Recital embraces 'best of both worlds'

  • Students from Ballet and All That Jazz take the stage Saturday in a performance titled, "Vanish," during their spring recital at The Maryland Theatre.
Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- "Ballet and all kinds of dance" just doesn't have a ring to it.

But Ballet and All That Jazz perfectly sums up what dance company owner and director Ranelle Flurie brings to her dancers and their audiences.

A packed house Saturday afternoon at The Maryland Theatre saw dancers from age 3 to young adult perform ballet, jazz, tap, modern and hip-hop styles.

The matinee performance of the Ballet and All That Jazz spring recital opened with a segment called "Gravitation," featuring music by artists such as OneRepublic and Kelly Clarkson.

Dancer Marisa Geller, 14, of Hagerstown, has studied both ballet and modern dance for 12 years. She said modern is her favorite dance style, but ballet provides a strong foundation.


"I like to study dance because it's a different way to show who you are," Marisa said.

Ballerinas waited in the wings with tight chignons in traditional tutus for their turn to dance to Mozart and Albinoni. Alongside them were tap dancers in flashy halter tops ready to stomp to the raucous soundtrack of the 2006 dance film "Step Up." Upstairs were hip-hop dancers, whose costumes included hot pants and fedoras, ready for a Michael Jackson tribute.

Flurie said around 300 dancers participated in the recital. Preschool and elementary-school age dancers flooded the dressing rooms and narrow halls beneath the performance area. Stage mothers busied them with coloring books and simple crafts.

Cassie Bedard, 9, of Hagerstown, made a friendship bracelet while she waited to perform in the "Rapunzel" number of the "Storybook Characters" ballet. Cassie and her demi-pointe group wore ornate plum-colored tutus adorned with pearl flowers, and pearl earring and necklaces.

"This is so much fun because we get to show the dances we've been working on all year," Cassie said.

Arin Knotts of Clear Spring said she enrolled her daughter Kira Knotts, 10, for dance classes when she was 3 because she was so shy.

"Now, she is confident and performs with no problem," Arin Knotts said. "Plus, dance teaches the girls discipline and posture, how to work together and patience. It just helps them to be all-around good kids."

Ann Urner of Hagerstown stood in the back of the house watching the young dancers perform as she waited for her daughter, North Hagerstown High School senior Abby Urner, to perform a solo.

"I'm just reminiscing back in my mind to Abby's first recital," she said. "It's wonderful seeing these beautiful young women growing and heading off for a new journey in life."

Urner said she likes the Ballet and All That Jazz philosophy of providing an array of dance styles to young dancers.

"I think it's important to expose them to the classical side of music," Urner said. "Ballet is just angelic and pretty. But the girls love jazz and hip-hop, too, because it's upbeat and modern. It's the best of both worlds."

Another recital later Saturday at the theater featured only advanced dancers from the company.

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