Noel Notes

December 11, 2010, 6:30 pm

Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theatre dazzled its audience Saturday night with their holiday performance of "Noel Notes." This young dance theatre group has grown in ability, creativity and presentation in every performance, but this dynamic offering showed a tremendous leap forward in theatrical presentation and boldly trumpeted that HGCBT is now a legitimate source of quality entertainment in the region.

"Naissance," the first of three acts, was a celebration of the nativity, with many of the youngest dancers delighting the audience as timid lambs or stubborn donkeys, being led to the manger by their shepherds. Angels and then stars then took the stage to marvel at Mary and her baby, played by the artistic director's daughter and new grandaughter. The act concluded with a stirring contemporary piece, danced to the hypnotic and touching song "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright. This act singlehandedly showed the audience the wonderful progression of ability of the dancers in the troupe, who are as young as five years old.

In the second act Artistic Director Fran Ichijo showed off her brilliant story telling by transforming a classic of literature into a visually stunning spectacle in her interpretation of Charles Dickens’ haunting masterpiece “A Christmas Carol.” HGCBT's holiday show in 2011 will feature the entire story, but this performance gave us a condensed preview, introducing us to everyone's favorite humbug and the spirits that changed his view of the world. The audience, used to emotional or whimsical pieces in performances past, were awestruck by the riveting mood shift when Scrooge was first confronted by the spirit of Jacob Marley.

The story, the music and the gripping choreography continued to intensify as Scrooge was then visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past and Future. Everyone knows how this story ends, but everyone should also see the spellbinding dance of Scrooge and the dreaded Ghost of Christmas Future in the graveyard, which left the entire house stunned.

The inspired choreography and dance was flawlessy reinforced by the haunting music of Debussy and with dynamic moving sets, dramatic lighting and wonderful costumes. The mesmerizing 30 minutes served as notice to everyone in attendance that Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theatre is not just dance, but is truly a theater company, and one built with a commitment to continue to grow and the ability to thrill.

The third act lightened the mood and satiated the audience's thirst for traditional holiday entertainment with the most memorable pieces from Tchaikovsky's materpiece "The Nutcracker." The classic choreography was crisply and energetically danced to some of the most memorable music of all time, and lifted the spirits of the audience, which showed its appreciation with thunderous applause. From the tiniest dancers emerging from the skirts of Mother Ginger to the breathtaking leaps and spins of the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier, all the dancers displayed their love for their art in grand fashion. 

So in 2011 make HGCBT's winter performance part of your holiday tradition, and embrace the quality and talent that has been growing in your own back yard!


Photos of the performance, taken by noted performance photographer Paolo Galli, are available for review and purchase on Paolo's website.

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