Smiling future ballerinas took the stage during the Ballet West Conservatory's annual spring concert Friday.
There were 13 selections and one musical number that made up the evening. And in the tradition of the conservatory, there weren't a lot of easy steps.Timing, for the most part, was accurate. The lines were mostly straight and the dancers knew the choreography and executed the sometimes winding works in an almost effortless way.
The Intermediate II class opened the performance with a traditional demonstration choreographed by conservatory assistant director Sharee Lane. Variations that focused on the arms (port de bras) and leaps (sautes) were among the movements.
Kenna Draxton, who recently returned from the Prix de Lausanne competition in Switzerland, danced two of those solos - the woman's segment of George Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux" and an excerpt from Val Ca-ni-pa-ro-li's "Lambarena."
Draxton's movements in the Balanchine work was right on, quick and strong. The shortened "Lam-ba-re-na" was fine, as well. However, it was a bit abrupt in its ending, which couldn't be helped because of the various movements of the full-length original work.
Ballet West's Maggie Wright, who first danced the work two seasons ago, staged the work.
Just before "Lambarena," Jaquel Charlesworth danced out the first variation of Marius Petipa's "Le Corsaire's Le Jardin Animee."
Jenni Cushing did "Le Corsaire's" second variation and Christin Arthur danced Petipa's "Sleeping Beauty's Bluebird Variation."
And Heather Aagard executed Petipa's first variation of the "Swan Lake Pas de Trois."
The solo that really grabbed the audience was Megan Fairchild's working of the "Swan Lake Pas de Trois' " second variation.
Fairchild's playfulness and fluent delivery added a subtle and intriguing personality to the role.
Rounding off the "Swan Lake" selections, which were all staged by Deborah Dobson Kage, was the "Les Deux Cygnes Variation" danced by Melissa Sharples and Elizabeth Willoughby.
Conservatory faculty and Ballet West soloist Peter Christie choreographed the enjoyably fun "Plums, Pears and Pomegranates" especially for his dancers.
"Plums" was a nice little work that playfully mingled classical and contemporary ballet.
Ukranian folk and character dancing peeked through the line dances of Dolores Wacko's "Ukranian Kozachok."
Lane and Joy Ludlow's choreography of "Merlitons" was a treat.
And since the music - Tchaikovsky, again - is so recognizable, there was a bit of nostalgia that flowed through the work.
Balanchine's 20-dancer-strong, grande "Serenade" capped things off.
One musical work, Chopin's Ballade No. 1, was performed by conservatory accompanist Anna Fettser, who just recently arrived from Russia.
She is concert pianist quality!