I never did quite understand why going to the ballet was viewed by many as something that only women, or gay men preferred to do.
After seeing The Pacific Ballet recently, I was convinced, not only are those stereotypes unfair, they are foolish. Imagine sitting front row watching over an hour of the most beautiful, perfectly toned women (and men) on stage, move in graceful perfection to sweeping, hypnotic melodies before your eyes.
The ballet is not only ‘art,’ it is very entertaining, and yes, sexy! The Pacific Ballet is no ordinary ballet with tutu’s and leotards. In addition to the traditional style, they also launch into modern, contemporary work that incorporates dance including tap and modern, even to Lady Gaga, among more.
The Pacific Ballet here gave us just as much Cirque du Soleil and Flashdance style passion and sex appeal as they did classical performance, which was fine with me.
The Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre (PBDT), (formerly known as Media City Ballet Company) held their 14th Anniversary Season at the historic El Portal Theatre at 5269 Lankershim Boulevard, in North Hollywood, CA on April 25th and 26th, with a new show of classical and contemporary dance entitled, “A Collection of Works,” which we were fortunate to attend.
The production featured twelve Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre Soloist dancers, including: Elan Alekzander, Artur Aleksanyan, Grigori Arakelyan, Brandon Forrest), Alexander Fost, Irina Gharibyan, Ani Hovhannisyan, Elen Harutunyan, Pamela Ortego, Julie Sanches, Damara Titmus, and Clayton Velasquez, all from the Los Angeles area.
The program featureed “Chopin Pieces” set to the music of Frederic Chopin’s romantic Nocturnes, intense Etudes and his melodic Fantasie-Impromtu for the classical part of the performance at the beginning.
After the intermission, for the modern section, we saw the World Premiere of “A Beginning, A Detour, An Open Ending,” set to the music of Imogen Heap, “Searching,” a new Adagio contemporary ballet duet set to the music of Kevin Keller, “Black Coffee” set to the music of k.d. lang, and a solo piece entitled “Alejandro” set to the music of Lady Gaga, and “Fire and Drums,” a dance of speed, strength and passion set to Native American Drumming. The Press were alerted that Artur Aleksanyan was also in the dance to the song “Black Coffee” who was not listed in the program.
In remembrance of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide which happened on April 24, 1915, the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s program ended with a new 14-minute short film called “Meran vor Aprink” which translates to “They Died For Us To Live,” executive produced by Davit Karapetyan, a Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet. The film was somber, yet pretty, and had some nice camera drone work done for some tough aerial shots.
While the film did not detail it, I will mention that the Armenian Genocide, which is largely under-reported, was reportedly committed by Muslim’s in the Ottoman Empire (now modern day Turkey) against the Armenians, many of whom were Christian, at which they tortured and murdered men, and tortured, raped and killed women and children, forcing many women as sex slaves, which is permitted according to the so called Islamic rules of law.
Most countries agree that over half a million were murdered, with some estimating the number to be as high as one and a half million. Today, modern day Turkey, a U.S. trade partner, still attempts to justify the genocide as necessary, and refuses to call it genocide. If they did admit it, and admitted it was wrong, they would reportedly have to pay large sums of money to survivors’ families, would suffer embarrassment, and would have to explain a religio-political doctrine that teaches it is morally good to rape women and murder children. Nearly half of the dancers in this 75 minute show we saw by the Pacific Ballet are Armenian. Natasha Middleton, the Artistic Director for the ballet, asked those in the troupe who are Armenian to step forward, at which the audience clapped.
Regarding the Pacific Ballet, and this show itself, the group is wonderfully talented, and this show was extraordinarily entertaining and awe inspiring. A board member of the ballet came on stage first and, after asking for donations, announced her troupe prior to their arrival on stage as the best dancers in the world, which at first, I thought as an overblown statement; until I saw them.
If you think the Kardashian’s are reflective of the only ability of Armenian’s in entertainment, think again. The dancers here, all of them, Armenian and non, are truly massive talents. Grigori Arakelyan executed total skill, with gentlemanly charm, giving his applause time away to his dance partner Irina. The beautiful Irina Gharibyan gave not only precision grace and skill dancing, but actorally as well, with charming smiles and eye movement. The handsome Alexander Fost, (from So You Think You Can Dance), also a choreographer, did greatly, as did the beautiful and talented Elen Harutunyan, formerly with the San Francisco Ballet. Along with Alexander, Elen, and Irina among the others, the handsome Clayton Velasquez and sexy Ani Hovhannissyan brought the show here to stellar heights, with ther dance to Imogen Heap, also choreographed by Clayton, which was my favorite piece in the show here; passionate, sexy, and dramatic, in the style of a scene from the musical Chicago or similar.
I am incredibly glad that I decided to attend this show, and had the opportunity to. The Pacific Ballet deserve about a hundred times more attention than they have now, with their magnificent and beautiful dancers that are at the height of talent and world class entertainment. I will definitely be more than pleased to see them again.
The Pacific Ballet will perform again at the El Portal on Sunday, September 20th at 3pm, and Sunday, November 22nd at 3pm.
For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.pacificballetdancetheatre.com.