Juneau Dance Theater Spring Showcase: ‘A magical world’

Juneau Dance Theater Spring Showcase: ‘A magical world’

Over the May 26-27 weekend, the stage of the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium was transformed by an array of dancers into what some in the audience called, “a magical world.”

The Juneau Dance Theatre’s (JDT) 2017 Spring Showcase brought to life a wide range of performances including excerpts from “Swan Lake,” George Balanchie’s “Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux,” choreography by Ballet Master of the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet Laszlo Berdo and a piece crafted entirely by JDT dancers in their choreography workshop class. There was also an appearance made by electric violinist Noatak Post, the recent winner of “Juneau’s Got Talent,” who JDT Artistic Director Zachary Hench said in a press release that Post “dazzled us with his electric violin performance in March.”

The JDT’s promise to begin the program on a vibrant and light note was accomplished by the 20 dancers who filled the stage and performed “Waltz of the Hours” from Coppelia, choreographed by Hench.

Immediately following, advanced dancers Jillian Anderson and Anna McDowell assisted six of the younger beginning students in an adorable performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” complete with spinning umbrellas and kids wearing colorful rain boots.

Dancers dressed as butterflies from a midsummer night’s dream made an appearance in an assortment of wings. All 38 of the dancers that performed in “Scherzo” worked together sharing the stage and made each of their movements with a purpose so that the choreography fit and flowed together.

All of the dancers in Ballet 2A and Ballet 2B executed all their moves to music from Disney for Ballet Class all while wearing sparkling pink costumes. One of the dancers mentioned that the promenade was the most difficult move of this performance for her.

“Sunset Chronology” performed by Alannah Johnson, Anna McDowell, Brimley Olliff Jackson Rubenstein and Jennifer Seely, and choreographed by Alisha Falberg took the program into the contemporary. A red background set the stage for the dancers who performed this piece that was filled with drama and emotion.

“Once in a Blue Moon” was a crowd favorite that had been choreographed by the students from JDT choreography workshop class that told the story of a toy shop whose inhabitants came to life. Ballerina, porcelain, paper and rag dolls as well as marionettes were easily discernible from the other, playing their parts well. Even those dancers that didn’t participate in this piece said it was their favorite out of all the performances.

After the intermission “Fairies” from The Sleeping Beauty was performed.

Next was an excerpt from Tschaikovsky “Pas de Deux.” JDT’s Executive Director Julie Diana said in statement: “It’s one of my favorite solos. The choreography is dynamic and quick, and requires the dancer to take risks. We are thrilled to share this Balanchine gem with Juneau audiences.”

“Try to Be” choreographed by Laszlo Berdo was a light piece that had a happy air to it, created by the music and the smiles on the faces of all the participating dancers.

“Breathe” was an emotional a piece choreographed by seventeen-year-old JDT student McDowell. McDowell said in the program, “Dancing at JDT is amazing because everyone is so supportive and encouraging. I feel comfortable expressing myself artistically because of the accepting environment in the studio.”

Post then performed “Pachelbel’s Canon” single handedly in his own original fashion on his electric violin.

The program was concluded with excerpts from Act II of “Swan Lake” with advanced dancer Brimley Olliff playing Odette the Swan Queen and guest artist Nathan Buendia dancing as Prince Siegfried. The story was told with help from dancers who played the graceful swans.

Hench said, “the advanced dancers have been practicing for the Spring Showcase every single day for the past three months.” All the dancers are required to not only learn their own routine for the piece but also all the other dancers parts as well.

Diana said that JDT students become a family from the amount of time spent practicing. Hench encouraged aspiring dancer to “keep at it!” and “even though it may feel like you’re sacrificing a lot (by) giving up free time to practice in the studio, stay determined. It will be worth it.”

Jillian Anderson (age 15) dances the role of Ballerina Doll in Once in a Blue Moon in the 2017 Spring Showcase. (Lance Nesbitt | For the Capital City Weekly)

Jillian Anderson (age 15) dances the role of Ballerina Doll in Once in a Blue Moon in the 2017 Spring Showcase. (Lance Nesbitt | For the Capital City Weekly)

Anna McDowell (right) Brimley Olliff (center) and Jackson Rubenstein (left) perform Sunset Chronology on Saturday afteroon at this years 2017 Spring Showcase. (Lance Nesbitt | For the Capital City Weekly)

Anna McDowell (right) Brimley Olliff (center) and Jackson Rubenstein (left) perform Sunset Chronology on Saturday afteroon at this years 2017 Spring Showcase. (Lance Nesbitt | For the Capital City Weekly)

Luna Ewing (left) and Jasmin Holst (Right) Performing Fairies from The Sleeping Beauty at this years 2017 Spring Showcase. (Lance Nesbitt | For the Capital City Weekly)

Luna Ewing (left) and Jasmin Holst (Right) Performing Fairies from The Sleeping Beauty at this years 2017 Spring Showcase. (Lance Nesbitt | For the Capital City Weekly)

More in Neighbors

Jane Hale (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: The new womanly man

I saw the ghost of James Joyce. Well, I didn’t actually see… Continue reading

lights
Living & Growing: Share light this season

Reach out beyond your typical day and look for ways to serve others.

Kirby Day shakes hands with City and Borough of Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon at the Monday night Assembly meeting. Day was awarded a special recognition for his work administrating the city’s Tourism Best Management Practices program. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Assembly honors Kirby Day, Gastineau landslide geologists

Day steps down from his positions with Tourism Best Management Practices after 25 years

(Courtesy Photo)
Honoring the work and legacy of Sol Neely

Our university community is forever impoverished by his walking into the interior…

(Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: Making philosophy

Philosophy is biography, nothing more.

t
Living & Growing: What is gratitude?

Let us reflect during these days on this virtue of gratitude

Thx
Thank you letter for the week of Nov. 13

Thank you, merci, danke, gracias, gunalchéesh.

"My whole life it’s been all binge, no purge. And so I don’t have 'dad' bod so much as 'double' dad bod." writes Geoff Kirsch. (Diana Polekhina / Unsplash)
Slack Tide: Double dad bod

Sometimes I need a good ribbing — even if I can no longer see my ribs.

This photo shows Fireweed Award winners Gina Heffern, Gretchen Glaspy and Laura McDermott. (Courtesy Photo)
Hospital announces first recipients of Fireweed Award

Award recognizes exceptional care and service to the community.

(JuniperPhoton / Unsplash)
Living & Growing: Inner vision

“Our inner vision is what will protect us.”

Guy Crockroft
Living & Growing: Don’t you know who I am?

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is… Continue reading