A youthful, energetic cast and creative choreography that breaths new life into an old traditional tale.
On October 21st “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” played out at the Maryland Ballet Theatre which is based inside the historical Maryland Hall.
You can wonder through exceptional artwork in many of the rooms off the main hallway that leads to the auditorium. Absorb culture, art, and even grab a glass of wine and learn more about the history and mission of The Ballet Theatre of Maryland before you take your seat.
Washington Irving’s masterpiece “The Legend of Spooky Hollow” has a little something for everyone. Ghosts, goblins, elves, fairies and even a headless horseman. To translate into a modern explanation, it’s a somewhat straight-laced school teacher versus your typical high school jock, both vying for the attention of the beautiful and intriguing Katrina Van Tassel. Oh did I mention she was rich, so pretty much every man’s ideal girl.
Cuatto’s choreography is unique and engaging.
Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto was on hand to greet the audience at the Maryland Hall, a bubbly and vivacious personality who clearly transfers her passion for life to the stage in her outstanding choreography. Having shared a delightful conversation with Cuatto, she told me the cast performing was the B cast. Cuatto’s choreography keeps not only the performers but also the audience on their toes!
“The Legend of Spooky Hollow” is a popular choice for ballet companies leading up to Halloween, however Cuatto brought new life to this ballet.
Cuatto’s choreography is unique and engaging. She creates so many sub-stories on stage at the same time, yet still finds the balance so the ensemble is not distracting.
Aside from her clever choreography Cuatto uses lights and reflective costumes to create the illusion of floating forest fairies. Dancers lifted into the air, their partners dressed in black creating a wonderful free flying illusion.
Roman Mykyta sets the scene walking through the audience introducing us to the journey we are about to embark on.
In the initial few scenes the routines and movements with the goblins and elves looked a little uncoordinated, which may have been a case of first night jitters. It may also have been a result of the extremely quiet level of the music.
At times it looked liked the dancers on stage were struggling to hear the music and missing vital cues designed by Cuatto to be linked perfectly to the choreography. Strong base lines and drum cues essential to build up the drama. I am sure the sound levels will be tweaked as the show continues.
The artistic atmosphere the overall talent and strengths of this Ballet company are soon revealed to the audience.
As someone who was once described to be as “graceful as a goat,” not a compliment for a young dancer, I appreciate the elegance, grace, and endurance required to perform ballet.
Sarah Gilliam played Katrina Van Tassel; she is memorizing and took control of the stage from her first entry to her final bow. Graceful, poised and a young lady with a bright future in the world of Ballet. Her performance evoked the emotion the storyline was trying to portray, eloquently. The lifts throughout the ballet for Gilliam looked effortless, her stamina endless.
Alden Taylor played schoolteacher Ichabod Crane. The tall, dashing young man held his character well throughout the ballet. At times it looked like there were some struggles with the lifts on his part, with more performances this will change for sure.
Diego Sosa played Brom Bones, robust and defiant, Sosa embraced his character and lived up to the expectations of his role as the young, cool jock.
Several other notable performances. Ruffians, played by Sabrina Schulbach and Julie Degnan. Impeccable timing, strong movements not only as dancers but also as actresses. They helped to fill in the storyline with their facial expressions and definitive movements on stage.
Ichabod’s students played by Lauro Pimpo and Kaitlin Kimm. The two young dancers complimented each other, they were timely and perfectly in sync when the choreography called for it.
Alyssa Johnson- Taylor, Corinne Elkins, Jilian Conjura, Lindsey Hinchliffe, Sarah McDonald and Samantha Lucas played the roles of the horses. A wow moment! Portraying the roles of magnificent horses, these ladies were outstanding and excuse the pun- on point! Strong, determined movements a pleasure to watch.
The hard work and talent of this theatre company is paying off. The Ballet Theatre of Maryland attracts a wealth of local talent but also talent from overseas. Noteworthy for the ballet based in Annapolis. It is also expanding with a resident company at the Lyric Theatre in Baltimore.
Running Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes with one intermission.
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” runs through October 23rd, for ticket information you can check out the Ballet of Maryland’s website here.