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The School of American Ballet’s Workshop Performances, June 2 matinee and evening; June 5, 2012

By Tobi Tobias
The Arts Journal
Photograph by Paul Kolnik
June 7, 2012

Students at the School of American Ballet and the in-group that cares about it call it, simply, The School, as if it had no equals. So far it doesn’t, at least in the States. It’s the training academy of the New York City Ballet, which skims off the cream—according to its particular needs and taste, of course—and releases the others to companies across the United States and sometimes around the world. Every spring it presents three of what it calls Workshop Performances (same program, alternating casts in the principal roles) so those interested can get a good look at the teen-age pre-professionals, for many of whom the very next step is to find a job.

As usual, once a spectator recovers from the shock of seeing these painstakingly trained and lavishly accomplished late adolescents, he or she will recognize—or at least sense—the particular qualities of an SAB “product.” At SAB, some of them shepherded from childhood as well as through adolescence, the students learn what the celebrated 18th-century dance artist Jean-Georges Noverre itemized as the basics of dancing: to bend, to stretch, to rise, to leap, to dart, to glide, to turn. They learn to perform infinite elaborations of these basics with exactitude, profound musicality, grace, style, and assurance—all effort concealed. (George Balanchine, who established the school even before forming his first company, understood dancing as the work of angels, anonymous and transcendent.)

Read the entire story: http://www.artsjournal.com/tobias/2012/06/wunderkinder.html

© 2012 Tobi Tobias

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