Annapolis ballet, chorale thrill audience


October 21, 1991|By J. L. Conklin

In a review Monday of the Ballet Theatre of Annapolis, dancer Ethel Leslie was misidentified.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The Ballet Theatre of Annapolis and the Annapolis Chorale joined their considerable talents last weekend to uplift their audience at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. At the close of "The Eleventh Commandment," the ballet by artistic director Edward Stewart, the audience stood and applauded both the dancing and the music.

Although "The Eleventh Commandment" was the dance that brought the audience to its feet, the strongest of the four diverse works shown by the company belonged to New York City choreographer Jennifer Muller, who set her contemporary dance, arm in arm in arm . . .", on the company for last summer's Artscape performance.


Seen last weekend with Ms. Muller's own company member, John Brooks, replacing Luke Loy (who was injured), the dance was based on accumulated movements for the five dancers, who included Sandra Prehoda, David Miller, Leslie Bradley and Ethel Bradley. A solo becomes a duet, becomes a trio, a quartet, until all five are dancing and celebrating their own presence. The work could end here, but Ms. Muller pushes at the edges of the dance. Conflict is introduced, allegiances formed and dissolved until the core/corps is reduced to a single dancer.

The Grand Pas de Deux from "Le Corsaire," conscientiously danced by Cynthia Bernshausen and J. Anibal Macedo, and Mr. Stewart's neatly geometric opening dance, "Masquerade," rounded out the classical offerings of the program.

"The Eleventh Commandment," Mr. Stewart's glib fable of three monks who battle the temptations of the flesh, closed the program with a flourish. The ballet has no character development, no deep psychological insight, yet Mr. Stewart understands the formula that engages his audiences in the dance. He keeps everything choreographically simple and easy to read, and his dancers are technically tidy performers.

The intrinsic drama of Carl Orff's score, "Carmina Burana," given life through the wonderful voices of the Annapolis Chorale under the very visible musical direction of J. Ernest Green (the theater has no pit), swept Mr. Stewart's hyper-drama along on a stirring musical current that brought the audience to its feet.

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