Forget those disgusting "reality" shows: our impressive Survivor, Rochester City Ballet, completed its spring season continuing to dance splendidly. Artistic Director Jamey Leverett choreographed two new works: Gershwin in the Park and Pedestal: For Tim, both danced beautifully. Pedestal, a tribute to RCB founder Tim Draper, proved that Leverett has maintained Draper's high standards. In fact, Leverett's enduringly appealing Respect and Draper & Leverett's complete story-ballet, Firebird, looked better than ever.
Firebird's production design has elegant additions. Next year's Nutcracker will have an opulent redesign. Repertory and engagements are expanding. The Draper Center and RCB have new facilities and bold plans.
New young stars look as promising as those who are now in great ballet companies formerly did with RCB. Pedestal starred Sari Ostrum, back from performing with American Ballet Theatre, and Jonathan Davidsson, who just won a full scholarship to England's Royal Ballet. With a year of high school to go, young Davidsson looks like a future premier danseur: noble, musical, and refined. Ostrum still has spectacular developpes and penche arabesques, but has matured into a more expressive beauty.
Hayley Meier's dazzling pointe-work as the Firebird rivals that of ballerinas in major companies, and her performance has genuine star quality. Adam Kittelberger was her (and Ostrum's) attentive partner in Firebird and the Gershwin piece. In the Alvin Ailey-like Respect, Katie Lally's multiple turns drew gasps and she and Davidsson won applause in their duet. Chelsea Bonosky had a sexy authority beyond her years in "Do Right Woman." And Ballet Master Brian Norris danced strongly, looking as young as his students.
The Bronze Idol, a famed, classic demi-caractere solo from Petipa's La Bayadere, was a perfect choice to show off the extraordinary virtuosity of little, young Jim Nowakoski, who performed it like a bravura male star. I hope he gets a chance to knock out the international judges of a world ballet competition performing this dance.
Certainly, Bronze Idol, Respect, and Firebird are ready to be seen on tour with this company. Even the little kids dancing creatures, dragonflies, butterflies, and whatnot in Firebird attacked their roles with precision and energy and looked perfectly rehearsed. How appropriate these titles are. This is the best ballet company in western New York State. Their performances look nothing like school recitals. They deserve support and admiration from this community.