On Friday April 23, 2004 I watched the Ben Stevenson Academy Spring Graduation Performance. The performance was held at the Worthem Theater located in downtown Houston. The theater is huge. As expected I had a hard time finding parking witch caused me to be late. As I was walking into the theater I notice that I was somewhat underdressed. I wore khaki pants and a collard shirt and everyone else was wearing elegant formal wear.My seat was way up top in the balcony. I had a hard time taking notes throughout the performance so after a while I just watched and tried to absorb as much as possible. I didnt have any expectations on the event because I didnt know too much about it. The overall experience was better than I thought. Parts of the show I really enjoyed, other parts nearly put me to sleep.
The first Performance was a prototypical ballet. When I think of going to a ballet I think of a man in tights, and a woman in a too too, and that is exactly what I encountered. As I said before I walked in a little late, but when I walked in they were in the middle of a pas de Deux. The duet consisted of a man and a woman. I believe there names were Connor Walsh and Jennifer Warnik. The costumes of the two dancers looked like traditional ballet costumes. Walsh was wearing white tights and a long sleeve shirt. The shirt was low-cut and didnt go past his waist. It had black, red and white sparkles on it. Jennifer Warnik was also clad in traditional ballet wardrobe, which consisted of a too-too and panty hose. The too-too and panty hose were both pink and her top was a long sleeve tight shirt. Her costume had red and gold sparkles on it. The music was classical and sounded kind of dramatic. The stage was very bare. There was nothing special about the scenery. The only thing on the stage were benches that other dancers were sitting on during the pas de Deux. The lighting was very basic. It looked to be just basic house lights. The Pas de Deux consisted of a lot of graceful leaps and jumps. Most of the duet was at a high level. Not one time during the dance did they go to a low level. Most of the dance was slow and elegant. Both of the dancers used the stage well. They were never in one spot. Most of the movements were big. Most points in the dance use low energy, but some times used high energy when the music was at a faster tempo. Throughout the Pas de Deux there were other dancers on the stage setting around watching. They were sitting on benches placed on the sides and at the back of the stage. Their costumes looked Shakespearian style. After the Pas De Deux all of the dancers exited the stage and out came six female dancers in all pink costumes. They had a short dance that consisted of high leaps and splits in the air.
Next was a solo by Connor Walsh. He came out from upstage right. Walsh did about seven or eight consecutive jumps and spins all the way around the stage. His solo was a high energy dance that was at a high tempo the entire dance. After his solo was a female solo. Her solo consisted of a lot of tempo changes. She used a pink fan at a prop. After her solo the male and female soloist came together for a duet. The duet started with the male doing multiple high intensity spins on his left foot.
The second dance that I saw was a lot more enjoyable to me than the first one. It seemed to be less classical. More like a modern dance. It was less conservative than the first one and was more entertaining.
The beginning of the dance started with African style drumming. It was dark and the stage becomes dimly lit. The lighting was very unique. On top of the fog the lighting looked like bloches. Thick fog begins to rolled out onto stage. At first you dont see anybody on stage and all of a sudden I saw movement in the fog. Five dancers were hidden in the fog. The stage seemed to look like a swamp. Along with the drumming you could also hear sounds of crickets and soothing water playing. The dancers are at a low level. Their body movements are very fluid. They start out on the ground in almost a fetal position. The dancers all then begin to move like snakes slithering across the ground. The entire dance was performed at a low level. Most of the time they were on their hands and feet. The fog then rolls out and four more dancers slithered their way on stage. After the fog rolled out I could tell that the lights no longer looked like bloches, they resembled leaves.
After those nine dancers roll of stage six more come onto stage. They consisted of three men and three women. They were coupled up one man to every woman. They were arranged on the stage in a triangle. The man would stand still as the woman danced all over, around and under him. The light gets dark and the spotlight was on one couple. The woman gets on the man shoulders and she pulls out a pole that was hanging from the sealing. The man is standing completely still holding the pole as the woman dances all over it. Then two more spotlights come on and they are on the other two couples on stage. They all continue to use the pole in their dance. Then some higher intensity drumming comes on and more male dancers with poles come out on stage. They begin to do African style tribal dance. All of the woman leave the stage but one. The men form a circle around her while she performs a slow she makes smooth fluid movements in her dance. The men bang their poles on the ground making an African sounding beat.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the second dance much more than the first one. The first dance seemed to be for people who can really appreciate a classic ballet. They used gravity defying dance moves and most of the movements were free flowing and at a high level. The second performance was more of a modern style dance. I liked it more because they used better scenery and props. The stage itself was eye catching and had me interested through out the performance.