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"All Children, Except One, Grow Up". Interview with Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin

Ballet Idaho premieres Peter Pan this month at the Morrison Center. We had a chance to sit down with Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin as he prepares to dance the role of Peter Pan.

Ballet Idaho: What do you think the Idaho community will enjoy the most of the Peter Pan ballet?
Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin: I think everyone enjoys a good fairytale. The showmanship in Peter Pan really goes beyond what you normally see in a ballet, so I think that will be exciting for people. The subtleties of the characters also stand out. I think everyone will appreciate an exciting story with characters whose adventurous natures they can identify with. Ultimately, it’s a just FUN! There are really no dull moments in this ballet.

BI: Have you ever flown before? (Peter Pan has fabulous flying effects!)
ESG: I have never flown before, but the school where I danced growing up once did a ballet where some of the other students got to fly, and the company teaching those dancers to fly is actually the same family that will be teaching it to Ballet Idaho!

BI: How did you get started as a dancer?
ESG: I guess I’ve always loved to dance. When I was a little kid I used to dance around the house anytime there was music playing. I especially liked the music that went with forecast on the weather channel for some reason. When I was 5 my parents saw an ad in the local paper for ballet classes for boys and they asked me if I wanted to sign up. I’ve been hooked ever since!

BI: What is your favorite role you have danced?
ESG: As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to appreciate getting to perform more contemporary dances. When a choreographer creates steps just for me, I feel like I really get to make every performance honest and personal.

BI: Why do you dance?
ESG: I have always loved to perform. Dancing gives me a chance to be on stage, but has also helped me get a lot stronger, more confident and coordinated. As a kid I was never very coordinated or good at sports and had to go to something called occupational therapy. I like to think of my body as a puzzle that I try and arrange the pieces of as well as a can every day. There are fundamental movement patterns that every person learns as a baby that allow our bodies to have a sense of themselves in space, and being a dancer has helped me get to know my body better in this way. Scientists have also studied the link between moving to music with a group of people and stronger social bonds, so I feel very lucky that I get to spend every day at work with some of my favorite people and that through dancing I have made some of my closest friends. A great choreographer named George Balanchine once said “I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance”, and at this point in my life I need to dance because I don’t think anything else could make me as happy as standing in the studio moving to a beautiful piece of music with my friends.

BI: What are you most looking forward to for Peter Pan?
ESG: This is a character that makes a lot of sense to me in a lot of ways, so I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to share with the audience something that feels so personal for me.

BI: What do you think is going to be the most challenging part of playing Peter Pan?
ESG: For me the hardest part about this ballet will probably be the sections dancing with a partner. It will be my first time doing a role where that is so important, so I’ve been going to the gym a LOT over the past few months to prepare.

BI: If you were the Artistic Director/Choreographer, what ballets would you present?
ESG: There are certain choreographers whose work is very important in the grand arc of the evolution of ballet, and I think it’s important for audiences to see their work. People like Marius Petipa who created story ballets like The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, George Balanchine who pioneered the neoclassical style and the abstract ballet, and William Forsythe who created contemporary ballet as we know it today. In addition, I think it’s also important for companies to perform new work by current and up and coming choreographers. We should all aspire to be lifelong learners, and continually creating new work keeps alive the curiosity this requires of dancers and audiences. Great art needs to be aware of where it comes from but also continually pushing the boundaries of what it is capable of. Great art needs to be alive.

BI: What else do you enjoy doing?
ESG: When I’m not at the studio I enjoy spending time outdoors – hiking, camping, snowshoeing, immersing in hot springs, you name it, in the kitchen cooking – which is very important in my family, and organizing and working in the community. It is also important for dancers to do other forms of exercise, so I do yoga and weight training, and I ride my bike whenever I get the chance.

Ethan as Peter Pan

Acclaimed Master Teacher Tong Wang to join BIA Intensive as Guest Teacher

Tong Wang graduated with honors from the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy in 1986, after which he performed as a principal dancer with companies such as Shanghai Ballet, Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Dayton Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and, most recently, Ballet West, where he performed leading roles in both classical and contemporary repertoire, including the work of Balanchine, Ashton, Tudor, Forsythe, and Van Manen, to name a few.

Tong was featured in the First China Arts Festival, 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and Edinburgh International Dance Festival. Following a successful career as a principal artist, Tong Wang has continued to devote his talents to the field of dance as a master teacher, choreographer, and dance professor. While dancing professionally, Tong completed his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Ballet Teaching and Choreography with the University of Utah Ballet Department and also worked as a guest faculty member from 2000-2005. From 2005-2007, Tong served as Assistant Professor of Dance at Wright State University. From 2007-2011, he held the position of Assistant Professor of Dance at Butler University. In fall 2011, Tong joined the distinguished Dance Department of University of California, Irvine as an Assistant Professor of Dance, where he organized and created a successful first annual East Meets West International Dance Festival in 2016.

As a master teacher, Tong Wang taught at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy, International Gala-Cincinnati, National Choreography Initiative, Ballet West, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Arkansas and he is a regular faculty at Maple Conservatory of Dance. In recent years, Tong’s creative works have continued to become notable internationally. While his choreographic works have received high praise from the nationally ranked dance departments of University of Utah, Butler University, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Mt Holyoke College, and University of California-Irvine, his work has also been performed by companies such as Ballet West, Chinese Military Dance Ensemble, Pacific Symphony and Ballet Arkansas. One of his recent works, Qiu Yie, won him an Outstanding Choreographer Award at the 2012 Youth America Grand Prix, the largest ballet competition in the world. Internationally, he continues to choreograph new works, teach master classes and stage his work in various dance schools and companies, including Beijing Dance Academy, Zhejiang Professional Arts Academy, Nanjing University of the Arts, Shanghai Normal University, Tianjing University, Beijing Normal University and Fudan University. His students are dancing worldwide in professional dance companies such as English National Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet San Jose, BalletMet, BalletX, Louisville Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Complections, Hubbard Street, Milwaukee Ballet, and Sarasota Ballet.

Learn more about BIA’s Summer Intensive.

TongWang

Ballet Idaho to perform at Nampa Civic Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2016
Contact: Meredith Stead, Marketing Director
Ballet Idaho
208.343.0556 ext. 222, mstead@balletidaho.org

BALLET IDAHO TO PERFORM AT THE NAMPA CIVIC CENTER

Boise, ID – Ballet Idaho will bring a version of their Winter Repertory to the Nampa community in February. The original program of the Winter Repertory, performed over two nights at the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts February 10 -11, 2017 will consist of Peter Anastos’ comedy ballet Night Crawlers, new work by company member Daniel Ojeda, titled The Monster and the Gift, and George Balanchine’s masterpiece, Concerto Borocco. Music for the Winter Repertory at the Morrison Center will be played live by local pianist Del Parkinson and the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra.

The Winter Repertory will then travel to the Nampa Civic Center two weeks later for one night only, February 25, 2017. This revised program will include Peter Anastos’ ballet Sweet Dreams with music by Patsy Cline and Elvis Pelvis with music by Presley, the Anastos comedy ballet Night Crawlers, as well as excerpts from Ojeda’s The Monster and the Gift.

Ballet Idaho executive director, Jenny Weaver noted, “Expanding our performances to new communities is important to our strategic plan of growing our reach to being recognized as “Ballet Idaho” not “Ballet Boise”. As Idaho’s only professional Ballet company this is significant to our mission and this performance in Nampa is a great first step.”

Since 1972, Ballet Idaho has enriched lives through classical ballet and served as a dynamic reflection of the Boise community. Led by Artistic Director Peter Anastos, Ballet Idaho is the only professional ballet company and academy in the state of Idaho, bringing together the highest level of dance excellence with a commitment to education and training. For more information, visit www.balletidaho.org. Tickets available here.

Winter Repertory's "The Monster and the Gift"

Interview with Daniel Ojeda

We sat down with company member and choreographer Daniel Ojeda to discuss his new ballet, The Monster and the Gift, which will make it’s world debut at this month’s Winter Repertory. Ojeda’s ballet will run February 10 and 11, alongside Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine and Peter Anastos’ Night Crawlers.

Ballet Idaho: What inspiration do you look for when creating a full ballet?
Daniel Ojeda: Most of the work I create, big or small, tends to be conceptually driven and preferably current. Whether that means a current reflection of my own personal struggles, or something more universally topical, I do my best to be consistently creating in the now otherwise I see no point attempting to create anything.

BI: What about ballet/dance gives you the most joy?
DO: To me, Dance is the best vehicle for the purest form of expression. Before we could talk, we could move and emote. I love being able to use my body’s unique physicality to express myself, it’s like therapy, really painful therapy.

BI: How/when in your life did you begin choreographing?
DO: I began choreographing here, at Ballet Idaho as part of our NewDance, Up Close series. The ‘how’ is a combination of things. When I danced at Pacific Northwest Ballet School as a professional division student, there was a program where company members would create original work for the students to be performed at the end of the year. This was my first exposure to the choreographic process. I loved dancing the work but I loved the process of working to create something more. This is why I decided to give choreography a shot.

BI: What do you love most about choreography in contrast to dancing?
DO: The ability to create work on different bodies is probably my favorite thing about choreography. My own body can sometimes be very limiting, so being able to make tangible the things I see in my brain but can’t necessarily execute is really interesting. There is an intimacy and trust that comes with having a piece choreographed on you. But when you are in front of the room and you’re the one creating that environment, it’s very rewarding.

BI: How did you begin your process for The Monster and the Gift? Does the ballet have a story?
DO: The process for this ballet has been longer than most. The idea to do a collaborative work, especially one involving original artwork has been on my brain for a little over a year. The ballet stems from an original narrative I have created. From there, the artwork and score were created. So yes, the ballet certainly has a story. The title refers to the artist, their talent, and how oftentimes the most talented people are monster in their personal lives. The work comes at a cost, sometimes it’s at the cost of ones humanity. Since the artist’s life is her work, we see bits and pieces of her life through the process of her creating the art and where she was in her life during that creation.

Barnes and Noble Bookfair

Support Ballet Idaho when you shop online or in store between November 26 and December 1. Present this bookmark in the store or enter the code online.
Barnes and Noble voucher

Register Today and Save 20% on Select Youth Classes

Save 20% when registering and paying in full by August 15, 2016 for the following classes:

Youth Sampler: Thursdays 7 pm – 8 pm
Ages 8 -12
Includes introduction to Jazz, Hip Hop and Contemporary Dance

Beginning Youth Ballet: Mondays 6:15 – 7:45
Ages 8 -10

Intermediate Youth Ballet: Thursdays 6:00 -7:30
Ages 11+

Boys Class: Tuesdays 4:30 – 5:45
Ages 9 -12

Call or email Christelle to register or for more information, 208.343.0556 ×232 or cskenandore@balletidaho.org.

Learn more about Ballet Idaho Academy and all class offerings on our website.
All classes are held at Ballet Idaho, 501 S 8th Street, Boise ID 83702.

Company Member Promoted

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2016
Contact: Meredith Stead, Marketing Director
Ballet Idaho
208.343.0556 ext. 222, mstead@balletidaho.org

BALLET IDAHO PROMOTES COMPANY MEMBER ELIZABETH BARRETO
TO THE ROLE OF PRINCIPAL FOR THE 2016/17 SEASON

PERFORMANCE TICKETS ON SALE SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

Boise, ID – Ballet Idaho announced that Elizabeth Barreto has been promoted to principal. Ms. Barreto joins returning principal dancers Elizabeth Keller, Adrienne Kerr, and Andrew Taft, along with 18 other company members to complete the roster for the 2016/17 season.

The 2016/17 Ballet Idaho performance season includes more than 20 performances, including new choreography, an extravagant production of Peter Pan, The Nutcracker, and more. Performances run from November through April. Tickets, available at www.BalletIdaho.org, are on sale beginning September 15, 2016.

“Elizabeth has been dancing soloist roles for some time, but dancing Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty last year was her break-out moment, noted Ballet Idaho Artistic Director Peter Anastos. “It’s one of the most challenging roles in ballet and she triumphed with flying colors. Her promotion is a direct result of her spectacular performance as Sleeping Beauty. Looking ahead, there are many leading roles coming up where Elizabeth will shine.”

Elizabeth Barreto Bio:
Elizabeth was born in La Grande, Oregon. She received the majority of her dance training in California with Lawrence and Sarma Rosenberg at the Anaheim Ballet School, supplemented by private coaching with Nancy Raffa, Stanley Holden, Alexander Greschenko, and Jillana. Elizabeth won third place in the Youth America Grand Prix competitions and competed in the New York City finals, after which she was invited to perform in the Young Medalists Gala at the Miami International Dance Festival. In 2007, Elizabeth joined Anaheim Ballet and performed with the company for four years in addition to teaching at Anaheim Ballet School.

This is Elizabeth’s sixth season with Ballet Idaho. She has performed roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, and Serenade. Elizabeth is also an instructor at Ballet Idaho Academy and a small business owner/dancewear designer.
Sponsored for the 2016/17 season by Jacque and Hal Eastman.

  1. # # # (((Editors: Photo and interview opportunities with dancers and the Artistic Director are available. We would be happy to help in making this a feature story for your publication.)))
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New Student Savings

New students to Ballet Idaho Academy save 30% off when you register for fall classes and pay in-full. This special, limited time offer is valid only for Pre-Ballet 1 or 2, Children’s Sampler, Adult Ballet, or Creative Movement. Limited time only, some restrictions apply. Call or email for details, 208.343.0556 ×232 or cskenandore@balletidaho.org.

Valid for new students only. Must register and pay in full by August 26, 2016. Applies to Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet 1 and 2, Children’s Sampler, and Adult Classes only. Call or email to register. 208.343.0445 ×232, cskenandore@balletidaho.org.

Learn more about Ballet Idaho Academy.

Ballet Idaho Academy

Employment Opportunity: Academy Administrator

PART TIME ACADEMY ADMINISTRATOR JOB LISTING – 25 hours

GENERAL:
The Academy Administrator reports directly to the Academy Director and carries out activities related to academy management including enrollment, registration and payments, record keeping, front desk supervision, and maintenance of online course catalogue. The Academy Administrator may also assist with academy performance and promotional events.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

Student and Parent Relations
• Acts as primary contact for general parent and student questions
• Refers curriculum-specific and artistic-specific questions to Academy Director
• Refers parent and student concerns to the Academy Director
• Keeps Academy Director abreast of all academy issues
• Effectively communicates Academy calendar items, events, and scheduling to parents and students over the phone and via email
• Assists parents and students in the enrollment process by providing scheduling information and answering general questions regarding the Academy
• Supplies Front Desk Attendant(s) with up-to-date information to facilitate excellent customer service

Front Desk Supervision
• Reviews resumes and interviews potential candidates for front desk position
• Provides direct oversight for front desk personnel
• Schedules front desk hours to coincide with Academy class hours in accordance with budget allotment
• Assists in assigning front desk duties and responsibilities

Class Catalogue and Registration
• Maintains online catalogue of class offerings in Academy database
• Maintains necessary forms for registration including registration form, tuition schedule, and Academy event calendar
• Processes registration requests for youth and adult students and provides enrollment confirmation
• Maintains registration records
• Supplies Academy Director with status updates as to class enrollment

Academy Records
• Reconciles Academy payment records and Ballet Idaho deposit records
• Maintains accurate parent and student contact information
• Collects payments and maintains accurate payment records for all Academy classes and events
• Collects attendance records from instructors and maintains information in Mind Body and processes all change and withdrawal requests
• Assists in maintains audition participation records and recital participation records
• Runs reports for Academy Director or Marketing Director as needed

ADDITIONAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Assists Academy Director in drafting annual Academy budget
• Acts as ticket manager for Academy year-end performances
• Provides daytime front desk and phone coverage
• Other duties as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS:
• Proficient in databases and Microsoft Office
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Detail oriented
• Ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines
• Possess a professional demeanor
• Ability to take direction, set priorities, and be flexible
• Bachelor’s degree is preferred or equivalent experience

TO APPLY send cover letter and resume to Emily Wallace: ewallace@balletidaho.org

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