'Dreamcoat'; Jessye Norman; Jewish Traveling Theatre; Copley Sq. Ballet; Small steps

The Copley Square Ballet Company kicked off the Publick Theatre's open-air season at Christian Herter Park last weekend - in a decidedly modest way. Its chamber-company size (no more than a dozen dancers) makes it a refreshing break from large ballet companies with their elaborate sets and huge corps de ballet. But a company this size must stand up to the audience's close gaze. It doesn't always succeed.

The artistic director, David Drummond, is a former soloist with the Boston Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and he is the company's main choreographer. Unfortunately, the dancers seemed constrained, rather than liberated, by the movements he's given them. They often lifted legs or simply leaped off the ground with no prior momentum or logical movement afterward. And although the dancers were personable, their technique was inconsistent.

However, the limitations of a small company are often its strengths - being small and young it has the freedom to grow. Despite its problems, the Copley Square Ballet has promise and could prove to be a welcome addition to the Boston dance scene.

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