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Elizabeth Sykes stole my heart with her poi- gnant, pert portrayal of the Cowgirl infatuated with the handsome Head Wrangler (Ricardo Graziano) in Sarasota Ballet's Feb. 28 perfor- mance of Rodeo, Agnes DeMille's theatrical tale of love among the cowboys. Sykes' winsome portrayal of an awkward girl infused the trite role with tender charm. I had no idea she was such a strong actress, but she absorbed the role — which traced a young girl's journey from conformity to acceptance — with a soubrette's delicacy, her facial expressions mirroring every slight hope and disappointment. At the same time, she sashayed around the stage like a grace- ful imp. Along the way, one cowboy, Logan Learned, had sympathy for her plight, and though he jumped with his usual spectacular brio, I did not think he projected the down-to-earth hardiness of a cowboy; but his tap dancing impressed the Cowgirl character enough to win her heart. The rest of the company, the women dressed appropriately in period long dresses and the men in jeans, filled in the background dancing, carrying the story forward. There was even Sarasota Ballet performs Rodeo in December 2011. Contributed photo by Frank Atura A BALLERINA STEALS THE SHOW IN RODEO AND A PRINCIPAL COMPANY MEMBER CONTINUES TO IMPRESS WITH HIS CHOREOGRAPHY AS WELL AS HIS DANCING WOWING THE AUDIENCE By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer

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