BWW Reviews: BARK IN THE PARK Treats Young Audiences to Ballet
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by Marina Kennedy
Ballet at its best connects the audience to the art of dance and succeeds in captivating them with a story or theme. Bark in the Park by The New York Theatre Ballet did just that with their debut performance at El Museo Del Barrio at 1230 Fifth Avenue in New York City on Tuesday, February 5th. Young and old alike were fascinated as NYTB dancers performed the story of the Tucker family who lose their beloved family dog, Mr. Benjamin, in Central Park.
The music and story are by composer and author Karen LeFrak, and the choreography is by Chase Brock who also choreographed Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark. The clever and elaborate costuming was designed by Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan who is the Resident Costume Designer at the Metropolitan Opera.
The charming tale starts happily with a family outing. The Tucker family enjoys the amenities of the park complete with a clever dance depicting a ride on the carousel. When Mr. Benjamin is lured away from the family by a mischievous squirrel, father, mother, son, and daughter search the park frantically while their wayward pup finds entertainment at the Central Park Zoo. There, the dancers perform charming animal scenes including Swimming Sea Lions, Monkey Business, and the Snow Leopards' Tango. To everyone's delight, the family dog is reunited in the park with his loved ones and there is a joyous ending. While the story is geared for a young audience, the expertise of the company succeeds elevating every audience member's appreciation of ballet.
The performance of Bark in the Park at El Museo Del Barrio was followed by a family party that featured a children's buffet supper, crafts, face painting, a dance lesson and a "make your own pupcake" station. The evening was a complete success and a treat for all who attended.
Additional performances of Bark in the Park will continue at New York City's Florence Gould Hall on February 23rd at 1:00pm and on Sunday, February 24th at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online at the company's website, www.nytb.org or in person at The Florence Gould Hall Box Office, 55 East 59th Street, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787.
The New York Theatre Ballet was founded in 1978 by Diana Byer. It is the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States. The company is dedicated to performing contemporary and classic chamber ballets at affordable prices for all audiences locally, nationally and internationally. NYTB is credited with introducing thousands of young people to ballet. Its mission includes reaching out to children that have limited exposure to the performing arts and to dance in particular. NYTP provides training at its school in New York and has a LIFT Community Services Program which provides tuition-free ballet classes and other vital help for productive learning for at-risk and homeless children.
Photo Credit: Gregory Partanio, Manhattan Society