In a large ballet studio in Midtown, a piano pounds out an insistent waltz at a slower-than-comfortable tempo. With pointe shoes on bare feet, about 30 young dancers repeatedly spring into the air with legs interlacing. They nail multiple turns and leap with legs scissoring. They repeat the phrase — higher, stronger — each time adding clarity and finesse. They’re trained to dance full-out in a crowded space without colliding and to stay focused without showing signs of fatigue, even when exhausted or in pain. Wish I could bottle that motivation, desire and commitment — as palpable as the room’s warm, sweaty air — and give it to every teenager.
On July 30, this group will reveal their talents in a performance of ballet, modern dance and jazz works in a free show at Kennesaw State University’s Stillwell Theater at 4 p.m.
Warren says she first met Atlanta Ballet artistic director John McFall in 1982 when he created a ballet on American Ballet Theatre II. As the junior company’s ballet mistress at the time, Warren helped recruit young dancers from across the country. Casting “Les Sylphides” again calls on her eye for talent.
Warren sought dancers who had not only technical mastery, but “who, when they danced, looked like they were completely self-involved.” In “Les Sylphides,” Warren continues, “you’re not performing for the audience. You’re so caught up in the poetry of the music — it’s just about you and the music.”
“That’s the ultimate area of talent — to draw us in,” Warren says softly, “because you are so personally invested in what you’re doing, that we’re fascinated watching you do it.” Warren adds that we’re drawn to beauty, but “not the beauty of a vacuous high fashion model. It’s an inner beauty that reveals itself when you’re dancing.”