The 11th annual "Stars on the Riverfront," set for
One notable addition to this year's free performances is a re-staging of the classic romantic ballet "Les Sylphides." When the ballet, with music by Chopin, had its 1909
Staging ADT's "Les Sylphides" called for its own stars. Enter former American Ballet Theatre principal
Reliving the movements
"Les Sylphides" is one of many well-known ballets Tcherkassky has danced in her career -- including performances with the famed Mikhail Baryshnikov. For the first five days of the seminar, Tscherkassky guided senior company members as they learned the steps and nuances of her staging of the ballet.
This is not the first time Tcherkassky has visited ADT. What brought her to
"When I was dancing with
Though she'd only spent a couple of days with the dancers last week, she noted their focus, responsiveness and work ethic, all products of their training at ADT.
"I feel like I'm throwing the information out, but what's nice is that they're picking it up," she said of the cast. "You want to get the information out to them so they can start digesting it, and the more time you have, you keep refining and polishing."
She said upon leaving
"It's just the level of excellence that these students present and the level of excellence the staff demands," Hart said. "I always appreciate the level of commitment and discipline that ADT has, compared to other smaller companies."
A life in dance
During a break in rehearsal, as Tcherkassky speaks of her life, it's natural for her to gesture gracefully with her hands, as if ballet is her everyday way of moving. When she talks of "Misha" (Baryshnikov's nickname) and of dancing the lead role of "Giselle" in
She's the daughter of a ballerina and an opera singer -- her first dance lessons were with her mother in the den of the family's home in
Tcherkassky began formal training at the renowned
"For most women, to dance until you're 40 is pretty fortunate," she said. "I was fortunate that I could."
To watch her rehearse with the ADT dancers, you'd think she'd never left the stage.
"I think the best part is that she's still so active, so we can learn so much from her just by watching her dance, and her upper body is still so perfect," Angelica said. "We're just trying to imitate her as best we can."
She added that from the moment the company knew Tcherkassky would stage the ballet, the dancers have been watching playlists of her dance performances, including "Les Sylphides" with Baryshnikov, on You Tube.
Ke'Yana Robinson, who dances one of the lead roles, said she has continued that ritual.
"I watch it twice a day," she said of the taped performances of Tcherkassky. "She also gives great corrections. She wants us to be at our best."
And for the brief time she was able to spend with the students, that was this prima ballerina's objective.
"The responsibility is to get them ready to perform, whether it's teaching part or they've learned parts," Tcherkassky said of working with students. "It's that other eye trying to bring out the best in each dancer and make them feel confident. My job is to make them feel confident enough to shine on stage."
WHAT: "Stars on the Riverfront" presented by
ADMISSION: Free; local food vendors will be on site for each of the performances.
INFORMATION: Call 241-2590 or visit www.alabamadancetheatre.com
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