Dance is alive and well in Allen, TX. Over the weekend local dance companies, including the Allen Civic Ballet, Contemporary Ballet Dallas, Fairbank Dance Theatre, Beacham Dance Theater and Rhythm Junkies took to the stage at the 12th annual Allen Dance Festival, which expanded to holding performances on both Saturday and Sunday this year.
Saturday evening began on a light note with excerpts from the Prologue of The Sleeping Beauty performed by members of the Allen Civic Ballet. The colorful costumes drew ooh’s and ahh’s from the audience, and the fairies donning crowns and wands drew squeals of delight from young girls. As far as the performance itself went, while the dancers’ fluidity (especially the fairies) and transitions in between movements need some work, the technique was “on pointe” (pun intended). But these ladies are young and still developing their style; as they grow they will learn how to turn their weaknesses into strengths.
One of the advantages of going to a festival such as this is seeing the dancers perform more than once. The same dancers who performed the fairy roles in The Sleeping Beauty also performed in GO!, a contemporary ballet inspired by a NASCAR race. If I hadn’t recognized their faces, I wouldn’t have known it was the same dancers in both pieces. In GO! all five dancers moved with confidence; elongating their movements and pushing themselves further on pointe. It was fast-paced and spatially exciting to watch.
Contemporary Ballet Dallas mixed things up with a lyrical jazz piece entitled A Round of Regulars. The scene opens on a couple sitting at a table enjoying a romantic dinner and a lone female drinking her sorrows away at the next. The lone female dances a smooth jazz routine dripping with anger and longing to music by Leslie Brown. Her movements were at times frantic, but she also had some smooth moments like her double pirouette into an axle and her floor work. The couple’s duet was sweet and cheeky. Lots of hand holding, sly looks over the shoulder and standard partnering. The dancers’ commitment to their characters and their proficient technique made this piece stand out from the more traditional ballet pieces in the evening.
Fairbank Dance Theatre and balletfoundation for the XXI century also showcased their talents. Fairbank’s Gershwin was light-hearted and youthful. Balletfoundation’s Winter was a charming, somewhat literal portrayal of the season changes and the coming of winter.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend the Sunday performance. But I am excited to see what will happen next year as the Allen Dance Festival continues to pick up momentum.