Master Sushi Chef Osami "Fuji" Funita has been names Senior Executive Japanese Chef for Hyatt Hotels Worldwide. Although he will remain Executive Sushi Chef of Japengo at Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Casino, his talents will now be shared with other culinary masters around the world.
A Passion for Ballet
Special to LifeBitesNews
Rob Roberts, Press Features Limited
Pasion de Espana (Passion of Spain), the recent Alex Theatre in Glendale performance by the Media City Ballet revealed above all else how very seriously this unique company takes the art of the ballet.For some time, most of us who go to the theatre have long bemoaned the scarcity of any theatrical experience, involving dance, especially ballet. We all are aware of opera being performed regularly at the Dorothy Chandler downtown and the well received theatre and other music events elsewhere in the city but ballet is a far different story.So it was a very refreshing experience to be a part of the latest offering from the Media City Ballet Company.
It’s not a large company, numbering an assemblage of about eighteen dancers. And, of course, the music couldn’t have come from a live orchestra….but, I was able to witness a number of virtuoso performances, especially in the first half of the program.
From the music of Carmen, there are two especially tantalizing dances; the Cigarette Dance and the Adagio. The first was performed by a total of ten female dancers putting a lot of spice into the proceedings that probably Bob Fosse would even appreciate. The second number mentioned revealed a very charming and talented dancer by the name of Misuzu Okada, with very able assistance from Askar Kettebekov.
After this came the Spanish Dance from Swan Lake enacted by a large percentage of the company who kept the pace up very adequately.
Upon the start of the second half of the program, as a distinct contrast to the first half, it has to be mentioned that there were a number of missed cues as if the rhythm had been somehow interrupted.
But, as a tribute to the professionalism of the cast, the rest of the program was gamely performed without serious interruption. I especially liked Last Dance, music by Astor Piazolla and danced by Ellen Rosa and Jonathan Sharpe with nicely done élan and fluidity.
I have to, however, once again express one last reservation and that is about the addition of Bolero as the closing number of the show. This is, as we all know, a very repetitious work and unless it is choreographed very creatively, it’s going to come across in the same fashion. Maybe a little bit more thought and boldness might have made this a more successful venture and a real crowd pleaser.
But one has to realize that this is a evolving group with a lot of promise and a great future if the right effort is put forth. Ms. Natasha Middleton-Kettebekov, the Artistic Director, has to be applauded with what she has come up with. She has attracted a number of distinguished sponsors and has successfully branched her company out in a number of directions, which has to yield bountiful fruit in years to come.
I understand that the group is moving to a larger facility and is updating their infrastructure to better meet the needs of their increased activities.
Don’t forget that at one time, Los Angeles had a resident ballet company and there is no reason at all why the Media City Ballet can’t fill this much- needed gap.
I for one, after having the good fortune to see their dynamic performance at the Alex, have become an ardent supporter and look forward to their next venture, no matter what direction it may take.