So Your Child Wants to Perform, By Amy Pence-Brown
Encourage Their Interests with Auditioning Tips and Opportunities
Is there anything cuter than watching your wee ones twirl and leap on stage so proudly (or sometimes so shyly) in their pink tights or black bow ties? When my Lucy took her first ballet classes at Pat Harris School of Dance in Boise, a tiny and timid 3-year-old at the time, we struggled with performance anxiety. By the time her recital came eight months later, we bought roses from the vendor at Kuna High School for our brave dancer with glitter in her hair and a sparkle in her eyes. She had memorized her routine and performed it in front of the largest audience of her life.
As our kids grow and become more interested in the performing arts, be it dancing, singing, or acting, we as parents learn right along with them—especially if our little performers want to audition for more intensive stage performances that are bigger than the traditional end-of-year dance recital. Luckily, some local companies offer great information for parents of performers-to-be and some tips.
Read more in the December issue of Treasure Valley Family Magazine.
At 5-foot 9-inches, dancer Jared Hunt is a ballet dynamo. Athletic and powerful, he moves with silky, smooth coolness. Maybe that’s why the Snow pas de deux in Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is one of his favorite roles. You can see him dance it with ballerina Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti next weekend when Ballet Idaho presents Peter Anastos’ interpretation of the ballet at the Morrison Center. Hunt is in the third season of his second run with Ballet Idaho. He also danced with the company under Toni Pimble’s direction in the 2000-’01 season and part of 2002. He was a soloist with Nevada Ballet Theatre when he met Anastos, who was in the process of putting the current Ballet Idaho together. “He made me a great offer and I’m so glad I came,” Hunt says. “Boise feels like home and I have two beautiful ballerinas to work with.” Hunt partners with Affrunti and Racheal Hummel. You’ll see him dance with both in “Nutcracker” as the Snow King and Cavalier. Hunt took his first ballet class at 6, but dropped dance in middle school, “because it wasn’t cool for guys to dance. I really regret it because it really set me back,” he says. He started again when he was 16 and never looked back. “I have loved every minute of it. I have traveled the world, performed at the Kennedy Center, and danced some of the greatest roles in ballet,” Hunt says. “I believe that the next step in my career is going to be just as exciting.” Now, he’s matured as a performer and is developing as a choreographer, which is a surprise, he says. “I never planned on being a dancer, or a solist or principle, but there is an obvious progression a dancer goes through, so when I say I’m not planning on being a choreographer, I know that’s what’s coming. I love finding interesting music and making it come to life.”
Hunt spoke from Colorado Springs, Colo., where Ballet Idaho performed its production of “The Nutcracker.”
Q: How many “Nutcrackers” is this for you?
A: I truly have no idea. Professionally, I have been in at least 6 or 7 productions, but who’s counting? “The Nutcracker” is actually how I got started as a ballet dancer. My mom sent me to an audition for Ballet West’s “Nutcracker” when I was 7.
I danced the role of Fritz for 4 years. I think many professional ballet dancers got started this way.
I watch the children in Ballet Idaho’s “Nutcracker” and wonder how many of them will be principal dancers someday. Not only is it a holiday tradition, but also it’s a ballet rite of passage.
Q: Most ballet dancers have a love / hate relationship with “Nutcracker.” Where do you fall?
A: I might be one of the few ballet dancers left who love “The Nutcracker.” I think that Tchaikovsky’s score is absolutely brilliant. I love the music, and dancing to it is so rewarding.
When you have music like that to dance to, you can’t help but feel like something special is happening on stage.
Q: What’s your favorite role, from this or any other ballet?
A: I loved dancing George Balanchine’s “Tarantella” pas de deux. It is dynamic and exciting and a total crowd pleaser. I have never worked so hard in my life, or been so out of breath, but it’s 19 minutes of hard athletic dancing, and I loved every second of it!
In “Nutcracker,” I like the Snow pas. It’s my favorite music in the show.
Q: What’s the role you would most like to dance?
A: I love contemporary work and would love to experience more of it.
If I could choose any role, I would choose something from Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations.” I’m sure I’ll never get the chance to be a part of that production, but I love choreography that deals with self-expression and cultural artistry.
In the classical rep, the one role I would love to do that I haven’t done yet is “Bluebird” pas de deux from “The Sleeping Beauty.”
Q: Why dance?
A: I come from a long line of athletes. Many of my cousins and brothers played high school and college sports, and I even have an uncle who was a starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. So, I think athleticism is in my blood.
I also had a mother that instilled an appreciation of the performing arts in her children. We were constantly exposed to opera, theatre and dance.
There is something about the combination of athleticism and artistry that intrigues me. Ballet dancers are always striving for perfection, which is inevitably unattainable. There is something about that struggle that keeps me coming back for more.
Q: If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be doing?
A: I would probably be in social work. I am someone that hates to see people suffering and I always want to help in any way.
I had a counselor in high school that changed my life. She encouraged me to follow my dreams and gave me the confidence and drive to become who I am today.
She impacted my life beyond what any of us could have ever imagined. I want to pay that forward someday.
I want to help people become the best they can be, particularly young adults who need a little guidance, or help, from an understanding and compassionate adult.
Q: What’s been the best thing about moving to Boise?
A: The sense of community. I have met so many wonderful people who work so hard to make Ballet Idaho a success. There is a sense of ownership in this community that is unique to Boise.
Q: Who most inspires you?
A: I’m inspired on a daily basis by everyone I’m surrounded by. Life is hard, and when I see people enjoying themselves and accomplishing the things they want I am inspired. I guess you could say that I’m inspired by the human spirit.
Q: What are your words to live by?
A: “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one” — Eleanor Roosevelt.
This quote has inspired me as an artist and as a member of a community. No one ever gets anywhere by blending in. I definitely don’t blend in.
Q: What’s on your dressing room table?
A: Chocolate, Tiger Balm, and Emergen-C. Three things a dancer can’t live without.
Q: Do you remember your first time on stage?
A: I do … It was in a church talent show. I was singing “Hello My Baby.”
It was a talent show set up like the “Gong Show.” Luckily, I wasn’t “Gonged,” but who’s going to gong a 5-year-old in a vest singing lyrics like “Hello my rag time gal?”
Dana Oland: 377-6442
Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/12/05/1443815/meet-the-artist-ballet-idahos.html#ixzz17NBnL9kD
Parents who enroll in the Academy for the 2010-2011 academic year AND order a season subscription,
can receive up to a 20% discount on the cost of your tickets. New this year: 2-show, 3-show and 4-show
packages, PLUS youth prices too!
Call the office at 343-0556 to enroll and order today!
Date: October 28, 2010
Contact: Heather Calkins 343-0556 x 22
Single tickets go on sale Monday, November 1st for Ballet Idaho’s holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Join Ballet Idaho at this classic holiday tradition on December 10th, 11th, or 12th at the Morrison Center, made possible as a gift to the community “from our family to your family” by the J.R. Simplot Company.
With extraordinary choreography, beautiful sets and costumes, this celebrates the season in dazzling fashion —come watch a joyful and elegant Holiday Party at the Stahlbaum household, a children’s Christmas Garland Dance and discover unusual gifts from Herr Drosselmeyer -- a whimsical mechanical Mouse, a life-size Ballerina doll and, of course, a handsome Nutcracker doll. An astonishing growing Christmas tree captivates as we enter into a thrilling battle scene and delightful lands and kingdoms.
Tchaikovsky’s classic score is performed live for each performance by the Boise Philharmonic musicians conducted by Robert Franz.
A large and enthusiastic cast of student dancers and singers from throughout the Treasure Valley join the professional company on stage as angels, bakers and a variety of sweets. This year’s cast features Ballet Idaho Academy students returning to the stage: Cristina Zimmerman as Clara and the brother/sister duo Brenna and Sebastian Houk dancing the roles of Clara and Fritz. New this year is Jake Wolford, who will perform the role of the Nutcracker doll. Jake, age 17, trained since he was a child in hip hop and jazz and started taking ballet classes only two years ago. He joined Ballet Idaho Academy this year and will also travel with the entire company to tour Ballet Idaho’s The Nutcracker in Colorado Springs, CO this Thanksgiving weekend hosted by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. When asked what it means to have the opportunity to perform with a professional company and work with experienced dancers, he replied, “I hope it rubs off and I can continue dancing!” The Ballet Idaho Academy encourages talent and rewards hard work by giving students meaningful opportunities to perform on stage with the company. Ballet Idaho Academy is the only dance academy in the State of Idaho and the intermountain west with a professional company affiliation.
Single tickets start at just $25 and range to $55 with both adult and child pricing in all sections. Contact your Select-A-Seat outlet, call 426-1110 or visit www.idahotickets.com. Discounted group tickets are also available by calling the Ballet Idaho office at 343-0556 or visit www.balletidaho.org.
(((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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This past Tuesday Ballet Idaho dancers and staff held a taste-testing soiree at the Tully's in BODO. It was a rainy, windy fall day...so absolutely PERFECT to be all cozied up in our neighborhood coffee house to taste and decide on selected Nutcracker drink specials! Terry, Jerry and Jill treated us to a variety of latte's, mocha's, chai's and tea's. By overwhelming taste tests...the famous drinks to make it to the Tully's-Ballet Idaho 2010 Nutcracker drink menu were: Sugar Plum Chai, Nutcracker Mocha and Clara's Cocoa.
Thank you to Sarah, Audrey, Jessica, Angela, Kathryn, Phyllis, Racheal, Ryan, Jared, Kim, Catherine, Julie & Lacey who came down and helped with this fun event! A big thank you to our friends and neighboors at Tully's! Ballet Idaho is very lucky to have community support from you!
Stop by your local Tully's to try a Ballet Idaho Nutcracker beverage with your friends and family and join us at the Morrison Center on December 10, 11 & 12th for Ballet Idaho's family tradition, The Nutcracker!
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Three years in and the company is finding its footing.
By Dana Oland - email@example.com
Music and dance are inextricably intertwined, especially in classical ballet. One can’t think of the movement or ballet story without hearing the rich, orchestrated, memorable music that accompanies it.
So when Ballet Idaho artistic director Peter Anastos started on the job in 2008, he vowed he would make live music a regular feature for all the company’s performances. That’s hugely ambitious for a start-up regional ballet that is growing.
Now, for this season opener, Anastos takes a big step toward that goal. You’ll hear music played live for three of the ballet’s four season concerts, starting with the ”Baroque!“ this weekend. ”It (live music) is something we really want to dedicate ourselves to,“ he says.
For this concert it was a natural to partner with Boise Baroque Orchestra, a 30-member community group that specializes in the delicate, lilting and haunting baroque music. The music side of the performance will offer some of the traditional core composers of the genre: Handel, Bach and Rameau. The movement side will range from Anastos’ neo-classical ballet ”Trianon“ to ballet master Alex Ossadnik’s contrasting contemporary piece to Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 3., played by soloist Paul Hatvani.
And company dancer Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye will make his main stage choreographic debut with his sizzling duet with Racheal Hummel to Bach’s Aire on a G String. Dancing to live music is an important part of the performance and artistic process for a dancer, Anastos says.
”That’s when you really start listening and paying attention to what you hear,“ he says. The music and the musician become partners, and the experience for the audience is that much richer. ”The whole thing feels alive,“ Anastos says.
Later this season, the Boise Philharmonic will perform with the company for ”The Nutcracker,“ and in February, Ballet Idaho will perform a program of piano ballets to music played by Felix Eisenhauer and Juli Draney. Only the season finale, ”The Sleeping Beauty“ will use recorded music. The live musical performances are really a sign of the progress this company has made under Anastos and Ossadnik. The dancers are growing. The company is evolving: Anastos has added five new performers this season. Ballet Idaho now owns a full-length ”Nutcracker“ that will tour again this year, and it is tackling ”The Sleeping Beauty,“ truly grandest of the grand ballets. That production will — like ”Nutcracker“ — pull in dozens of kids from the academy.
”It’s a fairly elaborate season and I think we’re on a good trajectory,“ Anastos says. ”The community has been so welcoming. I had someone stop me at Fred Meyer the other day to tell me how much they like what we’re doing. It’s heartwarming.“
Please join Ballet Idaho returning and new company dancers and Artistic Director, Peter Anastos for the 2010-2011 opening season performance of Baroque!, October 22, 23 and 24 at the BSU Special Events Center. Tickets on sale now through Select-a-Seat outlets.
Ballet Idaho welcomes new and talented dancers this season. Ryland Early, from San Francisco, previously danced with Houston Ballet II, Ballet West, Ballet Arizona, and as a guest artist across the country. John Frazer, from Salt Lake City, is a graduate of the Ballet West Academy and danced with Ballet West until coming to Ballet Idaho this season. “I enjoy the humor and simplicity in Peter’s choreography,” comments Frazer. “The pace at Ballet Idaho is much faster than what I’ve worked before in a professional setting. He pushes you a bit, keeps you sharp. If you don’t pay attention for a little, you’ve missed something.”
2009-2010 company apprentices Monique Betty and Adrienne Kerr return this season as company members.
New apprentices joining the company are Brooke Frandsen from Yuma, Arizona. Brooke was a member of Ballet Yuma and has received scholarships to attend Utah Regional Ballet, The Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, Washington and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Kathryn Harden, from New Market, Maryland, began her dancing career at the Frederick School of Classical Ballet and continued at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, in addition, she has studied at summer programs such as the National Ballet of Canada, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Exploring Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Nic Gili from Idaho Falls, started his professional career with the Atlantic City Ballet and attended the Ballet West Summer Intensive on full scholarship before joining Ballet Idaho this fall. Keston Meyer, from Pocatello, Idaho, has studied with Houston Ballet, International Ballet of Houston, Richmond Ballet, and Salzburg Ballet.
Principal dancers, Heather Hawk, Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti, Racheal Hummel and Jared Hunt all return to Ballet Idaho from last season.
Ballet Idaho dancers will bring back to the stage an encore performance of last season’s BALLET INNOVATIONS, showcasing new works as dancers and choreographers on Friday and Saturday, October 8th and 9th at 8:00 p.m. at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy Auditorium on 9th and Myrtle.
Eleven members of the company choreographed original pieces to musical selections such as Vivaldi, Louis Armstrong, Project Trio and the Rolling Stones. The entire company of 24 is performing in the various pieces. The dancer-choreographers each have been responsible for all areas of production including choosing costumes, music, lighting and scheduling rehearsal time.
Principal company dancer Jared Hunt choreographed a piece to Project Trio entitled Fast. "Choreographing on my colleagues was an invaluable learning experience. It always is! Creating work with people you know is very surprising because you never really know how they will take your movement vocabulary and make it there own. As dancers and choreographers, we are all a product of our experience. Watching that develop within the confines of my choreography was breathtaking!"
"What is so nice about Innovations is that a dancer who has not been featured in the regular season repertory can be used as a focal point in a piece and really make their mark on us and the audience,” says Principal Dancer Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti.
Tickets are $15 and can be pre-purchased by calling 343-0556 or are available at the door. For more information visit our website at www.balletidaho.org.
Watch excerpts from the premier performance of BALLET INNOVATIONS, May 2010.