Anyone looking for the next generation of Moiseyev Dance Company members could do worse than consider the Koslov Youth Dance Ensemble of Moscow, which appeared Saturday at Ambassador Auditorium as part of the company's first tour of the United States.
Made up of dancers age 6 to 18, the company offered at understandably lesser pitch a similar kind of disciplined commitment, vigor and zest. With technique to burn, they leave a razzle-dazzle impression as does the better-known Soviet adult company.
Even the programming--an extensive sampling of brief dances from Estonia to the Ukraine (plus an affectionate and competent tribute to American Appalachia)--followed the familiar pattern.
The girls exhibited poised and lyrical charm, but were no slouches in executing swirling turns, staunch and sturdy footwork or kicks to the heights.
The boys capitalized on explosively virtuosic steps--traveling squat kicks, flying jackknife jumps, sideways sliding leg extensions, circuits of hurtling barrel turns, even the dancing on toe found in Soviet Georgia.
The precision drill choreography--presumably by company director Valentine Koslov--occasionally could blur in a generalized kaleidoscope of such movements. How many times and in how many places could the hotcha open-arms finish be found?
Like Moiseyev, Koslov could refine nearly past recognition his ethnic source material--witness the slush-pump, romanticized treatment of an Eskimo deer dance. Similarly, he could insert cloying and facile character vignettes, although his Jewish birthday party sequence contained enough shoulder hunching and demisquat movements as supposedly ethnic "color" to make at least one observer uncomfortable.
Still, the dancers' superb training, their lack of affectation or salesmanship and the sheer delight their dancing evoked easily carried the day.