by Ross Michael Pink
The performance last January in Vancouver of "Ballet Stars of the U.S.A" was a spectacular evening of dance that showcased the grace and power of America's leading ballet dancers.
Featured among the dancers was Paloma Herrera, the riveting and graceful young principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), the dashing Spanish born Angel Corella of ABT, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the dance world and is seen as the hottest male dancer of the 1990s and French -born Guillaume Graffin, also a ABT, who has a striking and powerful stage presence and Yuri Possokhov, a dynamic young dancer born in the Ukraine and now a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet who evokes frequent comparison to the young Nureyev.
The evening opened with the Pas de deux form Act III of Sleeping Beauty with Graffin and Julia Kent of ABT dancing the roles. Julia Kent is an unique dancer who projects an ethereal style that is the very definition of classical dance.
Possokhov danced a modern solo piece, entitled Aria, that was a world premiere. Wearing a classical white theatre mask and dancing with long, sensual movements the performance was a highlight. A brief thirty second segment danced without music was original and oddly personal. The dancer and the audience came together for a brief moment in a setting that was rendered more intimate by the absence of music.
Stanko Milov, born in Sofia, Bulgaria and now a soloist with the Pittsburg Ballet and Nanci Crowley, also a principal dancer with PB danced the Grand Pas Classique. Crowley dances with a style often described as lyrical while Milov is one of the most technically precise yet graceful dancers in the ballet world today.
It is a truism that dancers devote tremendous dedication and discipline to their art. Great art moves into the realm of beauty and audiences caught a glimpse of this beauty with the performance by the American ballet stars.