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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Joffrey Ensemble Dancers

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 2, 2004
Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College
899 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(212) 237-8000

About the Author:

Joffrey Ensemble Dancers

Elie Lazar, Artistic Director and Company Teacher
(See Interview with Elie Lazar)
(See Review of Joffrey Ballet School 50th Anniversary Gala)

Edith D'Addario, General Director and Coach

Eleanor D'Antuono, Coach, Artistic Advisor, and General Director
Francesca Corkle, Artistic Advisor
Trinette Singleton, Artistic Advisor
John Magnus, Artistic Advisor
Kristina Kloss, Stage Manager/Lighting Designer

The Company: Ivanova Aguilar, Kyle Coffman, Alison Dubsky, Rafael Ferreras, Angelo Giglio, Jung Min Lee, Vincent Martinez, Atsuko Minoura, Raul Peinado, Leah Rothschild, and Juliana Scarpelli

Press and Public Relations, Audrey Ross

John Jay College Theater
10th Avenue and 59th Street

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 2, 2004

Joffrey Ensemble Dancers are the official company of the Joffrey Ballet School. Members of Joffrey Ensemble Dancers are chosen from the Joffrey Ballet School, founded in 1952, and directed by Edith D'Addario since 1961. Artistic Director, Elie Lazar, created this troupe in 2000, to enable young dancers to transition to a professional career. He chooses a Repertoire that is comprised of works by various choreographers and styles of dance. His dancers come from many countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Russia. This Company tours around the country in states, such as Georgia, North Carolina, and Vermont. They are also in the schools with educational outreach programs and master classes. Joffrey Ensemble Dancers specialize in classic technique with a contemporary motif.

Elie Lazar, Artistic Director and Choreographer, from Rehovot, Israel, is a New Jersey resident and a Principal Dancer with the New Jersey Ballet. He has danced with virtuosity in roles choreographed by Balanchine. He has also appeared with the Israel National Opera, the Haifa Ballet, and the Inbar Dance Company. Mr. Lazar has choreographed specific works for this Ensemble and has designed a lecture demonstrations, workshops, and summer residencies. He also teaches at Broadway Dance Center and Tokyo City Ballet. (Program Notes).

Layers (1998) New York Premiere: Choreography by Elie Lazar, Music by Mozart, Costumes by Paul H. McRae, performed by Alison Dubsky, Raul Peinado and the Company. With informality of spirit and more formal music and choreography, this work was signature Lazar - swift directional changes that provide very "layered" patterns of dance and dance walks and an upbeat spirit that enhanced the buoyancy of the Mozart motif. Ms. Dubsky in red and Mr. Peinado in brown were elegant and elated, and they, along with the entire Ensemble, have grown in poise, presence, and power, since the 2003 review. Mr. McRae's flowing costumes in brilliant colors were quite effective.

Pas de Slave from Le Corsair: Choreography by Petipa, Music by Drigo, Performed by Ivanova Aguilar, Jung Min Lee, Atsuko Minoura, Alison Dubsky, Angelo Giglio, and Raul Peinado. Mr. Ferreras and Ms. Aguilar were one hot, well-partnered couple, as they charismatically spun around each other and presented bravura spins, leaps, gravity-defying turns, and endless pointe extensions. Petipa's original choreography was well served.

Rondo Brillant (2004): Choreography by Elie Lazar, Music by Mendelssohn, performed by Ivanova Aguilar, Jung Min Lee, Atsuko Minoura, Alison Dubsky, Angelo Giglio, and Raul Peinado. An even and structured work, Rondo Brillant is exuberant and joyful. With exquisite burgundy, white, and gold costumes, this technically interesting work was well conceived.

Nocturnes (2004) World Premiere: Choreography by Igal Perry, Music by Chopin, Costumes by Paul H. McRae, Performed by Juliana Scarpelli, Kyle Coffman, Alison Dubsky, and Raul Peinado. In this work, the audience offered extended accolades. Created by Mr. Perry, Guest Choreographer, the stage went black and then, in golden luminosity, celebrated two couples, who climbed and spun in horizontal and vertical patterns against, through, under, and around each other, in tightly wound up imagery. This sensual piece was mesmerizing and memorable, and I can still envision the glowing Ms. Scarpelli and Mr. Coffman who seemed to have the chemistry to pull this off with expertise.

Swan Lake pas de deux: Choreography by Petipa, Music by Tchaikovsky, Performed by Jung Min Lee and Angelo Giglio. This was the Odette-Siegfried pas de deux, not the Odile-Siegfried pas de deux, and Ms. Min Lee's white swan was vulnerable and ethereal. Her arms undulated in the signature swan fashion, and Mr. Giglio lifted and partnered her with rapt attention and affect, although his role was secondary to Ms. Min Lee's in this Swan pas de deux. It would be interesting to next mount the challenging Odile-Siegfried pas de deux, with Ms. Min Lee in the opposite, seductive and electrifying role with either Mr. Giglio or a partner capable of the bravura spins in the rapid-fire choreography that's inherent in the black swan duet.

Surrender 2 Love (2000): (See April 6, 2003 Review). Choreography by Elie Lazar, Music by Nuevo Flamenco, Costumes by Paul H. McRae, Performed by the Company. Today, Mr. Lazar repeated this work with enhanced lighting and stage effects, even more dynamic and daring than the presentation last year. The level of professionalism that is now apparent in Joffrey Ensemble was evident in this piece. However, there still seems to be a need for more theatricality and appropriate demeanor on the part of a few of the dancers, who have not yet mastered the Latin spirit, even if they are native-born, Latin American dancers. Tango and Flamenco are exciting dances, and never is there exuberance or glee in evidence. In this piece, with a smoky stage set, dark, wooden chairs, and costumes highlighted in black, there is little room for overt mirth. Maybe in the brief, humorous dramatizations, but certainly not in all.

This was a very strong program from a pre-professional company. Joffrey Ensemble and Elie Lazar, as well as Edith D'Addario, Eleanor D'Antuono, Igal Perry, and Paul H. McRae deserve extensive kudos for today's superb production.

Joffrey Ensemble Dancers, Jusin Koertgen and Alison Dubsky in "Surrender 2 Love" Ballet by Elie Lazar
Photo courtesy of Eduardo Patino

Joffrey Ensemble Dancers, Angelo Giglio and Monica Arroyo in "Surrender 2 Love" (2000) Ballet by Elie Lazar
Photo courtesy of Eduardo Patino

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