Stewart's new ballets show promise

April 19, 1993|By J.L. Conklin | J.L. Conklin,Contributing Writer

While an engaging work, Artistic Director Edward Stewart's "Snow White," wasn't always theatrically coherent. Several dramatic questions were left hanging in this new ballet, presented as the second act of Ballet Theatre of Annapolis' spring program, yet there were enough solid dancing and winsome performances by this personable company to offset any flawed logic or unique interpretation of the fairy tale.

Mr. Stewart's enjoyable one-act ballet in six scenes with a lengthy prologue benefited from sophisticated staging, clever costuming (with more than a passing nod to Disney) and the fine performances of Sandra Prehoda as Snow White, Vyacheslav Mesropov as her Prince, Denise Taff as the Witch and Lisa Bogert as the wicked Queen. The roles of the Seven Dwarfs were given noteworthy performances by young student dancers Jillian Barber, Carolyn Lockhart, Jennifer Meyers, Anne LaFleur, Kellie Shanahan, Leah Smearman and Shannon Siriano.

Part of the charm and skill of Mr. Stewart's choreography is his ability to present both accomplished and aspiring dancers together in an interesting and entertaining production.

Scene Two, in which Snow White wandered through the forest while children danced as butterflies, flowers, fairies, animals, birds and trees, drew appreciative response from the audience, as did Scene Four, when the evil Queen transformed herself into the Witch. The ensuing dance by Ms. Taff was thoroughly arresting and agreeable.

The final pas de deux between Ms. Prehoda and Mr. Mesropov was a nicely choreographed duet that gave evidence of his exceptional technical skills and brought the work to its happy ending.

The first half of this weekend's program contained an excerpt from "Giselle," danced heartily by Laura Babel and Mr. Mesropov, and "Longings II," an expressionistic trio that featured Leslie Bradley, Ethel Leslie and Bradley Parquette. Mr. Stewart also gave us a glimpse at an "untitled work in progress" to music by Brad Fiedel.

While it is often unfair to critically assess a work that is still in the throes of creation, at first glance Mr. Stewart is on to something exciting. From the opening solo by Mr. Mesropov and stunning duet by David Miller and Karla Brooks to the final ensemble, the work has an exotic and intriguing atmosphere overlaid with sensual physicality. Mr. Stewart has certainly given his audiences a dance to anticipate.

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