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Prague Festival Ballet.

That the ten dancers of Prague Festival Ballet seem young is due less to their actual ages than to the gentle, sweet way in which they present themselves. No hauteur, no grandiosity, just polite manners plus a directness with technique typify the approach to ballet that David Slobaspyckyj has inculcated in his company. The women, particularly the compact and precise Daria Klimentova, seem more comfortable with classicism than do the men, who are at ease in character dance - the exception being Karel Littera, a mild-mannered yet capable balletic partner and soloist.

Two ballets by Slobaspyckyj seen on this program display distinct ideas but are somewhat deficient in craftsmanship. The order of dance and mime passages resembles a casually shuffled deck of cards; within the dance phrases themselves, the choreographer plays with placing people in off-center balances and posing them at stylish angles. However, he limits the classical steps of Love Lessons to extensions, lifts, turns, and more of the same turns, and does not present this restricted vocabulary with much subtlety. In Silent Whispers the linking of movement - balleticized folk steps - is smoother, but to build excitement Slobaspyckyj relies on too many entrances and exits rather than on a sustained development of steps and phrases.

Best in both pieces is the charm of the mime, as when three lasses who tease a lad go skinny-dipping, and he hides their garments before jumping in to join them in the surf. Or when two young people stand facing each other in their freshly starched underwear and the girl shyly reaches out to touch the boy but then pulls forward the waistband of his boxer shorts to peer inside. He watches her looking, then looks down too. A restrained duet of cradling follows. By implying more than a kiss and a hug, Slobaspyckyj has updated the flirtations that abound in the dance numbers of Eastern European folk troupes, yet he's not dispelled their air of innocence.

More skillfully constructed than his pieces, but lacking individuality, is Romanian choreographer Alice Minodora Necsea's generically romantic abstraction, Serenade Opus 5, to staunchly conservative music by contemporary Slovak composer Eugen Suchon.
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Title Annotation:Reston Community Center Theatre, Reston, Virginia
Author:Jackson, George
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Jan 1, 1996
Previous Article:Lea Wolf.
Next Article:Malashock Dance and Company.

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