The Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana and Indiana Ballet Company; Pike Performing Arts Center; May 5
Delightful excellence marked this showcase of ensemble, corps and individual talent of standard repertoire by Petipa, Vainonen, Dolin and Folkine, and new works choreographed by RBAI artistic staff. Performances of international folk and character dances were particularly lovely. Choreography by artistic director Alyona Borisovna Yakovleva brings out the best abilities of the academy students, especially displaying humor and an understanding of a culture. The opening “Chinese Dance” staged by instructors for each of the six levels of students set the pace for precision in movement, presenting interesting stage pictures, mime and interaction for characterization and clear understanding of the culture being represented through movement. Emma Canfield and Nick VanAlmelo merit special mention for their fetching portrayal of Yakaleva’s “Russian Souvenirs” set on traditional folk music. Sergey Sergiev’s bold choreography continues to amaze for his demands on soloists’ extensions of body and revelations of inner thoughts, this time to music from Varekai from Cirque du Soleil.