Review: mixed programme was a treat for all
The Bermuda Civic Ballet Summer Selections 2015 was a treat for all. The performance ran at Earl Cameron Theatre from August 6-7 and offered a mixed programme of classical ballet, modern dance and a little hip-hop. Once again, dancers from NYC’s Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre spent five weeks on the Island teaching modern dance and staging two pieces: ‘Me Within Us’ and a personal favourite, ‘Piaf’, inspired by French chanteuse Edith Piaf.
‘Chopin’, a classical piece inspired by the art of Edgar Degas and choreographed by Civic director Coral Waddell, showcased Bermuda’s young talent, while professional dancers from the Royal Ballet of Flanders demonstrated classical bravura in both the pas de deux from ‘Don Quixote’ and the Bluebird pas de deux from ‘The Sleeping Beauty’.
RBF demi-soloist Nancy Osbaldeston performed both female leads; with her fluid lines and velvety smooth technique she was truly captivating on stage. She embodied both roles — bold Kitri with an impressive round of fouetté turns and the fluttering and airy bluebird. Her partner in ‘Don Q’ was none other than Bermuda’s own James Waddell, who has been a company member of the Royal Ballet of Flanders since 2012; Laurie McSherry-Gray, also a demi-soloist with Flanders, was her bluebird mate. Both men received a hearty round of applause mid-variation, particularly for their impressive pirouettes à la seconde and brisse voile, respectively.
Bermudians Malachi Simmons, Alexis Richens, Angelina Hayward Simas and Nikia Manders choreographed the remaining four pieces; as dancers they are impressive and they showed obvious choreographic promise. Social commentary was a strong theme among choreographers this year, Malachi Simmons’s ‘Who We Are’ and Nikia Manders’s ‘Together We Stand’ contained strong messages behind equally strong dance. The show’s standout hip-hop piece, ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ by Angelina Hayward Simas, was a contemporary take on an ‘Annie’ musical number and an excellent choice for a show opener. ‘Up in the Air’ by Alexis Richens was a contemporary piece showcasing dancers with clean lines and dynamic movement.
Bermuda Civic Ballet is to be applauded for giving opportunities for up-and-coming local dancers to showcase not only their dance performance skills, but their choreographic talents as well. Like many choreographic workshops worldwide, this programme offers dancers the ability to collaborate with other dancers from schools across the Island. It also enables them to create a piece while focusing on the whole picture — from the steps to the music, the costumes and the lighting. The pieces were all created within a five-week period.
Summer Selections 2015 closed with a full cast finale and was met a by standing house, marking yet another successful summer for the Bermuda Civic Ballet.