IBC ‘Phantom of the Opera” Is A Singular Triumph

May 29, 2024


L-R Justin Hamilton, Morgan Rust & corps – Courtesy of Renzulli. Used with permission.

L-R Morgan Rust & Justin Hamilton – Courtesy of Renzulli.  Used with permission.

Indiana Ballet Conservatory (IBC) more than proved it deserves its distinction as the third best ballet school in the U.S. when it presented its interpretation of ‘The Phantom of the Opera, “ Saturday at the Tarkington Theatre at The Center of the Performing Arts in Carmel. The top ranking was bestowed on IBC in 2023 by a panel of judges that included faculty members of Ivy League schools.

Ingeniously arranged, choreographed and directed by IBC founder and Artistic Director Alyona Yakovleva — her adaptation of the 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux was truly inspired. In Yakovleva’s version, the beauteous heroine, Christine, is a ballet dancer as opposed to an opera singer who is the object of obsession for a mysterious, disfigured figure who lives beneath the Paris Opera House. In this this treatment the focus is placed on the love triangle between Christine’s suitor Raoul and the possessive Phantom.

L-R Justin Hamilton & Morgan Rust. Courtesy of Renzulli.  Used with permission.

Dancing the role of Christine, in an exquisite performance, was IBC alum Morgan Rust who is a principal dancer with Boulder Ballet. IBC student Justin Hamilton who is soon joining the junior company of the Joffrey Ballet, showed star quality as the Phantom and lithesome Luke Derkson displayed uncommon talent in his splendid portrayal of Raoul.

As far as the remainder of the company, which consisted of nearly 100 IBC dancers — they all exhibited the superior training they received under the superb tutelage of IBC faculty members that include former dancers Yakovleva, Tatiana Pali, Sergey Sergiev and Roman Nikiforov. Their influence on their charges was clearly reflected in the professional quality of the student’s technique.

L-R Luke Derkson & Morgan Rust – Courtesy of Renzulli, Used with her permission.

Especially impressive was the discipline reflected in such scenes. as “Diveristissement” and “Phantom’s Thoughts” which featured large corps of IBC student dancers. Under Yakovleva’s astute direction, the precision of their synchronization was simply outstanding as they executed her dynamic choreography which was a fusion of classical and contemporary ballet.

Contributing to the heightened artistic quality of Yakovleva’s original creation was her choice of music which included everything from Chopin, and Piazzolla, to “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” from “Carmina Burana.”

Adding to the richness of Yakovleva’s vision was Quentin James’s effective lightning which suggested locations and passage of time. Considering that “Phantom” took place on a bare stage, the use of one’s imagination was critical, so James’s bold contribution was key to sparking it.

Preceding the main program, the evening commenced with former Indianapolis Ballet principal dancer and current IBC operations manager Chris Lingner and IBC student Clara Crane. The duo eloquently partnered in a pas de deux from “The Firebird” presented by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra with IBC as special guests in March.

For information about Indianapolis Ballet Conservatory visit indianaballetconservatory.org
























photo: Josh Humble

About Tom

Journalist, producer, director, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, arts administrator, TV contributor, actor, model, writer and lyricist, Tom Alvarez has had an extensive career in media and the fine arts and continues to be an enthusiastic and devoted fan of both. His passion and unique background grant him insight, access and perspective to cover, promote and review the arts in Indianapolis, Central Indiana and beyond. Follow him on social media @tomalvarezartswriter and @tomalvarez1.

Alvarez has been writing about theatre, dance, music, cinema and visual arts for 40 years. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Star, NUVO, Indianapolis Monthly, Arts Indiana, Unite Magazine, Dance Magazine, NOTE Magazine, and Examiner.com, among many other print and online platforms. A former contributor to Across Indiana on WFYI-TV, he currently has a regular performing arts segment on WISH-TV’s Life. Style. Live!

A principal of Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC, Alvarez co-created “Calder, The Musical” and is the managing director of Magic Thread Cabaret. As an actor-model, he has appeared in numerous TV and print ads and is represented by the Helen Wells Agency and Heyman Talent Artists Agency.

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