Magazine article Pointe

ARKA Ballet Rounds out the Repertoire

Magazine article Pointe

ARKA Ballet Rounds out the Repertoire

Article excerpt

ARKA Ballet Rounds Out The Repertoire

Chamber-sized companies offer an upclose look at ballet as an evolving art form, mindful of its past but seeking a future. At the studio theater of American Dance Institute in Rockville, Maryland, in June, the ARKA Ballet presented a dozen works spanning nearly 160 years.

Because ARKA's founder and artistic director, Roudolf Kharatian, a graduate of the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, taught at the Washington School of Ballet, the performance showed some WB dancers in a new light.

ARKA's program, "Hearts & Minds in Motion," offered WB apprentices and its established members the opportunity to perform 20th-century classics and 19th-century variations typically absent from the larger company's repertoire. More importantly, the dancers also had the chance to try choreographing on their colleagues; among these new works, Jason Hartley's Two Houses was an evening highlight.

Hartley, ARKA's resident choreographer, premiered his taut male duet drawing on the escalating tension of Isaac Albéniz's Spanish guitar accompaniment. Jonathan Jordan and Jared Nelson, a well-matched pair, sparred in close proximity, building a contemporary tango of advances and retreats, and gymnastic dives and falls.

Kharatian, also a painter, showed small works with painterly attributes, including excerpts from his Bach's Passion and Narayama, both featuring Luis Torres and Kharatian's daughter, Sona. The overwrought emotional intensity of Passion favored static moments: Sona held in a high arch, lowered into deep bows and lifted in crucifix formations. …

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