By Matt Markowski, Contributing Writer
The New York Theatre Ballet presented a revival of “Mother GOOSE!” on Feb. 10 at Florence Gould Hall, with original choreography by Keith Michael and a four hand piano score by Vladimir Shinov. The production will begin touring to various cities in the coming months, where it is sure to fixate and fascinate young children and their parents like it did Saturday night.
“Mother GOOSE!” is inspired by the nursery rhymes that have delighted children for hundreds of years. The production follows a day in the life of Mother Goose and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, with her children playing and causing mischief around the house.
Keith Michael evocatively choreographed the dancers through the world of Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes. The dancers carefully and hilariously recreated the stories of “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” and “Jack & Jill.”
The performance even became interactive for the children in the audience. In “A Was an Apple Pie (The ABCs),” the dancers joined together to create the letters with their bodies allowing for the audiences to shout out the letter during each pose.
At one moment, the dancers brilliantly came together in groups of two to create “the littles” – “Little Boy Blue,” “Little Bo Peep,” and “Little Miss Muffet.” One dancer made the face and legs while the second dancer created “the little’s” arms. The children in the audience were all amazed and transfixed at the little creations while their parents looked on with joy at their children’s happiness.
Vladimir Shinov composed a wondrous score reminiscent of the childish glee found in old nursery rhymes. Each story was unique with its own sound and beautiful upbeat melody that was candy to the audience’s ears. The creation of a four hand piano score, where two pianist play together on one piano, was also especially innovative and refreshing to see and hear.
“Mother GOOSE!” combines the well-known nursery rhymes of yesterday with the innovative dancing of today. The New York Theatre Ballet allows young children exposure to a carefully crafted art form at such a young age. The beauty of the production was its careful focus on the dancers and their stories.
There were no special effects nor big budget scene changes. “Mother GOOSE!” simply puts on the dancers and choreography on the forefront, introducing so many to the beautiful world of classical ballet.