ivy_ballet_exchange_logo_jodyworthingtonThe Ivy Ballet Exchange performed their first show at Miller Theater on February 15 and 16. Bwog sent ballet aficionado Ali Sawyer to check it out.

This past weekend marked the debut of the Ivy Ballet Exchange, a collaboration between the ballet companies of Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton. I would be lying if I said all the good dancers were from Columbia; all three universities showcased exquisite balletic talent.

One highlight was the pas de deux entitled “All Things New,” performed by choreographer Kimi Nikaidoh, GS ’15, and Richard Isaac, GS ’13 and SIPA ’15. Against an orange backdrop, the dancers executed complex sequences of lifts and spins while smiling uncontrollably. Their clean lines and enviable extensions made for an aesthetically beautiful piece on their own, but Nikaidoh’s parachute-like skirt and Isaac’s rippling abs didn’t hurt, either.

For a ballet performance, the choreography and music selections were mainly contemporary. Six Columbia dancers performed a piece called “Nothing is Lost” to a spoken recording of the same title. It featured sharp movements and plenty of flexed feet. One Harvard piece involved red Keds and mimed giggling. Those who came expecting straight tights and tutus did not get much of what they came for.

Although the performance opened with a video proclaiming unity and collaboration, Ivy Ballet Exchange leaders chose to separate the show by school. A lengthy intermission followed each university’s performance of four numbers. Although this structure allowed the dancers to watch the other schools, if they so chose, it felt awkwardly divisive. Particularly if there are no snacks, one intermission is plenty.

The audience’s behavior was as despicable as the dancing was beautiful. As if to compensate for the f-word-shaped holes in their hearts, the theatergoers from Princeton shouted their friends’ names as they appeared onstage, even well after the music had started. The rest of the audience responded to the first outburst with a “shhh” and to the rest with audible grumbling.

I won’t attempt to rank the schools on the quality of their dancers, but I can say this for a fact: Princeton had the rudest fans.