June 9, 2019
There’s a ditty that I remember from the days when my five year daughter Alyson was in dance school in Huntington, Long Island. “Forty-five minutes from Broadway and oh what a difference it makes!”
Yesterday, we were about 561 miles from Broadway when we watched Broadway Fosse Style performed by a stage-full of students of Winston-Salem Festival Ballet and it didn’t make any difference at all. The dances were interpretations of 24 familiar show tunes that were labeled as “a tribute to their (Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon) diversity of style and volume of works…” and, as far as I’m concerned, it could have been beamed up from Broadway to Winston-Salem without losing an atom of energy. The dancers (granted, of a certain age) were as professional as any I’ve seen on Broadway. I say “of a certain” age because the show was, after all, something of a recital despite its professional choreography and performance. Frankly, as much as I admired the grace and skill of the older dancers, I fell in love with a dancer about ten years old sporting a long ponytail and glasses. She’ll break a few hearts as she ages.
Winston-Salem is full of surprises, which is more of a commentary on my increasing tunnel vision than on the city itself. The Festival Ballet is one of them, a surprise only because we hadn’t seen a Broadway musical in several years and it was a little like stepping back in time and out on the town when we could still afford Manhattan.
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