Category Archives: Ballet Zine

Wonderful holiday renditions of The Nutcracker-some are still playing or will play after the 25th!


http://www.topix.com/arts/ballet/2015/12/nutcracker-duet-gives-young-ballet-dancers-a-chance-to-shine

 

http://www.newson6.com/story/30810106/the-joffrey-ballets-the-nutcracker-wins-goldstar-prizeThe Associated Press

http://www.nycballet.com/Ballets/N/George-Balanchines-The-Nutcracker.aspx

 

http://www.nutcracker.com/buy-tickets

alt

 

https://www.washingtonballet.org/performances/2015-2016

The Nutcracker with Esmiana Jani

 

http://www.pbt.org/nutcracker

 

http://www.atlantaballet.com/

 

http://coloradoballet.org/performances/the-nutcracker

 

These are just a few of the many American events of the great Nutcracker which is performed in December and January across the United States-find one near you!  http://bit.ly/1PnUYIp

I always knew there was plenty MORE to Christopher Walken; happily, it’s that he was a dancer! | EW.com


Christopher Walken just wants to dance | EW.com.

Repost: How A Fluffy Tutu Helped Me Find My Magic Again


Sarah Sapora-Marketing expert and lifestyle blogger passionate about empowering women to be more inspired and body positive in their everyday lives. (The Huffington Post 5/6/2015) Reposted 5/10/2015 on Mysylph. Photos by Nichole Alex.

A few years ago I started noticing this trend in fashion blogging — tutus.
Blame it on SJP and Sex and the City if you will, but tutus were suddenly everywhere. Petite girls, plus size girls, women of all shapes and colors were donning fluffy skirts and posing for pictures on rooftops, desert roads, beaches and urban city streets. Oh look, another tutu pic…

Cut to the present. I was deep in the throes of a stream of crappy dates — feeling blue and lackluster. I’d sought solace at the bottom of many containers of Haagen Dazs Limited Edition Peanut Butter Pie. I had exasperated all my Back Up Guys via text and watched Sleepless in Seattle for the third time when I came to the conclusion of the cold, hard truth — if I wanted to get My Magic back, I was going to have to get it myself. And that’s when the idea pinged over my head like a cartoon lightbulb: I wanted a tutu.

What would I do with one? Where would I wear it? How on earth did buying one make sense?

I threw away each of these practical questions and turned to Etsy. A quick search revealed dozens of vendors offering tutus. I flipped through page after page til I found the perfect match and squealed in delight when I saw a HUGE color card to pick from. Did I want bright pink? Vivid aqua? Shocking yellow? And then I saw My Color. Electric Coral. It spoke it me. It Dolly Parton sang to me. Before common sense could intervene, I placed an order for my very own, custom-made tutu.

It arrived on a Thursday. Packed into a small, lightweight box. And when I took it out and released its glory unto the world — the heavens sang.

It had magical powers. As if it was sewn from threads of whimsy and delight.

The tutu sat on the floor of my friend’s apartment and gathered spectators, all coming to pay homage to it, having heard about it through the grapevine. Selfies were snapped. And every woman, no matter how old, how serious, or how jaded and “oh so, LA” became an enchanted little girl in its presence. Skinny girls. Big girls. Twenty-something girls and 40-something executives all melted into pools of giggling pleasure as she wrapped it around her waist. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Tutu.

Do you wonder what it feels like to wear a tutu?

Once you get over the silly feeling — which lasts all of seven seconds — you feel simply glorious.

You are transported back to your parent’s living room, swirling around in oversized dress up clothes with sticky, jelly covered fingers. Before college or period cramps or micromanaging bosses. Before agonizing over each text He sent, stressing about debt, wondering when those wrinkles got there? When desire, not obligation, was your daily fuel.

You feel emotions you haven’t dare been in touch with, since gravity hit your breasts and grey hair started creeping in at your crown. Whimsy. Glee. Enchantment. Freedom.

You know, the things “grown-ups” just don’t allow themselves to feel.

For just those few minutes, you are The Little Princess, Sara Crewe, reunited with her father. Mary Lennox in her Secret Garden, blooming with flowers. Eloise running free through the Plaza. Alice gazing upon Wonderland for the first time.

For that period of time, striped socks, leg warmers, glitter Mary Janes and a polka dot skirt is a totally legit fashion choice. Spoonfuls of Nutella are a perfectly suitable dinner. Making a blanket fort with your BFF is the awesomest of Saturday night activities. She who had the most Lisa Frank stationary won at life. And nobody, and I mean nobody, could tell you that that plastic lanyard friendship bracelet made safety pinned to a sock while sitting cross-legged on the bed wouldn’t last forever and ever and ever.

You are Madonna. And Tiffany. And the sky isn’t just blue, it’s “Electric Blue” (thank you, Debbie Gibson) and you can paint the world any color you like with your brand new set of scented markers and glitter lip gloss and hair sprayed with Sun In…

But then the Galaxy beeps on the table next to you.

And the spell is broken.

Crestfallen you take your tutu off. Pack it (somewhat) neatly back into the box. And return to life. Your boss emails. And the phone clangs and dings in your hands. The Internet goes out (again) and you unplug the router for the eighth time. And your jeans are tighter than they were last week (whaat?) and you look forward to your current definition of Saturday night awesomeness activities, eating Chipotle and catching up on Scandal.

But as you stuff that box away under your bed, you touch it lovingly. You’ll always have that box. Stuffed with your tutu. That fluffy, frothy, magical tutu. Sitting at rest and waiting. It’s yours to cherish. To take for a whirl when you need it the most. When you need to remind yourself its ok to be young at heart, to make friends with that little girl inside you with the jelly covered fingers. To never entirely let her go. And nobody, we mean nobody, can tell you that joy won’t last forever and ever and ever.

And so I urge you, from one woman to another. Find your tutu. If you’re feeling frisky, get your own! But if tulle and ribbon isn’t in your future, find something. Something that belongs only to you. A dress in your favorite color. The faded New Kids on the Block tee you’ve had since the 7th grade. Or something made of lace. Something, anything, that when you slip it over your head makes you utterly impervious. To stress and to obligation. To big, scary decisions with lots of consequences. To transport you to a more simple time when you lived in the moment, time was on your side, and anything was possible.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-sapora/how-a-fluffy-tutu-helped-me-find-my-magic-again_b_7052240.html#slide=start

See the full article here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-sapora/how-a-fluffy-tutu-helped-me-find-my-magic-again_b_7052240.html

Review: Alonzo King Lines Ballet at the Joyce Theater – NYTimes.com


Review: Alonzo King Lines Ballet at the Joyce Theater – NYTimes.com.

Is Dance training ONLY Elite dancers, and NOT Looking at the Bigger Pictures-Who Will Dance With Them? What Will They Dance? Is Education Suffering Too?


http://londondance.com/articles/news/dance-education-the-real-challenges/.

Is There a Danger Indeed?


New Center at N.Y.U. Focuses on Dance and the Arts – NYTimes.com.

Ballet a la Ang Lee


This Guy is Not Defying Gravity, These Are Just Perfectly Timed Photos - TechEBlog

This Guy is Not Defying Gravity, These Are Just Perfectly Timed Photos – TechEBlog.

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley Succeeds With ‘Do-or-Die’ Fundraising Effort


Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley succeeds with ‘do-or-die’ fundraising effort

By Karen D’Souza

POSTED:   03/16/2015 06:00:07 AM PDT# COMMENTS| UPDATED:   A DAY AGO

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley successfully overshot its do-or-die fundraising goal over the weekend by almost $100,000. Many see it as a much-needed shot in the arm for the valley’s fragile art scene.

“The community does not want to lose another arts organization,” said Lisa Mallette, head of City Lights Theater Company. “People are willing to step up and ensure that this one remains strong and vital.”

The South Bay’s major resident dance company snagged $640,000, more than the $550,000 it needed to stay alive. With the emergency push behind it, ballet leaders said they intend to reboot its operation, including rebranding it: Silicon Valley Ballet.

Corps de Ballet members, from left, Alison Stroming, Grace Anne Powers and James Kopecky, practice during a company class taught by San Jose Ballet Artistic Director José Manuel Carreño, at Ballet San Jose in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group) ( LiPo Ching )

“This campaign proves that people care about the ballet as much as we do and it gives us the ramp we need to get out ahead of the situation,” said ballet CEO Alan Hineline. “Finally there is some good news for the arts in the South Bay. We believe the ballet can be a rallying point for the city and the downtown.”

Withhttp://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site568/2015/0310/20150310__SJM-BALLET-0311~1_300.JPG many in the arts community still reeling over the loss of San Jose Rep, the fact that the ballet stayed afloat is the source of great relief. It was also seen as a vote of confidence that the valley, often knocked as an industry town interested only in high tech, also values the arts.

TEETERING ON THE EDGE

It’s also a refreshing outcome because it comes after a series of devastating losses in recent years.

Corps de Ballet members, from left, Alison Stroming, Grace Anne Powers and James Kopecky, practice during a company class taught by San Jose Ballet Artistic Director José Manuel Carreño, at Ballet San Jose in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group) ( LiPo Ching )

The region has lost not only the Rep, which went under last year, but also Shakespeare Santa Cruz, which died in 2013 (before being reincarnated in a smaller form) and American Musical Theatre of San Jose, which perished in 2008.

Hineline, for one, has been pushing hard to buck the trend of local arts groups teetering on the edge.

“We know that the collapse of the Rep hurt everyone. A loss like that sends shock waves,” Hineline said. “We wanted to change that narrative, to change the ending of that story — and we did. Finally there is some good news for the arts in the South Bay.”

So, what made the ballet better positioned for survival than the Rep, which was also a beloved local institution?

One of the smartest moves the ballet made may have been making a public appeal over its fate, instead of slipping away quietly.

“The Rep went under without a word, which upset a lot of people,” said Andrew Bales, head of Symphony Silicon Valley. “The ballet made some noise and gave people a chance to have their say.”

Of course, this could be just a temporary reprieve. Ballet leaders must stay on their toes because there is another deadline looming. Company officials say they will need to raise $3.5 million by October to restructure the company’s business model and re-brand itself as Silicon Valley Ballet. The troupe, now led by ballet hotshot Jose Manuel Carreno, wants to raise its profile and reach out to a wider geographic audience.

SHORT HISTORY

The troubled company, which partnered with New York’s American Ballet Theatre in 2012, has weathered many fiscal crises over the years. Old debts have piled up, including a $500,000 tax bill, and the company’s biggest patron, John Fry, CEO of Fry’s Electronics, dialed back his patronage. The ballet has countered by cutting back, scrapping some performances and dropping live music accompaniment here and there. The budget for the organization, which includes 32 professional dancers and bustling school of 350 students, now stands at $5.6 million, down from a high of $8 million.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the harsh South Bay arts economy is the comparative wealth of groups in San Francisco and Berkeley. Yet local arts honchos suggest these struggles may simply be growing pains.

“The San Francisco art scene was built over 150 years, seeded in the Gold Rush,” said Randall King, head of San Jose Stage Company. “South Bay cultural resources have a relatively short history. We have built a competitive environment in a very limited timeline. We are younger, but no less valid or viable.”

Contact Karen D’Souza at 408-271-3772. Read her at http://www.mercurynews.com/karen-dsouza, and follow her at Twitter.com/karendsouza4.

via Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley succeeds with ‘do-or-die’ fundraising effort – San Jose Mercury News.

Ballet San Jose Needs Donations by March 14 Deadline!


José Manuel Carreño adjusts Ommi Pipit-Suksun in company class. Photo by Alejandro Gomez

Ballet San Jose Needs $550,000 To Stay Afloat

Posted by Kristin Schwab on Friday, Mar 06, 2015 (reposted from Dance Magazine)

Ballet San Jose announced this week that it must raise $550,000 by March 14 to keep its doors open.

The company has a troubled past when it comes to leadership and funding. For instance, it sought out loans to help cover what critics more or less dubbed as over-ambitious seasons during the final decade of artistic director Dennis Nahat’s leadership. In 2013, former American Ballet Theatre dancer José Manuel Carreño was appointed AD. As we reported in our January 2014 feature, during his first season, the company’s prospects were looking up. Though Carreño had little to no experience running a company, his fame helped donations rise during the 2012–13 season and Ballet San Jose nearly broke even, compared to a $1 million operating loss in the previous year.

In a press release, BSJ said that if it is open come September 2015, the company will rebrand itself as Silicon Valley Ballet—a move to more closely identify itself with the neighboring tech community.

Visit the donation page here

via Dance Magazine – If it’s happening in the world of dance, it’s happening in Dance Magazine..

Advancing Creativity


RB choreographic award

 

Advancing Creativity

Posted on February 16, 2015

On Thursday and Friday evening last week we showcased two key strands of our work, the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award and aDvANCE. These innovative projects provide opportunities for Royal Ballet School students to explore their creativity and develop skills creating original work.

Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award

This year nine 2nd Year students were shortlisted to develop and show their choreography for the Award, which is generously sponsored by Peter Wilson. There was a rich display of ingenuity put before our three distinguished judges Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, Jeanetta Laurence OBE, Associate Director of The Royal Ballet and Arthur Pita, choreographer. After much deliberation they awarded first prize to Arianna Maldini for Quia Contra (For and Against), a piece of choreography inspired by an imagined meeting of the four elements of nature: water, fire, air and earth. The piece was set to Ezio Bosso’s music Thunders and Lightnings.

Second prize went to Joseph Sissens for his piece inspired by the transatlantic slave trade called Let My People Go. His emotive choreography was set to The Bitter Earth by Max Richter and On the Nature of Daylight by Dinah Washington.

Third prize was awarded to Grace Paulley for Amo, Amas, Amat, which explored the grammar of love, and the luminosity of impressionist art. It was set to Debussy’s Reverie.

 

The Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award has played an important role in encouraging the development of young choreographers since its inception nearly half a century ago. It has provided a launchpad for many influential figures including David Bintley, Christopher Wheeldon, Cathy Marston and Liam Scarlett.

Ursula Moreton was an instrumental figure in the encouragement of emerging choreographic talent in the mid-20th century. By nurturing  great artists, such as Kenneth MacMillan and John Cranko, she played a vital role in the development of the British style. She was Chairman of the Royal Academy of Dance’s Production Club and later became Principal at The Royal Ballet School.

Our thanks to the judging panel for giving up their valuable time and to composer Russell Hepplewhite, who was music consultant to the choreographers. Congratulations to all the choreographers and dancers involved.

aDvANCE

Our aDvANCE scheme is part of our Dance Partnership & Access work, which provides broader access to ballet and the work of the School through an extensive range of primary and secondary school projects. aDvANCE offers our 1st Year students a unique opportunity to work with young people learning dance in other contexts. This year the students collaborated with students from Featherstone High School in Southall, West London. Over the past five months the young dancers have taken part in a series of creative and choreographic tasks as well as visiting each other’s schools to work together on a joint performance. On Thursday and Friday evening, the audience were treated to a performance by each school group separately before watching the collaborative piece Stabilimentum, choreographed by students themselves led by Dani Batchelor with assistance from Bim Malcomson.

The dancers took the tale of Arachne, a talented weaver who antagonised the goddess Athena and was then condemned to live as a spider, and developed it to create their own abstract interpretation of the story.

We are grateful for the generous support of the Department for Education, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and The Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation.

via Advancing Creativity – Royal Ballet School.

Celebrity Invention: Bill Nye’s Ballet Slipper — The Atlantic


Celebrity Invention: Bill Nye’s Ballet Slipper — The Atlantic.

Atlanta Ballet’s World Premiere Ballet Adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ CAMINO REAL


Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet’s World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ CAMINO REAL

February 27

3:36

2015

This spring, Atlanta Ballet will present the world premiere of a ballet based on “Camino Real” by Tennessee Williams, the renowned playwright who authored such American classics as “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Choreographed by Atlanta Ballet choreographer in residence Helen Pickett, Williams’ “lost classic” of love, redemption and courage will debut March 20-22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Check out pictures and renderings from the show below!

Inspired by Williams’ 1953 Broadway play of the same name, the story is told from the perspective of Kilroy, a character based on patriotic iconography from the WWII era. The young American soldier and onetime prizewinning boxer finds himself trapped in the surreal, dead-end town of Camino Real forced to grapple with mortality, the burning desire to connect and the will to live.

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Through his journey to bring renewed hope to the town of lost souls, Kilroy meets a cast of unlikely characters from various periods of history and pop culture, such as Casanova, Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Marguerite (The Lady of the Camellias), and Lord Byron, who together struggle to escape their fates.

“This is your classic good versus evil story,” said Pickett, whose adventure with the play began five years ago when her father handed down his copy from his college theater days, suggesting it would make a good ballet.

“I read it once and put it away, not understanding how I might tackle the content,” said Pickett. “A year later, I picked up the play again, and found my way into the story: focus on the characters first. Now, it is such a part of my reality, I can’t imagine how I will let go of these characters.”

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Pickett announced the project shortly after accepting her residency with Atlanta Ballet in 2012 and has been working on the production ever since. Every aspect of the ballet, from the music to the costumes to the set design, has been a collaborative effort between Pickett and the team of artists she assembled.

To design the whimsical costumes, Pickett chose award-winning designer Sandra Woodall, who she has known since her days as a student with San Francisco Ballet. Woodall then introduced Pickett to lighting designer David Finn, whose commissions include Cirque du Soleil and numerous other major U.S. ballet companies. Finn then recommended set designer Emma Kingsbury, who he subsequently worked in tandem with on the scenic design. The rich, textured score, which Pickett has described as a character all its own, is the creation of composer Peter Salem.

“All of these people truly enjoy the art of collaboration,” said Pickett. “They are magnificent artists that bring all their ideas to the table. We are like mix masters; we just throw all of our concepts into the bowl and stir and filter. I am in love with each of them and their visions.”

The final layer of the creative process was the choreography- a collaboration as well with Atlanta Ballet’s full 23-member company. Pickett began working with the Company in September, devoting full days to rehearsal to ensure that the 75-minute ballet would be complete by its March premiere. By opening night, more than 300 rehearsal hours will have gone into bringing the production to stage.

To add to the theatricality, Pickett has also challenged several of the dancers to learn lines. Williams’ text – actual excerpts from the play – will be spoken by the principal characters throughout the ballet.

“It’s a new situation for them,” said Pickett in a 2014 interview with Creative Loafing. “But they are opening and unfolding in incredible ways. I wouldn’t have asked them to do this the first time we worked together. You have to build trust between you and the performer so that a person feels like they can open up, so cracks can happen in those walls, maybe even a breakthrough can happen.”

Atlanta Ballet’s world premiere of “Camino Real” will open at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Friday, March 20 with a red carpet opening night. Three performances will follow, including the finale on Sunday, March 22.

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Tickets start as low as $20 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.atlantaballet.com or call 404-892-3303. For groups of ten or more, call Atlanta Ballet Group Sales at 404-873-5811, ext. 207.

via Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet’s World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ CAMINO REAL.

 

Via : Broadway World

Ballet tells Sacagawea’s story – Special – southcoasttoday.com – New Bedford, MA


ON STAGE-Reposted from South Coast Today  Posted Mar. 1, 2015 at 2:23 AM

Ballet tells Sacagawea’s story

COMMENT

Dartmouth and Westport residents are among the local dancers bringing “Sacagawea’s Song” to life. Back row: Victoria Cameron, Caroline Mello, Elicia Cormier, Felicia Garro and Kenzie Waskiewicz; middle row: Lily Johnson, Sophia Cameron, Olivia Cornell and Sarah Hurteau; front row: Maddison Medeiros and Brooke Spencer.

Ballet tells Sacagawea's story - Special - southcoasttoday.com - New Bedford, MA

Posted Mar. 1, 2015 at 2:23 AM

New Bedford Ballet will host its annual spring fundraiser Sunday, March 8, 1 to 4 p.m. at NBB Community Theatre, 2343 Purchase St., New Bedford. The celebration of the arts will include an array of elegant desserts and beverages, live music provided by members of the New Bedford Symphony Youth Orchestra and performances of “Sacagawea’s Song” by the New Bedford Youth Ballet at 1:30 and 3 p.m.

Proceeds will benefit New Bedford Ballet’s arts education and dance scholarship programs.

“Sacagawea’s Song” is an original historical ballet created and choreographed by New Bedford Ballet’s artistic director Rebecca Waskiel-Marchesseault. The family-oriented ballet describes the story of Sacagawea, the Native American woman who served as interpreter and guide on the historic Lewis and Clark expedition across the western United States. Audience members will have the opportunity to travel back to the early 19th century and experience the renowned journey of an American icon who has become a symbol of women’s strength and independence.

The New Bedford Youth Ballet will also perform “Sacagawea’s Song” for elementary schools in Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion and New Bedford in March as part of their Bringing History to Life through the Arts program. An educational curriculum, including workbooks, will be provided.

Sponsored by Alves Chiropractic Center, two special additional performances of “Sacagawea’s Song” will be presented in March: one for patients, their families and staff at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the second for PACE Head Start students and families.

New Bedford Youth Ballet is a company of the New Bedford Ballet Foundation Inc. Founded in 1987, the foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to promote and present classical ballets, grant scholarships and educate the community about the beauty of the art. Aided by the financial support of the foundation, thousands of local children and senior citizens have witnessed live ballet.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $5 for children.

More information is available by calling (508) 993-1387 or visiting newbedfordballet.

via Ballet tells Sacagawea’s story – Special – southcoasttoday.com – New Bedford, MA.

Ballet San Jose, Fancy Free | Review | SFCV


Ballet San Jose Sharp in Season Debut

February 24, 2015

BALLET SAN JOSE
(from left to right) Rudy Candia, Walter Garcia, Grace-Anne Powers, Ommi Pipit-Suksun and Joshua Seibel; Photo Alejandro Gomez

Fancy Free, whose company premiere Friday highlighted Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley’s first repertory series, would seem a natural for the troupe. Now a close ally of American Ballet Theatre, its artistic director, stellar ABT alum Jose Manuel Carreno, was known for his macho participation in Jerome Robbins’ classic romp about three sailors on shore leave, the bones of which were to lead to the smash musical On the Town, now in Broadway revival, and thence, via Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, to the movie version and immortality.

 

Fancy Free, created when Robbins was still dancing with Ballet Theater, remains one of his greatest works, also paving the way for landmarks by its young and brilliant composer, Leonard Bernstein.

So entertaining, debonair and practically perfect was Friday’s performance that what it took to get it on its feet might well be left in the dust. That would be a shame. Robbins, for all his genius, was never a fancy-free choreographer, and without the precision he dictated, from inception through its passage from Ballet Theater, as the company wasthen called, down to the present, when it remains a staple of the New York City Ballet, ABT, and dozens of fortunate troupes around the world, Fancy Free would be oh, less than nothing.So entertaining, debonair, and practically perfect was Friday’s performance that what it took to get it on its feet might well be left in the dust.

But, like most great choreographers, Robbins left orders in place to guarantee that his work would be staged the way he wanted it staged. We also see this, of course, in the work of George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp among many others; both of them were also represented Friday in Theme and Variations, a BSJ standard, and In the Upper Room, which joined the rep last year.

The way staging happens is in part through the sharing of dancers’ physical and performance recollections – dance being very much a “body to body” art form, as Edward Villella says – as well as film and notation (and pointed remarks) directly from the creator. So the stagers for these three ballets, designated by the respective artists and their trusts, worked with Ballet San Jose’s dancers to make everything the way it ought to be. They were (Fancy Free) Philip Neal, who danced for Robbins when he was co-ballet master-in-chief (whew) at the New York City Ballet; (Theme and Variations)Sandra Jennings and Stacy Caddell for the George Balanchine Trust, also at City Ballet, and (In the Upper Room) two former Tharp dancers, the great Shelley Washington, and Gil Boggs (now Colorado Ballet’s artistic director).

Of the three, Fancy Free was the standout, rising way above the tinny, taped music (Ballet San Jose, still woefully short of funds, could not reach an agreement for the services of Symphony Silicon Valley). Richly nostalgic with its angular Oliver Smith bar-room set design and Bernstein’s score, its keen rhythms evoking his fascination at the time with things Latin, plus the entire notion of carpe diem or, dare we say, dame – it was, after all, shore leave in the middle of World War II; everything, particularly the rhumbas, the moments of boyish brooding, the fights, the flirts, the resilience, the friskiness of the chase, all of it came together at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts so precisely, with fine technique and such wonderful, readable nuance.

In the small cast, the great performances abounded: Rudy Candia, Walter Garcia and Joshua Seibel as the gobs; Grace-Anne Powers and Ommi Pipit-Suksun as their leggy quarry, and, in smaller roles, Emma Francis as a last-minute distraction, and James Kopecky as the long-suffering bartender.

Theme and Variations, all satin, tutus, Tchaikovsky (Suite No. 3 for orchestra) and chandeliers, went off without many hitches, though this taxing and stunning opener needed a few moments for the company to hit its stride. In the leads, principal dancers Junna Ige and Maykel Solas were prodigies of durability and grace, drawing in all viewers for the central ballet, Balanchine’s wonderfully intimate, tender yet frolicsome pas de deux.

Again, not to beat a dead horse, this company desperately needs, absolutely requires, live music. I can’t think of a ballet company that doesn’t. The likely exception would be for In the Upper Room, whose Philip Glass score might really demand the ministrations of a full-time and totally unaffordable company orchestra. On Friday, the audio sounded as good as anyone else’s, which isn’t really as grudging as it sounds, if you love Glass as much as this viewer.… this company desperately needs, absolutely requires, live music. I can’t think of a ballet company that doesn’t.

As noted here before, this – thanks in no small part to Glass – is one of the great creations of Tharp or anybody else. It flies by, and the minute it’s over, you want it all again. Is it the dry-ice fog, the lights, the Norma Kamali black-and-white prison pj’s contrasted with red tops and toe shoes, or white sneakers and shirts? Nah. It’s Twyla, first, last and always. Nobody has ever pointed up as viscerally what it means to dance and perform, in so many ways, as she does. (Oh, we could perhaps argue that her Push Comes to Shove is equally brilliant in this argument, plus it came equipped with Mikhail Baryshnikov at its premiere. But no.)

At any event, Ballet San Jose, even on its uppers, gets and represents In the Upper Room to the marrow of its bones. This company needs – and all of us need it – to keep on dancing.

Janice Berman was an editor and senior writer at New York Newsday. She is a former editor in chief of Dance Magazine

https://www.sfcv.org/reviews/ballet-san-jose/ballet-san-jose-sharp-in-season-debut

Teen Ballet Dancer Harrison Lee Wins Prestigious Prix de Lausanne Prize


REPOSTED FROM THE AGE/JOEL MEARES
Harrison Lee, 15, back home in Castle Hill after winning the famed Prix de Lausanne. Photo: Steven Siewert

At first, Harrison Lee thought he was in trouble. His mother had called him into her bedroom early in the morning, and he was “a little scared” – this was not the regular morning routine at their Castle Hill home. Then she gave him the news: “She sat me down on her bed and said, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to Switzerland!'”

It was the news the 15-year-old had been waiting more than a month to hear, ever since he sent a DVD of himself performing a variation from the ballet Flames of Paris to the judges of the Prix de Lausanne, among the world’s most prestigious competitions for young dancers. From 300 entrants, he was one of 70 invited to Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva, for a week of classes and performances.

“When she told me I got in, happiness just took over my body,” says Lee. But he did not leap down the road, Billy Elliot-style, painting his delight for the world in pirouettes and arabesques. “I’m not one to scream and shout and go crazy,” he says calmly. “It just took over inside.”

Harrison Lee: The dancer won the Youth America Grand Prix in 2014. Photo: Steven Siewert

Last week, after eight days of classes and major performances, Lee took top prize in Lausanne. He again showed trademark control when called forward from a line of finalists – some three and four years his senior. “I was shocked, and I was getting very emotional so I had to hold that in until it was over.” He adds with a laugh: “I didn’t want to watch this back five years later and see myself crying.”

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The Lausanne win comes just shy of a year since Lee took out the equally prestigious Youth America Grand Prix: the one-two punch puts him among the most promising, and prized, young dancers in the world. Watching the YouTube video of Lee performing his classical variation at the Lausanne finals – a video that has clocked 37,000 views in less than a week – it is easy to see why. His control and strength astounds: he springs to impossible heights from the raked stage; his toes arch improbably towards his heel. One commenter writes under the video: “Good lord those feet are so good they should pay taxes!”

Brisbane’s Lucid Dance Theatre founder Louise Deleur was a choreographer at the Prix, and watched Harrison on stage and in classes, where the dancers are also scored. “He was blessed with these long legs and beautiful feet,” says Deleur, “but what also stood out about Harrison was his humility and graciousness in class. He’s a beautiful soul to work with.”

Lee spent a week in London before the competition taking classes at the Royal Ballet School. He did some sightseeing – Harry Potter World, even though he’s not a great fan of the boy wizard – but mostly it was business. It’s the same at home: he takes two hours of ballet every day at the McDonald College, and three more hours every day after school. His diet “is not as strict as the girls” but he watches what he eats. He points out, humbly, that teachers Josephine Jason, Jane Kesby and Allan Cross have sacrificed as much as he has for his success.

The goal, Lee says, is to become the principal dancer at a company so that “I can dance as many lead roles as I can”. He’s not being unrealistic. Following his successful 12 months, Lee now has his choice of schools: by September he will be living in New York and attending the American Ballet Theatre, or in London at the Royal Ballet, or anywhere else he chooses to attend in Europe. Recruiters are clamouring.

“It’s weird to think at 16 I will be on the other side of the world, living by myself and cooking and cleaning and washing up,” says Lee. “It’s scary, but it’s what I’ve been training for.”

For mother Cindy, a travel agent, the prospect of Harrison moving is bittersweet. The family delights in his success – his brother skipped schoolies to go to Switzerland and watch Harrison compete; Cindy gets giddy recalling how Li Cunxin (of Mao’s Last Dancer fame) told her he was looking forward to seeing her son dance.

“But it’s sad too to think of your child travelling so far away at such a young age,” she admits. “A lot of people probably don’t understand it – people who don’t have a child with a passion or dream and the talent don’t understand how you could see your child do that. We’re happy to see him reach his goals.”

And wherever Lee lands, mum will be visiting. A lot. “It will be a path well worn, I imagine,” she says.

via Ballet dancer Harrison Lee wins prestigious Prix de Lausanne prize.