The Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Seoul Ballet Theatre of Korea came together over the weekend for a cross-cultural success full of charm, grace and enthusiasm.
Members of each company performed separately and together in a three-part repertory ballet that concluded the dancers’ exchange program: Eight Nevada Ballet members danced with the Seoul Ballet in Korea, and eight members of the Seoul Ballet made the trip to Nevada.
As is true with many repertory programs, the dancers needed to change gears quickly and flawlessly from one dance to the next. Tutus were replaced by sleek unitards and studied indifference by passion in a matter of moments. Classic moves were required in the first piece, but only suggested by the third.
The evening opened with "The Class," choreographed by former artistic director Bruce Steivel.
The selection opened with men and women of the company at the barre, all working at basic moves. Soon, however, the barres disappeared for a "can you top this" sequence with moves worthy of stopping most shows. Principals Zeb Nole and Racheal Hummel-Nole were standouts here. The spirited piece is lengthy, but lively and varied, with every few minutes bringing another lovely tableau or a grand sequence.
After the first intermission, four couples from the Seoul Ballet took the stage in "Remembering of You," a tribute by choreographer James Jeon to Roy Tobias, the artistic director of the Seoul Ballet from 1985 to 2002 who died in 2006.
The 20-minute sequence was performed in an expressionless manner. There was the slow, studied pace of individuals moving from one side of the stage to the other, without any particular motivation; there was rushing; there were emotional pas de deux that combined athleticism and acrobatics with a sure sense of today.
Though the accompanying music was arrhythmic and often atonal (and loud), the ultimate feeling reflected the loss.
After a second intermission, both companies combined for "Inner Moves," also choreographed by Jeon, performed to an unsettling and contemporary score that, again, often was too loud for the hall. It was a decidedly stark, contemporary dance with echoes of the second piece.
It was fascinating to see the dancers from Korea perform, leave the stage, the Nevada Ballet dancers offer similar steps, then members of both companies return to continue the moves that were sometimes raw, sometimes lush, and always challenging and unexpected.REVIEWWhat: Nevada Ballet Theatre’s "East Meets West" When: March 21-22 Where: Artemus Ham Hall, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Grade: A-