Posting about how busy we are here at Ballet West is becoming a bit repetitive, however, every week of this season has been nonstop for the dancers (and staff). This last week Elena Kunikova was back in the studios, coaching the dancers on Paquita for the New York tour (Fall For Dance). Elena also taught selections from Paquita to our trainee girls. Elena is the type of person you want around all the time. Her spirit is uplifting and her coaching always leaves our dancers looking more refined. Click here to view a previous post on Elena.
Our new resident choreographer, Nicolo Fonte, was also in da house this week, cleaning up Bolero. Working with Nicolo is … How do I put it? Uuum, Hilarious? Yeah, that’s it … Hilarious (in a good way). Nicolo is probably the funniest person I’ve worked with in the studio. Don’t get me wrong, he works us like crazy. The dancers are lucky to have someone who is not only extremely fun to work with, but someone who works hard and creates great ballets as well.
Val Caniparoli working with our dancers
Last but certainly never least, Val Caniparoli was also with us, creating his new work, The Lottery. Val is creating a ballet as eerie and nerve-racking as Shirley Jackson’s short story. The dancers will pick ballots from the box on stage. Everyone has to be prepared choreographically and emotionally to be stoned to death. Nothing is predetermined. During a rehearsal a few weeks ago, I pulled the mark from the box. My adrenaline rushed through my body and I really felt the emotion of being singled out. The feeling was amazing! Ballet West is so privileged to have this work created on us.
This last week Ballet West II worked with the six chosen Innovations 2013 applicant choreographers. For anyone who doesn’t know how the Innovations process works, applications of music and a general idea of a ballet are submitted to Adam in the beginning of the summer. Adam then chooses six applicants to workshop about three minutes of their ballet on Ballet West II for a week (this year the choreographers had three days!). Later in the season Adam chooses three of the six choreographers to create a ten minute ballet on the main company to perform for Innovations. This year’s six choreographers include soloist, Adrian Fry; soloist, Easton Smith; demi-solist, Christopher Anderson; artist, Alex MacFarlan; artist, Tyler Gum; and former Ballet West soloist, Peggy Dolkas. Epic Brewing Company paired up with Ballet West to present “Beer and Ballet” on Thursday and Friday. Patrons schmoozed and drank Epic beer in the Capitol Theater lobby before and after watching the showing from the six choreographers in one of the rehearsal studios. After the showing everyone had an opportunity to talk with the dancers and choreographers. I took a few pictures from the workshop process and showings.
Peggy Dolkas working with Jordan Veit
Tyler Gum working with Kimberly Ballard
Kaya Aman & Logan Martin in Easton Smith’s New Work
Kazlyn Nielsen & Chase O’Connell in Alexander MacFarlan’s New Work
Kaya Aman & Zachary Prentice in Peggy Dolkas’ New Work
Mary Ann Schaefer, Logan Martin & Jordan Veit in Adrian Fry’s New Work
Kazlyn Nielsen & Chase O’Connell in Christopher Anderson’s New Work
On the road we go! From October 2 through October 15, some members of the company will be traveling to New York City and Las Vegas to perform Paquita and Emeralds (George Balanchine) . For the past month, the focus of most of the women in the company has been centered on the upcoming tour. For most of us this means really trying to zero in on the corrections we have been given by Elena Kunikova (who originally set Paquita on the company last March) and Sandra Jennings (staging Emeralds Balanchine) and trying to apply them to our every move in run-throughs of each ballet. This focus is going to bring such clarity and refinement to all of our movements. I love that feeling that we all get the closer we come to a performance, as if the corp starts dancing as one while the principals and soloist portray their characters for each ballet.
Now that we’re only a month away from these performances, rehearsing both Emeralds (Balanchine) and Paquita helps us to build stamina, strength, and grace before we leave for tour and before our regular season begins. Paquita is such an uplifting, quick moving, Russian- style ballet, whereas Emeralds (Balanchine) is the epitome of the Balanchine style with glam, soft movements, and grace. This tour will really challenge our versatility and artistic abilities. I know I’m looking forward to curtain up in New York City at the “Fall for Dance Festival” or that first bow to the audience in Las Vegas! What an adrenaline rush this tour is going to be! I’m excited and nervous for what’s ahead of us. Here goes: our first tour of the 2012-13 Season!
~ Kat ~
Corps women in PAQUITA
Emily Adams and Adrian Fry in EMERALDS by George Balanchine (c) The George Balanchine Trust
EMERALDS by George Balanchine (c) The George Balanchine Trust
Arolyn Williams, Tom Mattingly, and Katie Critchlow in EMERALDS by George Balanchine (c) The George Balanchine Trust
After a restful summer, the company has been back in the studios for three weeks. There was no easing into the start of the season since Val Caniparoli was here choreographing his new work, The Lottery, and Helen Pickett was back restaging and tweaking her 2010 Innovations ballet, But Never Doubt I Love. On top of those two ballets, the company has been working on Paquita and Emeralds (Balanchine) for the upcoming tours to New York city and Las Vegas. I took a few photos during one of Helen Pickett’s rehearsals.
Katlyn Addison and Alexander MacFarlan in BUT NEVER DOUBT I LOVE by Helen Pickett
Hello, everyone. My name is Katlyn Addison, and this is my second season with Ballet West. I previously danced with Houston Ballet for the past four years. I wanted to be a part of our blog because I thought most fellow bloggers might be interested in what goes through most ballerinas’ heads before the season starts.
If you’ve ever heard of the saying “eat, sleep, ballet” – well, its’ true! As dancers, many times we get caught up in our world. It’s actually similar to anyone who’s passionate about something they love; it can consume you.
For the past two months we’ve been on our summer break. For most of us, that means time to relax the body and soul, and keep the mind off of ballet and work. Personally, I like to take three weeks off of ballet and do hot yoga classes to keep up the flexibility and look of the long muscles. I know other dancers like to do more cardio. Beau Pearson, one of the dancers at Ballet West, said he likes to take at least three weeks off of dance so he can relax and just enjoy himself. I so agree in having time off during the summer to visit family, friends and enjoy yourself.
For most of us, coming back into work means getting our game face back on, realizing that my hips are going to hurt like crazy and that I’ve got to be ready to face the competition. My mind is racing: “I’ve got to take more classes, my toes are killing me, and I’ve only walked around in my house with my pointe shoes on”. We’ve got a week before the season starts and I know I’m not the only dancer worried about some things. Getting back in shape and maintaining that perfect body weight means my toes are going to hurt that first week back!
Eat, sleep, ballet – leaving the summer behind us and working our “derriere” off to get back in line!
Christopher Sellars and Arolyn Williams in BUT NEVER DOUBT I LOVE by Helen Pickett
Last week, Ballet West II was back in the studios rehearsing Pamela Robinson-Harris and Peggy Dolkas’ new Family Series and Christopher Ruud’s new work for the upcoming Gala. I got a chance to watch the company during the week; they are looking stronger than ever. New Ballet West II members include Mary Ann Scheafer from Memphis, Tennessee; Jordan Veit from Seattle, Washington; Kazlyn Nielsen from Provo, Utah; Logan Martin from Washington state; and Chase O’Connell from Virginia.
Ballet West II with their director Christopher Ruud
The current buzz these days has obviously been about Breaking Pointe, and we all want to know what’s happening with Rex and Allison after that last episode (I know, I’m freaking out too). However, there comes a time when I need to focus the buzz on other cool events we do, especially when I get to take pictures during them. On May 11th, Farasha Boutique put on a runway fashion show highlighting over twenty five local, domestic and international designers. For the fourth year, the dancers of Ballet West were the models struttin’ the runway. Below are pictures I took from the show.
Farasha is an avant-garde fashion boutique, featuring emerging fashion designers from around the globe. Farasha’s one-of-a-kind collections are an expression of the designers and their cultures. This boutique is an exhibit of fashion that offers clientele the rare opportunity to discover new clothing lines and shop eclectic collections from an array of modern designers. From exclusive clothing and handbags, to exquisite jewelry, it’s a whirlwind of fashion and style where no two collections are the same. Farasha’s clients will be able to experience a worldly perspective of design and fashion from amazingly talented designers – all under one roof.
You’ve seen them on stage, now see them behind the curtain! This month Ballet West will make its television debut in The CW’s highly-anticipated Breaking Pointe docudrama. We’re all so thrilled! Filmed during the 2011-2012 season, this show promises to captivate audiences with a behind-the-scenes view of life as a professional dancer.
The show is scheduled to premier Thursday May 31 at 7:00 PM (Mountain Standard Time) on The CW. (Channels 15 or 30 for the Salt Lake area. Episodes will also be rebroadcast each following Monday at the same time.) Casting producers for the show considered some 15 companies before settling on our very own Ballet West. The show focuses on the physicality and art of ballet, while highlighting the social interactions and drama that often accompany a tightly knit group of dancers.
(Image by Erik Ostling, via The Salt Lake Tribune website here.)
Visit The CW website here for show times, photos, videos, and dancer bios.
We may be featured on a TV show, but Ballet West is still a nonprofit arts organization. Help support the artists you love by donating here. Dancers will be notified of all donations made in their honor.
Meet the artistic director, Adam Sklute, and some of the highlighted dancers from the show in the interviews below.
Other videos can also be found on the CW’s Breaking Pointe website here, and YouTube channel here.
The first week of Innovations was received really well by the audience. I’m not surprised … all the ballets are “complete works” that are very well put together. If anyone hasn’t seen the show, we perform this Wednesday through Saturday. After this week the company goes on summer break (tear). By the way, if you miss us that badly, watch us on TV. Breaking Pointe will air on Thursdays throughout the summer on The CW, starting May 31st.
A studio filled with a bunch of ballet dancers around a camera doesn’t always result in pretty, balletic images. Every now and then I snap a photo displaying how much fun we have aside from dancing. So, I figured I would send these goofy pictures to the company and ask for a caption to match … hence, “Picture Caption Time!” Commenters, feel free to add to the fun.
Easton Smith & Michael Bearden
“So Mikey, about being third cast for school shows …” – Easton Smith
Easton (with a lisp): “Do you need a walrus, Mikey? Please let me play the walrus …”
Mikey: “Wait … do I need a walrus??? Let me think …” – Emily & Paige Adams
“Where did you put those pencils when they left your nose, Easton?” – Pam Robinson
“Typical.” – Allison DeBona
“Don’t show him attention. Don’t show him attention.” – Ronald Tilton