‘Joy For Dance’ Evident In Recital

Wow. I don’t know what impressed me more at the Studio Dance Conservatory recital Saturday night, the dancers or the way their teacher Libby Nord put everything together.

I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive about attending the recital at Jamestown Community College’s Scharmann Theater, but Nord and her dancers made me a convert and I’m already looking forward to their next performance. It’s not that everything was perfect. There were tiny glitches throughout the evening, but what was evident was joy in dancing, from the tiniest tot in a tutu to the grace and poise of the older dancers.

The program was in two sections, with the first featuring different classes of dance students performing to works choreographed by Grace Anderson, Deryck Brown, Jennie Cross, Daman Holland and Libby Nord. This was a non-stop swirl of dancers, all performing with energy, from hip-hop to modern to classic. Performers included hip-hop dancers Lucas Arnone, Angela Braun, Andrei Braun, Sasha Braun, Dominyck Brown, Lydia Kennelley, Nadia Kennelley, Dani Mincarelli, and Willa Seahausen. Ballet III students Sofia Agafanova, Ava Laury, Audrina Lent, Sophia Mangabang and Lilly Scarsone were next, then Jennifer Felice, Maria Jacobson, Ali McMahon, Jocelyn Monaco and Jennifer Yost performed. This group also took to the stage a bit later, delighting the audience as they performed, with each of them in a neon-bright troll wig.

There was a lovely pas de deux with Jennie Cross and Daman Holland and a flashy solo by Deryck Brown, then Ballet I students filled the stage. They were Francesca Agafanova, Mariel Arnone, Greta Gilevski, Karleighana Pacheco, Leah Pasieka, Eliza Roushey and Melina Singleton.

Next up, creative movement dancers Kaidence Clopp, Josephine Satterlee, Ellison Conti, with Ballet IV student Olivia Allen-Fiedler, pre pro Grace Anderson, and contemporary dancer Mychaila Philbrick.

The hip-hop dancers made another appearance, then there was a number with music from “Hamilton,” featuring Grace Anderson, Deryck Brown, Jennie Cross, Daman Holland and Mychaila Philbrick.

Daman Holland and Deryck Brown presented a wonderful duet, choreographed by Holland, and the section ended with a lovely ballet solo by Grace Anderson.

Following an intermission was the ballet “Petrushka,” with Deryck Brown as the puppet Petrushka, Grace Anderson as the ballerina puppet, and Daman Holland as the Moor puppet. Alexis Singleton must have had a wonderful time as the magician, and Norman Carlson displayed suitable gruff authority as the town constable.

The cast was filled out by milk maidens from Ballet III, mummers from Ballet I classes, and Cossack Dancers, aka hip hop. Parents Julia Braun, Kelsey Braun, Jenah Clopp, Greg Clopp, Catherine Iannelo and Anton Agafonov helped create townspeople.

Jack Nord produced a lovely slide show of individual performers that ran as the audience assembled, and Steve Gustafson, Don Hill and Scott Barton designed sets and lighting which helped showcase the dancers’ talents. And Mary Champ and Rozella Philbrick sewed an amazing array of costumes. The evening stage manager was Cindy Chang.

Libby Nord did a great job presenting each dancer at his or her best, depending on their level, and every dancer, from the youngest to the oldest, seemed full of joy, which, after all, is what dance should be.

Thanks Studio Dance Conservatory for sharing that joy with your audience.