultural community. The Joffrey Ballet is one of the major companies in the United States and now with their new home at the valley Performing Arts Center they have one of the finest state of the art dance schools in the world under the artistic direction of Alice Alyse who created for this opening event a magnificent introduction of these fine student dancers ranging in age from 11 years old and up. Even more extraordinary for this writer was the fact that the eleven choreographies presented were prepared in twelve days or less. This was a Hollywood event with many actors and celebrities in attendance and an elegant red carpet reception two hours before the performance. The brilliant Spanish painter Domingo Zapata also had an exhibition of his paintings in the gallery at the reception. In Joffrey tradition the students have the opportunity to work and train with a star faculty and some of the best choreographers in the world. Joffrey of New York is now here in Los Angeles and should be supported by all local ballet and dance enthusiasts. The performance began with “Rondo” choreographed by Denise Biggi, the music was the 3rd movement of the 3rd piano concerto by Beethoven. This was a classical ballet and beautifully performed by four soloists and a corps de ballet. The stage at the Arts Center is perfect for dance with the front of the platform low enough so that even the audience members in the front have a level view of the performance. The acoustics rival Disney Hall and this venue should now bring in some of the great ensembles of the world. The 2nd work was “Ripples of a Dream” choreographed by Ivy Chen with fabulous Chinese music, Ten Drum: Reappearance of Thunderbolt. This was performed with double long white silk sleeves known as water sleeves. The performance was beautiful with the sleeves as streamers creating a whirl of movement by the dancers. The 3rd piece was “Planets Dancing” choreographed by Asha Di Nangrat and the music was “Bat For Lashes, Skrillex.”This was a modern dance with a pop sound and great energy. It was amazing that these choreographies were prepared in so brief a time. This makes the talent in this ballet troupe even more impressive. The 4th work was “Burning Inferno” choreographed by Dante Sevin with music by Katy Perry and Dante Sevin. This was a Hip Hop piece with some very young girls who were brilliant and even a break dance style with a large group of dancers, again a terrific performance. This was followed by the 5th work, “Odelesques from the Ballet Le Corsaire with music by Adam and pianist Steve Lockwood. Performed by three young dancers, it was greeted by applause as the dancers alternated. The young Nicole Ishimaru was wonderful in the performance. The 6th work and last of the first half was “Playtime”choreographed by Alice Alyse with music by DJ Dojah. This included a great performance by a young female dancer dressed in yellow in front of the curtain who then joins her “friends”in a wonderful choreography by the artistic director with a disco music sound. The 2nd half began with a great choreography by Julie Bour called “Sleep”. The choreography began with a young girl in bed in a dream sequence joining the other dancers and ending with her falling asleep. This and other dances truly showed off the versatility of the dancers in all styles from classical ballet to modern and jazz dancing. The 2nd performance of this half was accompanied by the singing of Frank Sinatra in 3 famous songs, I’ve Got The World on a String, Witchcraft, and New York, New York. The choreography by Jonathan Sharp included a duet with Nicole Ishimaru, who I believe can look forward to a brilliant career and Ricardo Urbina. This was a delightful choreography and included a large group of dancers in a great performance. Costumes and visual ideas were wonderful. The 3rd work was “Ling-Go” and one of my favorites of the evening, choreographed by Josie Walsh with music by Amon Tobin. With the dancers in black costumes this had a real Hollywood look to it in a jazzy ballet and again wonderfully performed with a great ending. The variety presented throughout the evening was excellent. Some of the dancers said that they auditioned for various roles as late as six days before the performance. That is very impressive. The 4th dance was “Sing It” choreographed by Mandy Moore and the music was Sing with a Swing. This was a celebration of jazz dancing and Big Bang music and cold have been right out of the Cotton Club with Cab Calloway. The routine was clever with bowler hats and the youngest dancers were especially delightful. The last work was “Eyes,”with music by Kaskade Coachella and choreographed by Mia Michaels. For this they opened all of the backdrops on the stage and used many props leading to a great climax for a brilliant and delightful evening. This dance showed off the physicality of many of the dancers and left the audience on their feet. I hope that this will be the first of many great performances by this now local great school of dance and ballet. The Joffrey Ballet has always represented the highest standards with this being no exception. With the addition of live music it will be even greater and the presentation by Press House was well organized and beautifully presented. The performance was to include collaboration with Cirque du Soleil which sadly did not happen because of injuries with the Soleil group. Even so the performance gave everyone a preview of the brilliant work of Alice Alyse. With even more help and support from the community one can only imagine what she will bring to the performances in the future.