Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s production of Les Sylphides and Other Works is a fun way to open the 2022-23 season. The four short pieces in the program, performed at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts as well as live-streamed, are a celebration of movement.
Les Sylphides, a 1909 ballet choreographed by Mikhail Fokine and staged by Samantha Collen, is a real thrill, with the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra performing the music of Frederic Chopin live. Lauren and Isaac Martinez as a Pas de Deux lift and spin each other beautifully, while Cindy Case gracefully glides across the stage in the Waltz Variation, and Victoria Siracusa expertly extends her legs and arms in the Mazurka Variation. Corps members Destiny Billot, Karen Fleming, Olivia Fohsz, Jenna Fritts, Anne Gutcher, Meredith Hardin, Sarah Hoffman, Madeline Jones, Mia Koshansky, Emma Lane, Brenna Mazzara, Clara Molina, Rachael Spicer, Julia Walden, Victoria Walpole, and Isabella Warshaw create further lovely images by forming groups of four and moving past each other.
Flow and Ebb, choreographed by Soloist Cindy Case, moves like a fast-running stream to Claude Debussy’s “Finale” of Piano Trio in G Major. Destiny Billot spins and extends her arms as if reaching for something, while Arielin Anderson, Samantha Apgar, Kristen Faraclas, Gabrilla Femia, Karen Fleming, Ellie Goods, Meredith Hardin, Emma Lane, Audrey Martin, Emily Moreland, Katheryn Muscarella, Eliza Sell, Rachael Spicer, and Victoria Walpole spin in circles, lean into each other, and push off each other.
Sapphire Romance, with choreography by founding Artistic Director Edward Stewart, is an energetic romp to Rachmaninoff’s music. The Pas de Six of Amanda Cobb, Hannah Hanson, Cassandra Hope, Madison Sweeney, Rowan Treece, and Catherine Welch leap across the stage in twos and threes. The Pas de Quatre of Lindsey Bell, River Byrd, Emily Carey, and Alexander Collen spin each other around with lovely leg extensions. Sarah Jung and Ryan Massey as a Pas de Deux lift and carry each other across the stage, moving with grace and power.
Hijinks and Lullabies, with movement impressions and original story by guest choreographer Keith Lee, is a colorful piece of humorous dance. Chickadees Caroline Anderson, Carrie Cornelius, Anne Gutcher, and Sarah Jung, led by Lauren Martinez, move across the stage like chickens, swaying and even clucking. Isaac Martinez leaps and spins, but also rolls on the floor and lip-syncs to the music of Gustav Mahler. River Byrd spins a ship’s wheel while extending his legs. Emily Carey glides across looking forlorn. While the ballet’s subject matter is difficult to understand, it is full of funny moments and lovely movements.
Costume Designers Karissa Kralik, Caroline Anderson, Amanda Cobb, Sarah Hoffman, Clara Molina, Isabella Warshaw, and Karen Kralik have different outfits for each piece. Les Sylphides puts the dancers in white dresses, while Flow and Ebb has them in various shades of blue, and SapphireRomance uses dark blue outfits. For Hijinks and Lullabies, Alyssa Taylor’s costume design perfectly distinguishes each dancer as a particular character. Lighting Designer Stacie Johnson-Leske bathes the stage in swiftly changing blue, green, and purple light for Sapphire Romance, while keeping the lights low for Hijinks and Lullabies.
Each ballet is different, but linked by beautiful, creative dancing. It would have been lovely if the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra could perform the music for all four pieces. Still, the performances make for a wonderful evening and an auspicious beginning to the new season.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission.
Les Sylphides and Other Works plays Saturday, October 8, 2022, at 7 PM and Sunday, October 9, at 2 PM at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts – 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD. Performances may also be viewed online through live streaming. For tickets ($30–$50), call the box office at 410-224-5644 or purchase online.
The online program is available here.
Covid Safety: Masks are optional inside the building and theater.