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Marian Horosko
Arts and Education

Dance Recitals

by Marian Horosko
June 1, 2008
Ah, June…….brides, graduates and dance recitals. Before you recoil at the very thought of going to a June recital of one of the 27,036 studios, 657 college dance or 350 boarding schools that major in dance, relax. There are some good performances out there. Locally, a school of a pre-professional regional company is a good choice.

Preferred is the performance in New York City of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, JKO, which has only been in existence since 2006. When the United States Congress acknowledged ABT as America's National Ballet Company®, the school began giving performances with its young students. They show talent, taste, correctness and joy. JKO's Principal Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens, Artistic Associate are the directors. The methodology of the school follows the French, Italian and Russian pedagogy schools unlike European Academies that teach one system. Most American schools have no accredited teachers in any of the methodologies excerpt for teaching what they have learned. Most have not learned how to teach.

Across the nation ABT has held workshops that result in age-appropriate performances. ABT has also devised a teacher-training program for its alums at NYU that will result in master degrees. (Unlike your manicurist, no license of accreditation is required in our country to teach a dance student. But that is another subject.) Wherever you see one of the performances listed throughout America, go. You won't find the cheer-leading atmosphere of most performances at local schools.

Another remarkable school, independent of any professional company, is under the direction of Valentina Kozlova, whose Dance Conservatory of New York, passionately teaches the Russian Vaganova method as she learned it by being graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet school and as a principal in the Bolshoi Ballet (a sensational defection followed). Her pupils show talent and dedication to the principles of classical ballet…clean, clear execution without athletic exaggerations. In an ambitious yearly performance in a theater, she staged excerpts from the Petipa repertoire of the Russian classic, "Paquita" and new works by invited contemporary choreographers. To this, Koslova adds her sense of physical beauty, charm and age-appropriate casting. Why Petipa? "Because of his elegance, musicality and simplicity." Reason enough.
A young student with Franco Da Vita at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (American Ballet Theatre's new school)

A young student with Franco Da Vita at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (American Ballet Theatre's new school)

Photo © & courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor

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