WRITTEN BY ALISON SKILTON
The Dance at Half-Past Twelve Series welcomed the Brooklyn Ballet today, April 11, in Founders Hall.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the dance company has performed at St. Francis.
The ballet went through a unique program that focused on meshing together various forms of dance—jazz, street, hip-hop, interpretative—and fused them with traditional ballet.
There were several interesting interpretations of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet “The Nutcracker,” which the company renamed “The Brooklyn Nutcracker.” This section of the program began with an attention-grabbing portrayal of a movement titled “Mechanical Doll Dance,” which tells the story of a man trying to revive a dancer who looks like a mannequin.
The man, played by street dancer Bobby “Anime” Major, gradually changes the mannequins robotic-like motions into the fluid beauty of a traditional ballerina. The progression of the dancer’s movements, played by ballerina Christine Sawyer, and Major’s intense desire to revive her were palpable.
The program also included the famous “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker”—with the Brooklyn Ballet’s unique twist on it—choreographed and performed by ballerina Miku Kawamura.
Kawamura’s performance was followed by another piece from The Brooklyn Nutcracker titled “Marzipans/Marzipettes” which proved to be a microcosmic representation of the Brooklyn Ballet’s mission to create unique, exciting modern ballet.
Three traditional ballerinas pirouetted and gracefully danced around the stage as two performers alongside them stomped out a traditional African dance. The juxtaposition of the two forms was quite a visual experience for the audience.
Another fascinating piece from the performance featured a single performer, Michael “Big Mike” Fields, doing an interpretive rendition of The Sound of Music’s “The Lonely Goatherd.” He caricatured each singer’s voice in the piece and let his body react and flow to the changes in the music.
The program ended with “Lost and Found,” a work in progress that the ballet performed at St. Francis for the first time. The dancers in this piece were accompanied by cellist Macolm Parson, who also composed the music for the piece.
Brooklyn Ballet’s Artistic Director Lynn Parkerson commented on the performance, noting that not even she had seen the piece’s full performance yet. “We always get to try new things here. It’s fantastic.”
The ballet’s performance was overall very entertaining, creative, and expressive. Though the performers undoubtedly train rigorously for their performances, the show’s vibe is organic and free-flowing. The interaction between the male and female dancers and their respective styles kept the ballet flowing and told the audience an evocative and passionate series of stories.