Performing Arts: Dance
June 20, 2015
When Valentina Kozlova took the stage of Symphony Space to perform “Le Reve d’Isadora” choreographed by Margo Sappington to music of Sergei Rachmaninov, you could easily see where her students get their inspiration. She radiates a grace and belief in the power of dance, chin lifted with an ecstatic inhale. Moscow native Kozlova, trained at the Bolshoi School, rose to the rank of principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet. She starred in Broadway's "On Your Toes," and danced with New York City Ballet for 13 years. Her choice of solo hints at perhaps a philosophical connection that Kozlova feels with Isadora, her emotional freedom, musicality and devotion to training the very young.

Of the thirteen dances performed, three stood out as defining the realm of the Dance Conservatory Performance Project: the raw product - children stupefied by the stage and their presence on it - to polished artists who claim the stage as their home. “La Sylphide Pas de Deux” choreographed by August Bournonville, music by Herman Lovenskjold, as performed by Revital Naroditski and Justin Valentine, and “Jazz Samba” choreographed by Sappington, sung by Ella Fitzgerald performed by Mari Bell, Nikita Boris, and Naroditski were particularly memorable. Naroditski, from Ashdod Israel, and Valentine just won scholarships to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et Danse in Paris through the Kozlova International Ballet Competition held at Symphony Space in May.

Naroditski dances with an unaffected lightness and charm that makes one remember George Balanchine’s statement that “ballet is woman”, and a very young woman’s art at that. Valentine matched her softness with a crisp, clean style. Valentine also danced with Nikita Boris, gold medalist in the Kozlova Competition, in a Pas de Deux from “La Fille Mal Gardee.” The “Jazz Samba," an excerpt from Sappington's "For Ella,” proved the dancers’ ability to play off the rhythms and show off Sappington’s talent for making the ballet vocabulary seem a natural fit for the samba. Sappington’s lyrical solo for Brecke Swan, “Christina’s World” set to the music of Frederic Chopin, served Swan more than the variation from “La Bayadere” that she performed well, but with more hesitation.

The Kozlova Dance Conservatory, founded 13 years ago in mid-town New York City, clearly offers superb training and coaching in a performance style that emphasizes inner glow over artifice. The dancers’ épaulement, their arms, feet, and hands are consistently perfect. For more information, visit
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers

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