Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Takes Flight at Symphony Space

April 2, 2015 8:58 PM

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Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov have had their fledgling professional company of 28 dancers off the ground for just over a year now so it's a fair time to assess the preliminary results of their efforts based on this performance. Getting a ballet company started from scratch is an enormous undertaking and I have refrained from making any judgments until now to give them time to find their way. First and most important, their stated mission to prepare dancers for performance in story ballets is an unqualified success. The entire company, from the paid young professionals down to the youngest student from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy was fully committed to telling the story through gesture, intention and mime. The line between professional and student may be blurry here but every gesture was imbued with meaning, delivered with sincerity and feeling. It's a beautiful looking group of dancers taken from all over the country with a smattering from Russia, Brazil, Japan and other locales. They all look healthy and strong, well-rehearsed and technically accomplished. It would certainly be nice to have live music but that is an enormous expense. The Gelsey Kirkland Ballet really can't be criticized when we see so many performances to recorded music from established companies at venues like the Joyce Theater and City Center.

The program at Symphony Space on Friday and Saturday went to the heart of storytelling with two classics by Marius Petipa. The farcical demi-character ballet, Cavalry Halt, was the opener. As staged by GKA teachers Vera Solovyeva and Nikolai Levitsky, this version hewed very closely to the one prese...

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