Dance Preview: 15th Anniversary Performance of “Ballet Boutique: A Summer Celebration” at Misako Ballet Company

Misako’s Japanese The keys bring additional beauty to the ballet.

It’s very quiet, rather charming, in fact, in the upstairs studio in Joseph Square, where Misako Aoki is having her company’s dancers rehearse for this Sunday’s concert at Columbia’s Jim Rouse Theater.

One dancer, in particular, stands out. Jessica Markiewicz is tall, regal, and as American as a hard-hitting Rockette. Yet it captures all the smooth, delicate movements of Misako’s intensely personal work, set in a remote village near the Sea of ​​Japan where the director was born.

“The Grateful Crane,” a one-act ballet featured on the company’s Sunday afternoon program, is indeed a welcome for summer. Like sunflowers about to bloom, Misako’s business is a barometer of warmer days. The crane, an elegant and beautiful bird, is considered auspicious in Japan. The ballet tells the story of such a revered bird which, when struck by a hunter’s arrow, is saved by a childless couple. The crane repays their kindness in a magical way.

There’s more than a whisper of dance history in this mirror-covered studio.

Five decades have passed since the New City Ballet opened in the village of Harper’s Choice, led the short-lived company with his wife, Rebecca Hoffberger, who until recently ran the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.

In the early 80s, John “Kinderman Taylor and TV star Peter Lupus of “Mission Impossible” transformed the second floor of Joseph Square into the infamous Disco Palace. This time, however, it’s not the sounds of Donna Summer who will accompany the dance but beautiful strains from faraway Japan with soprano, Eriko Tokura, lending her singing talent in the folktale ballet.

While the disco craze only lasted a few years, Misako has been successfully running her studio classes since 2002. Five years later, she’s established her professional company, filling venues with passion, determination and vision. , just as Columbia’s early dance leaders once did.

So what allows a dance studio to thrive in these tough financial times for the arts?

“Dance makes the world a better place, and Misako makes our dance world special,” said a veteran ballet student, a former ice-skating professional, who prefers her arabesques on the floor rather than on the ice. “This class brightens our day,” adds another Misako protege.

We all remember the kids taking tap lessons during the Depression and World War II, think of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. But Misako is a ballet teacher who preserves this European art form with a “Japanese” touch, freshness and honesty. The dancers in his company believe it is his “quiet tenacity” that keeps them on their toes.

“I’m thrilled with my first season with the Misako Baller Company, said Tara Hutton,” who rises as Misako’s Japanese Ballet Principal Crane. The tall, lithe ballerina also performs in “Dancing in the Dark,” a musical theater curated by Jens Lee, a faculty member who teaches ballet, pas de deux, musical theater dance and ballroom dancing for fun in his studio.

Tara Hutton earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Butler University, then moved to California to dance. She appears in the 2019 film “Little Women” as a dancer and captures the beauty and ferocity of a “Giselle” variation during Sunday’s live concert.

Cool off at one of summer’s must-attend events. It’s the perfect venue for couples, families and all ballet lovers when Misako Ballet Company presents its 15th anniversary show.

“Ballet Boutique: A Summer Celebration” premieres Sunday, June 26, 2022 at 2 p.m. at the Jim Rouse Theater, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia, MD 21044 For tickets and more information, click here. General admission $25 and free for children 14 and under accompanied by a paying adult.

Printable, PDF and email version

Comments are closed.