CCBT sparkles at Diamond Gala
Collin County Ballet Theatre celebrated 10 years of artistic enrichment at its Diamond Gala Celebration, Saturday, March 19 at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Richardson, TX.
The past 10 years have been a shining testament to CCBT Artistic Directors Kirt and Linda Hathaway’s hard work, dedication and, above all, passion for the arts. Saturday night was a care-free celebration of the past and a clear glimpse of what’s yet to come.
The Youth Ensemble Jr. and Sr. Co. dancers put on a dazzling performance in a dream-like number entitled In The Twilight with choreography by Jaime Witts and music by Yann Tiersen. The piece showcased their stellar pointe work, elegant lines and picture-perfect technique. I especially enjoyed the contemporary pointe solo halfway through the piece. I was captivated by the female dancer’s fluidity and the curvaceous way she moved her body. Even on pointe she was able to stay grounded in her movement. Not an easy feat to accomplish.
The first half ended on a high note with a piece called Composition VII. Choreographed by Jason Coosner, a master teacher and choreographer residing in LA., and commissioned by the CCBT, this piece was selected for The Regional Dance America’s Southwest regional gala performance where it received the top choreography award. Performed by seven members of the Sr. Co. dressed in basic black leotards and ballet skirts, Coosner gives us his fresh take on neo-classical ballet. He likes to play around with shapes and formations; consistently moving the dancers from a straight line (upstage to downstage) to two lines, to a zig zag, to a diagonal, and then back to a straight line stretching across the stage. The formations are simple enough but it’s the quick purposeful bourrees on pointe the dancers do to get from point A to point B that make my jaw drop. These ladies moved double time to music by Arvo Part and never once faltered. Coosner’s use of techniques such as Duncan’s gestural movement and Graham’s contractions added to the piece’s modern nature. I got chills from the “stop” gesture that was repeated throughout the piece, when the dancers shot their right palm straight forward and ever so slowly let it fall.
The CCBT also showed off its diversity with Caravan of Wise Hearts. A sassy Latin-infused ballet choreographed by Micki Saba with music by The Gypsy Kings was also performed by members of the Sr. Co. The ladies displayed their fun and flirty sides with over-the-shoulder looks, shoulder rolls and leg swivels. It was definitely the costumes by Saba that made the dance. (Linda Hathaway put together the costumes for almost all the other dances presented that evening.) The full-bodied black and white striped skirts had an opening in the front that enabled the ladies to swish and whip the material and show a lot of leg, adding to the character of the dance. They also incorporated benches into the piece, though these may not have been necessary, as the skirts were props enough themselves.
If the performances given by these extremely talented and driven dancers are any indication, CCBT’s future is looking very bright. As Kirt Hathaway said in his opening speech, “We are looking forward to 10, 20 and many more years.” I couldn’t agree more.
More information about the CCBT is available online at www.ccballet.com.