The magic of dance filled Westminster High School's stage as the Carroll County Community Concert Association sponsored the Ballet Florida Jan. 28.

The company is entertaining ballet enthusiasts on its first tour under the direction of its artistic director, Marie Hale, and tour manager Joseph J. Bucheck III.

The performance featured 21 dancers in four pieces varying in styles. Their training and versatility became more powerful as the evening continued.

The first piece, "Command Performance," choreographed by Lambros Lambrou, featured seven couples dressed in elegant traditional ballet costumes.

This neo-classical ballet used diagonal lines with repeated fast footwork patterns and quick floor combinations. Because of this, it was evident when dancers were not together. However, two couples -- Dan Harris with Janine Harris and Manuel Ureta with Jessica Benton -- displayed well-executed lifts and fluid jumps with exceptional elevation.

The music, by Dmitri Shostakovich, did not particularly lend itself to the creation of the choreography, butthe performance was a solid company piece that exhibited good training and technique.

The pas de deux, "Belong," an award-winning piece choreographed by Norbert Vesak, featured Marshall Levin and Janine Harris. Music synthesized by Syrinx was the impetus for a more modernform.

The dancers, clad in tie-dyed unitards and lying on the floor, slowly rose to graceful, sensual entwining positions. Harris' long arms and legs, flexibility and incredible extension made her appearto float in space as Levin effortlessly lifted and sculpted her intothe next geometric position. Their technicality was precise, but thedrama and intensity with which these two executed their steps made this piece not a dance, but poetry.

"Percussion for Six Men," with music by Lee Gurst, bewitched the audience with technical stunts as the dancers displayed a powerful and exhausting energy-filled tour de force.

James Kosiec's ballet, jazz and swing style; Zhao Long's dazzling smile and sharp kicks; Barry Leon's excellent centering of balance and control; Manuel Ureta's power, grace and bravado; Eric Midgley's expert quick foot work; and Steven Hoff's fluid spinning and spiraling all displayed strong technical abilities and showmanship. Thistruly breathtaking performance was choreographed by Vincente Nebrada.

The final piece, accompanied by George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," seemed to be the audience's favorite.

The harmony of the steps choreographed by William Soleau included seven couples -- women dressed in ballerina-length white dresses and men in white tuxedos -- who skimmed glamorously across the stage. The piece was a collage of the Ziegfield Follies, Arthur Murray and Jerome Robbins.

The dancers really seemed to connect -- a glance, a touch, a smile. Their trustand joy in the steps made the audience want to get up and dance, dance, dance!

The test of true artists is to make it seem easy, and this they did.

Congratulations to the Ballet Florida and thanks to the Community Concert Association for bringing another fine performance to Carroll County.

Perhaps the little girls I saw leaping and twirling during intermission will always savor that magical night at the ballet.

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