By Mary O’KEEFE
Sunday was the final performance at the Alex Theatre for the Russian Jazz Ballet of Valery Tereshkin’s “Territory of Jazz.”
First, anything at the Alex is a pleasure to attend. It has an historical feel about it, like theatres should have. Going to the theatre, after all, should always be a special event.
Sunday night’s performance of the Russian Jazz Ballet was, in a word, amazing. When I interviewed the dancers prior to seeing the performance they described their approach to dance as jazz mixed with classical ballet, but it was really so much more.
The music was a history of jazz blending the steamy nightclub sounds of “Fever” to a spirited 1920s dance, flappers and all. The troupe included jazz, ballet, tap and, yes, they even sang. It was a true variety show with dancers grabbing the microphone on occasion to croon a tune.
The dance style was not only jazz, there was also a little bit of rock ’n roll, electronic, tap and a even hip hop.
It is difficult to pick a favorite performance, but I loved the troupe’s version of a traditional belly dance. This was such a unique combination of the old and new. It was done with respect to the tradition but they had really jazzed it up.
My daughter, who is a dancer, attended the performance with me. She has a much more trained eye than I, and spent the entire performance clapping and cheering mixed with a lot of, “Oh, my!”
My advice is to get a ticket next time this troupe is in town. The energy of the dancers and the sheer fun they have on stage is enough to transform a bad day into a great one. Add the amazing professional technique and it is a night very well spent.
But when you go to their performance, be a real Crescenta Valley audience. Anyone who attends a dance performance at CV High School will know exactly what that means. The audience will cheer and really get involved with the dance. Now cheering and yelling is not something one would do at a ballet, but when a performance is fun and the dancers work so hard to get the audience up on their feet, a little cheering is welcomed. So be a CV audience. Get involved – clap, cheer and just have fun.