Misako Ballet dancers, left to right:
Chloe Shader, Jessica Markiewicz, Melissa Lineburg, Amanda Willingham. Photo by Jen Lowe.
Treat your mom to the ballet!
Forget flowers. Chocolate can wait until Christmas. For this Mother’s Day, treat your mom to the ballet, and we promise she will enjoy a live performance. No better place to watch a delightful live ballet program is the Chrysalis at Merriweather Park on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, at 2 p.m. “Ballet Boutique: A Mother’s Day Dance Celebration” features the Misako Ballet Company, directed by Misako Aoki who knows how to put on a beautiful ballet program.
Spring is the time of year to showcase young dancers who have been rehearsing ballets ever since the virtual “Nutcracker” season ended. Sunday’s program offers a glimpse at pure, classical training under the tutelage of Japanese-born, European-trained Misako Aoki who once danced with Rudolf Nureyev.
Misako is a dedicated teacher and earnest coach — two of her students have won medals in International competitions. Others have gone on to professional dance careers, though most of her dancers tend to stay with her, another sign of just how special she is. The Misako Ballet Company’s annual spring program (this year live) has become must-see by balletomanes as well as newcomers to the art. In its 14th year, the company continues to “raise the barre” with Misako’s Japanese-inspired choreography, costumes, and love of her native culture.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out some of my favorite Misako dancers. Melissa Lineburg can turn heads by entering the stage in her gorgeous arabesque. Jessica Markiewicz demonstrates the beauty of a Balanchine ballerina with the cool moves a la Paul Taylor. Amanda Willingham is both a terrific tapper and wizard at pirouettes. New dancers to watch are Madeline Chen, Casie Curry and Kylie Wright who caught our eye at a previous concert. Student Company members include Charlotte Lane, Delaney Lane, Kailee Suess and Ginger Thomson.
“I am so excited about celebrating Mother’s Day 2021 with our outdoor venue,” enthuses the director, taking a break from a recent rehearsal. “Our dancers have been practicing together during the pandemic and are ready to perform live again,” she emphasizes with more than a hint of pride. “Our mission is to create classical ballet and Japanese-themed performances to bring joy to our community.”
Director Misako Aoki presents “Classical Ballet With A Japanese Twist,” ballet variations, a contemporary piece by guest choreographer Florian Rouiller, plus Eriko Tokura Murray singing a selection of Japanese folk songs. It’s a family friendly event with an interactive dance demonstration, raffle drawings, and a corner for photo opportunities against the Chrysalis backdrop.
Dance CelebrationTickets must be purchased online: Kids 14 and younger are free; $25 general admission ($20 early bird) and $35 VIP. For event information and to purchase tickets, visit here.
For additional information, sponsorship opportunities/interviews, and media passes to the event, contact Misako Aoki at 410-884-9660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dancers gather from near and far to win the Grand Prix
“All I ever needed was the music, and the mirror, and the chance to dance,” sings the character Diana in the 1976 Broad musical, “A Chorus Line.” Her words ring true for dancers here in Howard County today, because more than grants or donations or publicity or even audiences, dancers need space to rehearse, to perform and to hone their skills for serious competitions.
This weekend, Ballet L’Etoile, the Russian Academy of Maryland, is offering space (and support) for dozens of dancers coming from up and down the East Coast to compete in the elite Grand Prix. Directed by Svetlana Kratsova with a cast of renowned dancers, choreographers and ballet stars, the Washington, DC Grand Prix will be held at the Jim Rouse Theatre, Wilde Lake High School, Columbia, MD 21044, from Friday, April 30 – May 2. The list of judges looks like a “Who’s Who” of ballet stars, among them Cuban-born Xiomara Reyes who once danced on this same JRT stage for the Columbia Festival of the Arts. For the competing dancers, you will swoon.
Master Classes will take place at L’Etoile: The Russian Ballet Academy of Maryland, 9147 Red Branch Road, Columbia MD 21045. It’s a rare chance to see topnotch ballet dancers perform classical ballet variations that will astound. Go to www.russballet.org
for details on ticket availability.
For Dance Week, It’s Back to College
Anomalous choreography by Alex J. Krebs photo by Hank Wang (Keisha Brown, Hannah Lape, Andrea Martinez, and Kate Quigley). Photo by Hank Wang.
There were no fancy banners this year announcing National Dance Week 2021, ending this Sunday, May 1. But if there were no coast-to-coast splashes, presidential proclamations nor special stamps issued, at least there has been plenty of the real stuff happening on local campuses.
College dance concerts are always a fun place for brushing up on modern currents in the art, but spring programs are often a pure delight. They represent the culmination of a full term’s work for student dancers who annually relish the opportunity to show off what they’ve learned. Come this weekend, Howard Community College boasts a dozen or two student dancers performing works in a spring dance showcase sure to please, according to Elizabeth Higgins, Director of the Dance Program.
The 2021 HCC Dance Company concert features student dancers performing the works of faculty and guest choreographers. Higgins has re-worked one of her delightful modern pieces to keep the dancers socially distanced by placing two ropes that hinder their attachment. This production showcases dances by HCC alumna, Alex Krebs, who brings a fresh voice to the program. Assistant Professor of Dance, Darion Smith, always comes up with innovative pieces, and Vincent Thomas wowed us last year with his power and urgency in his works.
For students who will be moving on from the college, this concert is bittersweet. Kareem Mack will soon be leaving Columbia to further his career. He started dancing while at HCC but went onto earn a bachelors degree in music. He returned during the 2019-20 school year to continue earning his associate degree in dance. He has been accepted to Sarah Lawrence to pursue a master’s degree in dance.
This virtual concert integrates innovative movement and design, as experienced through the art of dance for the camera. It creates a surreal world of light and sound perfect for modern dancers to delve into all aspects of contemporary movement. Ticket holders can view the concert at their convenience from April 30 – May 14. Visit here
for more information.
The second virtual event for this spring is a musical theater review, available to view May 17 – 23. Directed by Bill Gillett, the revue features HCC students and community members in a variety of musical theater numbers, songs that celebrate our hopes for reclaiming life-happenings that COVID has taken away. For details, visit here
Tickets to these events are free, but reservations are required. Ticket holders for each event will receive a link and password via email confirmation. The Horowitz Center Box Office is currently operating remotely. Staff members are available to guide patrons through the online ticket purchasing process. For assistance, email email@example.com
or call 443-518-1500. Link for tickets, here
. Interview on YouTube.