Denver, CO- World Dance Review's Donald k. Atwood MFA, Ph.D. recently reviewed Ballet Ariel's 10th Anniversary Concert. The review was extremely supportive of the company and the show. You can read the entire article by clicking below.
"A stand out in the work was a short variation by Rebecca Gardner, whose stature gives her a magnificent presence and who seems to inherently know where her body is at any one moment and where it should go next."
Regarding "Echelons" about the assassination of Julius Caesar.
Rebecca Gardner’s dancing, and sense of place and character, which made her depiction of Cassius not only real, but a delight to watch. Gardener’s sense of focus makes her eyes as important as her considerable movement technique.
It was a grey day in the middle of April that I pulled up to the Cleo Parker Robinson theater about 10 minutes before the show a little travel weary to see Ballet Ariel's performance. After finding a cubby hole for my luggage I splashed water in my face in the bathroom. Took a few deep breaths a shot of caffeine and then the lights dimmed.
When watching a small company's concert you really have to watch not knowing but accepting where the performers are coming from. A variety of different skill sets, limited rehearsal time, limited resources, etc.
That being said you can also see raw talent, promising talent, developed talent and if your lucky enough an ensemble coming together to take you to another place so that you forget all the above.
Ballet Ariel gave us a little bit of everything that afternoon.
Raw and promising talent was seen from a young chorus member Vivian Villagrana attending the Denver School of the arts, presence was a graceful standout. I hope that she continues to train and perform.
Damara Titmus is a powerful dancer that is working on redeveloping her skill set through training and performing with Ballet Ariel. She has power and lyrical finesse to her movement shown in a solo section in "La Vivandiere" and the dead stabbing lift in 'Echelons" where she played Julius Caesar was quite effective. (Think about trying to do a partner lift while performing death.) Damara is heading in the right direction if she continues to develop she will find herself in a larger company again very soon.
Gregory Gonzalez stage presence is a gift to the performers he works with it was great to see his partner work with Jennifer Begley. I found out later that a nagging injury flared and actually took him out of the rest of the show. I was able to watch some past footage of Greg and realize now that he had a lot more to show us. Gregory also choreographed "Storm" the contemporary piece which I totally dug.
Ryan Seate is new to the dance world, a good solid skill set and a promising future. Here's a little secret in the dance world, any competent guy in the dance world knows that he is a well sought after commodity. Which is why It's so easy for guy dancers to develop ego's larger than their dressing rooms. This guy has the talent and I'm not saying he has an ego I don't know the guy. However, It is my hope that he gets in front of the right teachers and mentors to improve himself. There are a few things in his technique that need to be addressed by the right people. I want to see this guy in a few months and see where he's at.
Every performer has a "blind spot" an underdeveloped part of us that we hide over with other skill sets and ego. It is our ultimate challenge to find the teachers and mentors that can share those weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
Jennifer Begley has a unique look and a strong presence onstage, ranging from the elegant to animal like qualities. One of those performers that you can't seem to take your eyes of off especially when it comes to her contemporary work. My hope is that the ballet world does not miss a chance at developing her talent and that eventually she expands her skill set beyond ballet. I think she has talent that deserves recognition. Right now she should mine the ballet world for all it's worth.
There are several moments when you notice Rebecca Gardner and Jennifer Begley move beautifully and effortlessly together, sometimes it's in a choral movement with other dancers surrounding them and it's obvious when the two were onstage together.
Rebecca Gardner is a standout because of her developed talent, presence and time onstage. Her extensive classical training is obvious to me especially the way her body worked with the music versus against it or dancing to it, her movement was part of the music. Knowing how much time and thought goes into her performance for a "two show" run is one of the reasons that she is a standout to Mr. Atwood. Her dedication to the "craft" is something that you can't fake.
You can't fake 10,000 hours as in Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success", the book's premise is basically mastery comes at about 10,000 hours. Rebecca Gardner's review is a result of time spent in application and development of talent.
When we work with artists we constantly say if you want to be a professional you need to know how to perform consistently at an 8-10 because on a bad day you give an adequate performance (6-7), on a great day you give a magnificent performance and can go off the scale at (9-12). A weekend warrior can come into a show and have a good day and hit a 7 or 8 and think there a god, but when it's bad they go below 5 and crash hard.
That being stated Ballet Ariel is filled with varying skill sets which is why it was so amazing to the audience when the ensemble came together in "Echelons" to tell the story of Julius Caesar, gender reversed so well that the audience fell into the story and the tragedy of the performance. That was the moment that the company hit its stride.
I would love to see Ballet Ariel do more of that. Take us to another place.
Congratulations to a great company of vibrant dancers. Ilena Norton for 10 years, Patricia Renzetti and Gregory Gonzalez. I wish you continued success.
David Kamatoy is an Entertainer, Entrepreneur and Email Marketing Master. He took his first dance class at 5 and then continued to dance in various musicals and theatrical settings. Training for a few years in ballet and jazz brought him to work for the last 18 years in Alexander Technique with Ari Gil. He and Ari continued to apply Alexander Techniques "correct optimized movement" to his juggling, martial arts, performance and musical skill sets. David Kamatoy is currently working with Ari Gil to promote his techniques centered around the Alexander Technique. More Information Click Here.