SideLines: Local dance company impresses

I kept looking for him, but he never showed up.

In March, I went to “A Storybook Ballet,” an original production by the Beth Fowler School of Dance. I’m not really big on ballet – the only other one I’ve ever seen is “The Nutcracker” in Chicago – but I had done a preview story on the show and had heard so much about the Genoa-based dance company, I was curious to see it.

As I was sitting at the Egyptian Theatre, watching the action unfold, my mind kept going back to an old episode of “Two and A Half Men.” Jake, 10, tries out with a local ballet company to impress the lady director he has a crush on. On opening night, the other dancers – all girls – are on stage when the curtain opens and Jake walks out, dressed like a duck or something. He takes one look around, then utters the immortal line, “No woman is worth this,” before turning around and calling it a day.

Although one of the younger boys in the “Snow White” segment reminded me a little of Jake, nothing like that happened in the ballet I saw. In fact, all the males performed very well, including one muscular young man who did pushups with a female dancer on his back.

I’m no expert, but I thought it was an excellent show.

Some of the things I liked best are probably the same things that make a director cringe, like when the little ones, try as they might, were out of step with each other. There was also the time a door wouldn’t latch or part of an older dancer’s tutu came undone, slipping to the stage. The girl continued dancing until she could discreetly kick it off stage. It’s those things, the little mistakes, that make any live performance more real, more endearing.

I also found it charming when the younger dancers finished their routines and gathered in the balcony to loudly and enthusiastically cheer on the older ones. At the time, I couldn’t help wondering how many little girls – and maybe little boys – were turning to their mothers and saying, “Mom, I want to be a dancer.”

I’m sure the same thing will happen again this weekend when the production company performs “Fame and More” at the Egyptian, which is a great place to go for any reason. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. June 7 and 8 and 2 p.m. June 8 and 9.

According to a press release, the company will recreate scenes from the popular 1982 movie, including the memorable scene in which the lunch room breaks out into a wild, impromptu jam session.

From what I understand, the company will also perform later this month at the Miss Illinois pageant, which is only appropriate since Miss Illinois 2011, Hannah Smith, is a former dancer and on the faculty at the school.

But if you go, don’t expect to see Jake anywhere. (Ironically, the day after the “Storybook” performance, I was watching TV and came across that episode. No matter how many times I see it, I can’t help laughing. But what do I know about ballet?)

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