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Ballet Builders 2005: New Choreographers On Point
-Onstage with the Dancers

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Ballet Builders 2005
Presented by
New Choreographers On Point

Ruth Chester, Executive Director
Michael Kraus, Artistic Director
Meg Gurin-Paul, Associate Artistic Director

Works by: Melissa Barak, Jennifer Hart, Jamey Leverett,
Gina Patterson, Bonnie Scheibman, Alison Seidenstricker, Paul Vasterling
Presented at Florence Gould Hall
(Gould Hall Website)
55 East 59th Street

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 10, 2005
Originally Published on

New Choreographers On Point, founded in 1990 by Ruth Chester and Michael Kraus, assists new choreographers to realize their concepts and helps them perform their works. Ballet Builders helps choreographers in the genre of ballet. Distinguished ballet professionals choose the works to be performed. (Program Notes).

Slow Dance (Premiere): Choreography by Bonnie Scheibman, Music by Felix Mendelssohn (Andante from Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor), Costumes by Deanna Berg, Performed by Lydia Walker and Stephen Straub. Today's matinee performance included this rapturous pas de deux, to evocative Mendelssohn, and the two dancers from the Suzanne Farrell Ballet danced with poise and passion to fulfill the concept of Bonnie Scheibman, a New York-based choreographer.

Whispers (Premiere): Choreography by Alison Seidenstricker, Music by Keiko Matsui (Whispers from the Mirror), Performed by Sharon Milanese, Keiko Nakamura, Tobias Parsons, Dartanion Reed, and Kerry Shea. This upbeat work, conceived by Alison Seidenstricker, Artistic Director of ASEID Contemporary Dance Company, was persuasively and lyrically performed to Keiko Matsui's score by dancers from her Company.

Efimero (New York Premiere): Choreography by Paul Vasterling, Music by J. S. Bach (Adagio e piano sempre from Keyboard Concerto No. 3, Costumes by Aubrey Hyde, Performed by Sadie Harris and Jon Upleger. This work seemed to depict the triumph and torment of young lovers, and Bach's score was visually entrancing, thanks to two dancers from Nashville Ballet and choreographer, Paul Vasterling, its Artistic Director.

Pedestal (New York Premiere): Choreography by Jamey Leverett, Music by Samuel Barber (Adagio for Strings), Original Lighting by Gordon J. Estey, Performed by Sari Ostrum, Jonathan Davidsson, Chelsea Bonosky, Kelsey Buchanan, Jordan Drew, Katie Lally, Hayley Meier, and Brittany Shinay. In memory of Timothy Draper of Rochester City Ballet. I found this piece the most moving and memorable, with its recorded crying and visual grief, choreographed by Jamey Leverett, Artistic Director of Rochester City Ballet, in memory of the company's founder.

The unfolding segments included fascinating choreography that meshed with Barber's renowned Adagio for Strings. It was obvious that the company is still mourning its loss, and this dance was a fitting tribute.

No Defense (New York Premiere): Choreography by Gina Patterson, Music and Lyrics Composed and Performed by Tucker Livingston, Costumes by Jorge Gallardo. Ship without a Sea: Performed by Allisyn Paino and Frank Shott, King & Queen: Performed by Margot Brown and Jim Stein, The Silent Nights: Performed by Gina Patterson and Eric Midgley. This eclectic work, with songs composed by Tucker Livingston, had a rapturous quality, and Gina Patterson, an independent choreographer, who works with Ballet Austin, danced in the third segment, joining five other dancers from Ballet Austin.

Aria (New York Premiere): Choreography by Jennifer Hart, Music by Antonio Vivaldi: Sposa, son disprezzata, Costumes by Tulle and Dye, Performed by Griff Braun and Anna Laghezza. Vivaldi's moving score was danced by two independent performers, and Jennifer Hart, who has contributed to repertoires of companies in Minnesota and California, created a romantic, reverent work.

Romp În' Roll (2004): Choreography by Melissa Barak, Music by Matthew Pierce: Originally titled Crossing, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Sarah Mearns, Tyler Angle, and Vincent Paradiso. Melissa Barak, in the New York City Ballet corps, is a promising young choreographer, with fresh awards and early experience, and her four co-members of the City Ballet corps were sprightly and energetic in this challenging work to Matthew Pierce's interesting score.
Kudos to Michael Kraus and Ruth Chester for Ballet Builders 2005. These were eclectic, thought-provoking, and very satisfying dance performances, crossing genres of Modern, Jazz, and Ballet. And, kudos to the seven tremendously talented choreographers, whose works are reviewed above.

No Defense, Choreographer: Gina Patterson. Ballet Austin Dancers: Eric Midgley and Gina Patterson.
Photo courtesy of Janine Harris

Efimero, Choreographer: Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet dancers: Jon Upleger and Sadie Harris
Photo courtesy of Marianne Leach

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at