"Raymonda Suite", "Leaves are Fading Pas de Deux", "Ballebille", "Flames of Paris", "Pas de Quatre" "Cavalry Halt"
Gelsey Kirkland Ballet
Peter Norton Symphony Space
March 7, 2014
by Mary Cargill
copyright © 2014 by Mary Cargill
Gelsey Kirkland established a ballet school in 2010, with an emphasis the dramatic aspect of dance; she has classes in mime and character dance, two arts which are often shortchanged in today's emphasis on strength and power. This year, she has established a company, made up of both professionals and students from the school, with an emphasis on those older virtues. Their second performance (a "Nutcracker" last year was the company debut), showed a well-trained, stylish group of dancers, which saved the best for last. "Cavalry Halt" (originally "Halte de Cavalrie") is an 1896 one-act Petipa comedy, which was revived for the Maly Ballet in 1968 by Pyotr Gusev. There was not much information on the genealogy of the Kirkland production, and the already simple story seems to have been smoothed out (in the original libretto the heroine, Marie, had a father). It is set in an Austrian village, apparently bordering on the town of Swanhilda and Franz, where happy young peasants have banished the grownups so they can spend the day dancing and frolicking. Philipp and Maria, the hero and heroine (Dawn Gierling and Anderson Souza), dance and frolic with glorious abandon. In their opening dance they wrap themselves up in ribbons, related, perhaps, to Ashton's more complex ribbon embroidery in his pastoral "La Fille." (Certainly, Tamara Karsavina, who encouraged Ashton to re-choreograph the old ballet, would have known "Halte", so there may be a connection between the two.)