The second year of the Carreño Dance Festival kicked off in early August when 88 students from as far as Brazil, England, France and Mexico attended dance rehearsals taught by impressive ballet faculty. Students learned from Loipa Araujo, former prima ballerina of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and Ballet de Marseille; Yuri Fateev, director of Mariinsky Ballet; and Rinat Imaev, company teacher at American Ballet Theatre, to name a few.
The Festival of Stars Friday Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25, gave the students a chance to reveal to the audience their newly acquired skills at the Sarasota Opera House.
“Obviously the performance is the highlight, because the kids have to concentrate so hard for three weeks to retain all the choreography and perform it to the standards we want them to,” Robert de Warren, president and CEO says.
It was more of a performance than a recital, because the youngsters shared the stage with renowned dancers. Unfortunately, San Fransisco Ballet’s Taras Dimitro and American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland were not in the program as advertised, due to injuries.
“We had one day-and-a-half notice. It was just sad,” de Warren says.
But the show must go on, and it did. The program started with a Cuban version of second act of “Giselle,” with American Ballet Theatre Prima Ballerina Julie Kent as Giselle; José Manuel Carreño as Albrecht; American Ballet Theatre artist Melanie Hamrick as Myrtha; and American Ballet Theatre Soloist Gennadi Saveliev as Hilarion.
Another highlight of the performance was “L’Effleuré,” performed by Rubinald Rofino Pronk. Annabelle Lopez choreographed the modern-dance performance.
“Our mission is being accomplished, and so I think we are really pleased with the results of this year,” de Warren says.