The Artistic Director of Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre is Natasha Middleton, and she has every right to be proud of her company. I was fortunate to see “The Best of Khachaturian” on Sunday, September 17th at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. The company is made up of many Armenian soloists as well as soloists and dancers from around the world. The evening began with a tribute in memory of the Armenian Genocide, “Remember” with selections from Armenian Composer Aram Khachaturian’s “Cello Concerto in E-Minor”.
A beautifully moving tribute. Choreography of the piece was by Natasha Middleton with solo performances by Elen Harutyunyan, Grigori Arakelyan, Natalie Grina, Ashley Dawn Smith, Hannah Hart, and Musetta Ruben.
This performance was co-directed by Natasha Middleton and Ruben Tonoyan, Associate Director and Ballet Master for Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre. “Remember” was followed by “Spartacus”, a lovely adagio choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich, coached by Ruben Tonoyan and beautifully danced by Eduard Sargsyan (who served in the Amenian Army from 2006 to 2008) as Spartacus and Inga Demetryan (who performed with the Mariinsky Ballet Theatre as well as the Israel Ballet Company) as Phrygia.
The Intermission was followed by “Masquerade”, choreographed by Natasha Middleton, and lead primarily by Alexander Fost (who held the title of Mr. Dance USA as well as Mr. Dance International) as Prince Zeveditch, Alina Bormotova (soloist and Audition Director with Moscow Ballet)as Nina, and Natalie Grina (a soloist ballerina from London) as the Baroness.
Oleg Loparevi, Ashley Dawn Smith, Hannah Hart, Jacob Magana, Musetta Ruben, and an all too brief Aerialist performance by Julie Sanches, this piece concerns the disappearance of a missing bracelet. “Masquerade” is made up of ‘Masquerade Ball at Palace’, ‘The Gamble’ (my favorite if I had to choose) with Oleg Loparevi as the Dealer, ‘The Romance’ starring Grigori Arakelyan (a former National Scholar of American Ballet Theatre) as Arbenin and Alina Bormotova (from the Russian National Ballet as well as soloist in the Moscow Ballet) as Nina,
and finally ‘The Grand Dance’ featuring the dancing couple of Oleg Loparevi and Nataliia Lopareva (Champion Ballroom dancers of Gold and Silver in Germany as well as winners of other ballroom dance competitions worldwide). A brief interlude is followed by “Gayane”, a celebration of life. This piece includes ‘Saber Dance’, one of the most lively and famous Khachaturian compositions with dancers Ashley Dawn Smith, Hannah Hart, Jacob Magana, and Musetta Ruben.
At this point I must mention the names of the Corps De Ballet who did a remarkable job in supporting all the principals. They are Chloe Verkinder, Hagop Tanashian, Razmig Tanashian, Raffi Bilemjian, Shoshana Mozlin, Elissa Brock, Devon Reisenbeck, Charlotte Harrop, Megan Van Darren, and Patrick Fitzsimmons. If I have forgotten any names, please forgive my memory… I am an aging dancer myself.
The lighting for the evening was done by James W. Smith, with Music Editing by Carlos Sanches, beautiful costuming for “Remember” and “Spartacus” by Ann Lindsey, Seamstress for ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Gayane’ by Cami Warren, Production Images by Lana Davtyan, Pubic Relations for The Pacific Ballet by Steve Moyer.
This review was written by Stan Mazin