Birth Of The Blues followed, with an absolute showstopping performance by Elease Stice. A hit when first introduced in 2010's Rat Pack in Revue, this second presentation of Birth Of The Blues was perhaps Elease Stice's best ever performance on stage. Stice went above and beyond great performance quality and into the realm of star appeal as she burned the floor with panache and confidence. Nailing one demanding choreographic prowess after the next, Stice's energy transcended the audience and gave her the perfect opportunity to rule as a supreme performer in Central West's array of headliners. Mr. Bojangles was next, with Bethany Phelps on Friday and Erikka Reenstierna-Cates on Saturday. Phelps was in great shape, expressing the dance with vibrant sensitivity and beautiful angular poses. Reenstierna-Cates performed with imagination and passionate effectiveness. Erikka R. Cates is proving to have high versatility as a dancer with great acting abilities.
The next piece was a surprise appearance by the very talented nine year old Brian Ebster with René Daveluy in Me And My Shadow. The teaming of Ebster and Daveluy was a sure hit with the audience, as the formidable duo knocked it out of the ball park with humor and impressive moves. Ebster, who is now a student of the Central West Ballet training track, showed great abilities in technical understanding and interpretation. Ebster is a natural and shows great potential as a dancer and performing artist. Memories Of You was next with Leslie Ann Larson and Joseph Adkins. This complete and rare performance by Larson and Adkins is best described as a great moment in dance for all who saw it. Larson's infinite movement quality and technical perfection was matched by Adkins's superb attention to detail as a partner in this moving number to a classic and memorable song.
Brandon Phelps next stepped in with Ol' Mac Donald with a swinging and sexy dance. Full of charm and tongue in cheek rapport, Phelps made the number fun with Elease Stice on Friday and Kylie Welch on Saturday. Stice was in great shape, effortlessly moving about while Welch danced with powerful appeal. Bewitched, with Gabrielle Barton and Joseph Adkins on Friday and Sarah Weaver and Adkins on Saturday, was sophisticated in concept and delivery. Barton showed maturity and Weaver wonderful ease of partnering in Adkins's hands.
Theme From New York New York followed with Nicole Firpo on Friday. Firpo's presence in this role is a perfect match with her classic beauty. Showing a Broadway charisma reminiscent of a Liza Minnelli, Firpo gave the song power and flair. On Saturday, Liana Yates stepped in and delivered a fantastic performance. Yates's fresh looks and confident moves were a delight to see and her immediate understanding of any role was as sharp as ever in this demanding dance number.
Wrapping up the program was One For My Baby, danced by Alyssa Milano. Already hailed as an instant classic number in 2010, Milano returned to the role with the same inimitable expertise. Wearing a tuxedo, hat and patent leather shoes to match, Milano flowed about the stage with complete mastering of the space and meticulous interpretive dancing. Milano's talent in this introspective number also showed great emotional content, reaching the heart and expressing each lyric to perfection. Artistic Director René Daveluy closed the evening with a wonderful singing rendition of Mack the Knife, followed by the whole company dancing in a grand finale complete with glitter as the audience gave Central West Ballet a long standing ovation.
Rat Pack in Revue is a truly entertaining and innovative program by Central West Ballet and one hopes to see this becoming a yearly entertainment tradition in the Company's future seasons.
Rat Pack In Revue 2012 - Full Review, Part 2 By CWB OFFICE
RENÉ DAVELUY ~ ARTISTIC DIRECTOR