Oregon Ballet Theatre School
Newmark Theatre
Portland, OR

April 21, 2018 afternoon
2018 Annual School Performance

Dean Speer

By all accounts, the students of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s School are in good hands, secure in the knowledge that they are not only getting good classes, they are — importantly — also getting excellent training. This training is at the crux of the matter.

Oregon Ballet School Students at the 2018 Annual School Performance Photo by Yi Yin

Oregon Ballet Theatre School dancers
at the 2018 Annual School Performance
Photo by Yi Yin

Opening with the Dream Scene from Petipa’s Don Quixote, I know from personal experience in staging just this past year for a small but very good rural studio in Washington State, how complex the patterns and intricacies are for the cast of cupids and soloists. (BTW, our Don, sadly, was a no-show and the director had to make some last minute adjustments.)

The excerpt was very well performed by the OBT School students, who not only got the steps right but the style as well. This was particularly true of the role of Cupid, danced by Zoie Saludares, who got right the piqué balances and the adroit turns off the head (as in, look at me sharing this balance with you!).

Oregon Ballet School Students and OBT2 Dancers Makenzie Brousson and Daniel Salinas at the 2018 Annual School Performance Photo by Yi Yin

Oregon Ballet Theatre and OBT2 dancers
Makenzie Brousson and Daniel Salinas
at the 2018 Annual School Performance
Photo by Yi Yin

I was SO impressed by the pas de deux from Petipa’s 1859 Satanella — one that I’d not before seen and while impressing as old-fashioned, what old-fashioned this was! The pas de deux has hard, hard technical demands, while all the time appearing to be so so nonchalant.  The variation had phrases concluding in a controlled demi-plié, rather than on relevé balance. Oh my!

Nicolo Fonte’s Accidental Signals to music by Benjamin Britten and staged by Lisa Sundstrom was fare geared toward the School’s upper level students and showcased four couples splendidly.

What’s not to like about Balanchine’s 1967 Valse Fantaisie? Staged by former OBT School Director Anthony Jones, this short ballet makes a case for how well Balanchine’s dances not only fit dancers like a glove, they also move.

Oregon Ballet School Students at the 2018 Annual School Performance Photo by James McGrew

Oregon Ballet Theatre School Students
at the 2018 Annual School Performance
Photo by James McGrew

The concluding A Grand Étude is along the lines of the famous Paris Opera Ballet’s Défilé where the entire ballet presents itself — from the youngest petit rat to the étoiles of the company itself — and all done in white I might add.

I loved how this series of 8 short dances presented and highlighted each of these 8 levels, from 1A to OBT 2. What a great way to enjoy an April Sunday afternoon!