October 1997

Patrick Frantz and la danserie Debut: A Triumph June 8, 1997 marked the debut of la danserie, choreographer Patrick Frantz's new performing ensemble formed just last year. The new group performed at California State University Northridge Performing Arts Center with an eclectic program including two world premieres, one by Frantz and the other by Lisa K. Lock. The dancers included those in Los Angeles with whom Frantz has worked in the past as well as professionals that expressed a desire to come and work with the choreographer.the program began with Frantz's 'homage' to dance itself with the premiere of La Danserie - choreographed and named in honor of the newly formed company. The work is energetic and fast-paced with clever cultural nods to Greek (Bouzouki), French (Musette), Spanish (Flamenco) and German (Landler) ethnic dances. The 19 dancers do an excellent job of conveying dance as 'having no borders' with clean technique and an enthusiastic approach to the intricate choreography. Frantz has rehearsed his dancers expertly and they have responded to his visionary direction with dedication and well-trained purpose. his choreography is a joyous celebration of dance and should remain a staple in this group's future repertoire.Showing the diversity of the group's dancers, the program included the 'ultra-classical' Pas de Quatre and Flower Festival at Genzano. The dancers were able to show their high standard versatility and capability in both ballets. Lynn Fant Fanjeaud is the ballet mistress to be commended for her loyal staging of the pieces, keeping in close touch with the true style of each. She has a true respect for the classics and is an inestimable asset to this company's future.

Lisa K. Lock's contribution to the company is valuable as dancer, as well as choreographer. Her work is the other world premiere debuted. After beautifully executing the solo, Luange, which Frantz create for her, she established herself as an incredibly imaginative choreographer with Skaug. The six dancers were moving as they showed how humankind is always coveting whatever one does not have. There were no program notes so the audience was left to their own interpretation... a lovely piece.

The crowning piece of the evening was the 23 year revival of Frantz' Firebird. The piece has lost none of its impact with age. Originally, the work was commissioned by the state of Arizona with an American Indian theme as the focal idea. Firebird has experienced only rave reviews as it traveled across the US and Europe with various companies. The principal roles require technical dance wizards and actors and this performance birthed a true ballerina seriously worth watching. Ashley Anderson portrayed Firebird with remarkable aplomb for her young years. She was amazingly sure of the difficult steps and gave a beautiful interpretation of the spirit-bird. Eddie Mikrut was a strong and handsome partner who matched Ms. Anderson's capabilities and complemented her technical abilities in his role as the Hero. Physically, they were ideally matched. The incredible Stravinsky score climaxes the end of the ballet with Frantz's idea of 'flying' the wings and borders of the stage so the audience can witness the total effect of the body sculptures of the final pose the dancers create with the beautiful lighting a breathtaking effect!

Keep an eye on this energetic young team of performers they are well worth watching and will definitely make an impact in the dance world.


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