Starry night for Astros at the Joffrey Ballet

October 28, 2011
Trib Local
Bob McParland


For adults who think teenagers today view the world cynically, that they’re just too cool for school, Juan Cruz and Nohemi Vaicius wish you could have been at the Joffrey Ballet last week.

The Spanish teachers from Shepard High School took 20 of their seniors to see Don Quixote performed by the renowned Joffrey.

The blend of language, literature, culture and dance – delivered by a world-class ballet company—stirred the rookie art patrons.

“How many high school kids get this chance? I was honored to introduce something as wonderful as ballet to our kids,” said Cruz.

Ballet may conjure smirks and eye rolls from students who have not experienced it. If they felt skeptical before the performance, the Shepard seniors left as fans.

“What I enjoyed most about the ballet was being able to go as a high school student to such a high class place,” said Onute Jureviciute. “It made me feel grown up and sophisticated.”

“I really enjoyed the scene in Don Quixote where he fights the windmills that have come to life. The scene was portrayed very innovatively,” said Fasika Zellelew.

Pageantry proved memorable for the Shepard seniors.

“It was elegant,” said Fatima Abuzerr. “They dancers were great, and they performed perfectly to the music.”

“I really enjoyed the costumes worn by the dancers. They were exciting and beautiful,” said Annie Evans.

Like many with predisposed views of ballet, students learned to not place limits or labels on art.

“I thought the ballet was going to be boring. The ability of the dancers to be so swift on their feet really impressed me,” Ricardo Santiago said.

Perhaps due to the dance and music, the story reached students in new ways.

“I expected the ballet to be very serious and all about dancing, but some parts made me laugh,” Zellelew said. “I could tell that they really put time and effort into the telling of the story with the ballet.”

“I thought it was going to be three hours of dancing without any plot,” said Jureviciute. “It was actually quite fascinating and entertaining. I loved it.”

While the ballet did not fit some of their preconceived notions, fellow audience members also surprised the students.

“Well, I thought it would be a bunch of old people (in the audience) but it turned out to have a pretty diverse age group,” Abuzerr said.

And, given the chance, would they recommend the ballet to a friend?

“How many people get to say they went to a professional ballet? C’mon!” Jureviciute exclaimed.

“In the end, the ballet turned out very interesting,” Santiago said. “Don’t judge anything before trying if out for yourself.”

“I would recommend it. It was a great experience. I had a lot of fun,” Zellelew said.