|Kristina Windom, Kate, and Stephanie Walz backstage at THEARC|
Yesterday’s show by the Washington School of Ballet (WSB) was both a trip down memory lane and a depiction of how much the school has evolved. The performance took place at THEARC Theater, a venue that didn’t exist when Mary Day ran the school, but Day’s incredible teaching and attention to detail are still alive and vivid.
Several of the current WSB teachers were students of Day -- Kristina Windom and Stephanie Walz pictured above -- and preserve her legacy while also preparing students for the changing landscape of companies today. Kee Juan Han, the school director, does a stellar job of honing students’ abilities and producing dancers who fuse exquisite technique and breathtaking excitement: when Albert Gordon is dancing it is hard for me to see anyone else.
Albert possesses an uncanny maturity considering that he is still a teenager. His calm demeanor belies his extraordinary dancing. His turns are marked by his ability to effortlessly coast his rotations and then finish in perfectly balanced positions. His leaps yesterday at THEARC caused gasps in the audience. The fluidity of his lines and his impeccable phrasing make me think a lot of David Hallberg (which makes sense since Hallberg's teacher is also Albert’s teacher: Kee Juan Han.)
Even though I have never met him, I have watched Albert’s dancing both at the school and at various showings, and his performances are amazingly consistent for such a young artist. My guess is that he has been as committed to his training as his teachers have been.
Watching yesterday’s performance I thought about Keesha Beckford’s letter about teaching that was picked up from her blog and published by Huffington Post. Her letter resonated for all the reasons that I enjoy watching a dancer like Albert: he has achieved such technique and artistry through the mutual dedication of student and teacher.