Ballet News

Archive of: April, 2010

"Action Artists"

As Ballet Idaho dancers prepare for their showcase, Ballet Innovations, it is exciting to watch the process of growth and understanding of each dancer through their choreography. Dancers are, what I call "action artists." They express their creativity through every movement and muscle in their body. Each one has their own style and idea of feeling. I feel that choreographing is opening yourself, your creativity, your style and your raw emotions. It is the difference between talking and singing. Having studied art and music my entire young life, I found myself instantly comfortable when choreographing. I am partial to the classical ballet style, mostly because that movement works best with my body and, hence, I can make more sense of it when choreographing. My piece, Cercio, is set to the beautiful monotony of a cycle, but the power and force that erupts when it is broken. I am very excited to have the opportunity to set my vision on such a beautiful and talented group of dancers. It is a rare occurence for one to choreograph on a professional company, none the less, a valuable learning experience for any young dancer. Robert Ryan Callan Company Dancer

A medley of music......filters into the halls.

It started in a conference room. Eleven dancers sitting around the table and one on the phone. It’s Monday, our day off. We haggle over casting and in about an hour we have 12 choreographers with cast lists and preliminary schedules in hand geared up to go to work. We thought we had this all under control. That is how work on Ballet Innovations was started. I soon found out it wasn’t as easy as we all hoped. My first inclination came that Tuesday. We are all set to start rehearsing and one of the dancers notices that she is scheduled to be in two places at once. All dancers try to conquer the impossible but that is one feat even we can’t manage. I quickly come up with a solution and go see Alex, our Balletmaster, to approve the change. This is when it hit me how demanding producing this show would be. Alex turns to me and in his very frank east German way he says, “Michael, why don’t I give you authority to make all schedules.” The ensuing two weeks became a whirlwind of scheduling, choreographing, rehearsing, costuming, light designing, and dancing. Our company of 23 is creating twelve ballets with most dancers performing in two or three. The work load is intense but everyone stepped up to the challenge. There has never been a more exciting time at Ballet Idaho. Dance is going on all day in four studios at once. A medley of music from different composers and different genres filters into the halls. The dances themselves are all very unique ranging from strictly classical technique to contemporary movements, from solos to duets to eight synchronized ladies. The arts are truly alive at the corner of 9th and Myrtle, and the creative spark is leap-frogging throughout the building. We are now less than a week away from our performances on May 1. Most of the choreography is done and all the dancers are getting anxious. There is a real joy in the building. We feel a sense of accomplishment. Twelve ballets in three weeks with little help from our staff. That sounds pretty great. Ballet Innovations will be presented at our in house theater inside the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy for two shows on Saturday May 1, at 2:00pm and 8:00pm. Tickets are only $10 and there will be refreshments after the eight o’clock show. We only have 200 seats for each show so buy your tickets now, and you won’t be disappointed. Michael Dennis Dunsmore Company Dancer

Dress Parade?

So, I was very curious yesterday when the hallway was lined with clothing racks and storage containers. I went into the studio anticipating a rehearsal of the company preparing for this weekend’s collaborative performance with the Boise Philharmonic. To my surprise is Heather Hawk with a black gown from the mysterious lady in Cinderella and Nutcracker soldier hat. Next to her were Jared Hunt, Ryan Nye & Graham Gobeille….in white tights and Nutcracker soldier hats. What in the world? I thought they were performing La Creation du Monde by Milhaud and Divertissement by Ibert? I clarified the confusion with Artistic Director and Choreographer, Peter Anastos, who explained the choreography to Ibert’s piece is an idea of a dance company in rehearsal with a myriad of bad situations and problems. Peter’s comedic touches once again will be on stage this weekend with the Boise Philharmonic!

Oh, Baby!

Tuesday’s audience for Ballet Idaho Family Series presentation of The Italian Program was truly inspiring….and dedicated! I think I officially met Ballet Idaho’s YOUNGEST audience member ever, a young gentleman born at midnight (April 5th). Reminder: our Family Series performance was at 6 pm on April 6th. Now, that’s some dedication from some loyal Family Series season ticket holders. Introducing young children to all art forms is so important and this baby was here in our auditorium to hear and watch Ballet Idaho excerpts from Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. It was ‘date night’ for one very special father and daughter as well. Dad came decked out in a tuxedo and his beautiful little girl was dressed to the nines in her dress and shawl with big blonde curls. Their evening was starting at the ballet and moving to dinner….how precious is this? These moments are memorable in so many ways especially with this young lady who will remember this ‘date night’ with her daddy and will hopefully someday bring her children to see the ballet. -Heather Calkins

Oh Pulcinella, you're simply mad!

Our rehearsals for the Spring antipasti program had been underway for a week or so when we were scheduled to have our first day of Pulcinella antics. My legs were tired and I was ready to go home to enjoy a glass of Brunello when I realized that having a role created on me would be as wonderful as the shaved porcini salad at Antico Noe in Firenze. I decided to stay. Pulcinella is a debonair jokester with little or no inhibitions. He succeeds in being the center of attention in perpetuity. He is helplessly doomed in attracting women and he is forever followed by his loyal clown fratelli. He prances about in his clown suit as if it were the most exclusive couture in all of Milan. I see absolutely no relationship between Andrew Taft and Pulcinella whatsoever. The piece begins with nothing but the head of Pulcinella. His head is simple and elegant like a well-reduced Bolognese sauce. The curtain is reluctantly drawn due to the imminent frenzy among the maidens within the theater. Sadly, there is a body attached to said head... The fun ensues as the Pulcinelli take over the town and unintentionally woo all of the ladies (it's unavoidable). Rehearsal time in the studio is always bright and the creation process is molto bene. I am reluctant in divulging too many of Pulcinella's secrets. The ballet is coming to fruition, the characters are developing and the laughter will be a wonderful thing... just like the magic that happens when basil meets mozzarella and tomato. Buon appetito! -Andrew Taft
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