Finally, a Ballet Recital Parents Want to Go To

On May 22nd, the Boston Ballet School hosted their tenth anniversary Next Generation performance at the Citizens Bank Opera House. In a word, it was outstanding. The students exceeded expectations across the board—from the oldest to the youngest performer. The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra was seemingly flawless, and brought delightful surprise to the audience anytime it was reminded that they were, indeed, a youth orchestra.

The performance included four distinct sections: a multi-part showcase of the Boston Ballet School pre-professional program students, titled, Les Passages, choreographed by Igor Burlak, Kathleen Mitchell, and Miranda Weese; Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, a jazzy piece, choreoraphed by Bruce Wood; William Tell Pas De Deux, a breathtaking partner piece, and Konservatoriet, a celebration of the in-class work of a student, both choreographed by August Bournonville; and an original piece, titled, the peppermint wind, by Boston Ballet principal dancer and Boston Ballet II alum, Lia Cirio.

While each section was impressive in its own right, the standout of the night was the original piece. The peppermint wind was a contemporary ballet piece that captured audience attention from the second the eight Boston Ballet II dancers stepped on stage and the music started.

No other performance, from any company, has stuck in my mind for so long. Each dancer played as important of a role than the next, their movements were precise, they complimented each other beautifully, and they were evocative with slightest flick of a wrist or flex of a toe. If there’s one thing Boston Ballet does better than any other company, it's their treatment of dance as expression rather than just movement—something that has obviously been passed down to their students.

The piece was set to music by Boston-based violist, Anna Stromer; the choreography was inspired by poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. It encouraged the audience into a sort-of nostalgic desire to discover, and had us tracking each movement to try to guess what would happen next. Tailoring to that anticipation, it gave us the perfect opposite of what we’d hoped for, satisfying the desire to be right with the glee of something entirely new. It was both an incredible showcase of the Boston Ballet II students that were onstage and of the outcomes this training creates.

Overall, the one-night-only performance was a shocking delight. It was impressive enough to make me apologize to my parents for the many not-like-this recitals they attended, and inspiring enough to make me sign up for an open adult class, in hopes some of the Boston Ballet magic could rub off on me. The Boston Ballet School truly provides a world class education, and has finally managed to create a students’ recital that people actually want to go to.