28 May 2010
The Regional Dance America Festival is a breathtaking event! There are over 500 students from across the Western and Pacific states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, who participate in classes and seminars, and who perform nightly for an audience of their peers. It's amazing. 4 days of intensity that will stay with us forever!
This year, the Festival was held in Richland, Washington, at the Mid-Columbia Ballet, Debra Rogo, artistic director. And the Ballet Idaho Youth Ensemble was an important part of the Festival!
Ballet Idaho Youth Ensemble was represented by me, Racheal Nole, our dancers Julia Dunlop, Sarah and Mary Ann Meyers, Nell Rollins, Kristina Zimmerman. Sarah Ellis, from the professional company , participated as a dancer and did extremely well in all her classes. In addition, we had Kathryn "The Great" Zimmerman, Michelle Meyers and Patricia Dunlop as chaperons . Everyone had a fabulous time. It was a totally eye-opening experience!
These students are very committed to their dancing, their training, their art. Each student strives to give their best. It's amazing to see so many people in class working hard to do better, dance more fully, perfect their craft and art.
In addition to all the students, we teachers got to see each other's classes and compare notes on technique and training. That was very valuable. I taught three classes over the four days and spoke with all the other teachers about how we approach technique, style, musicality, the perfection of a dancer. We all had important contributions to make.
The RDA Festival was spread over two hotels and we occupied 6 studios simultaneously teaching, coaching, lecturing all day long. The students were very busy every day, learning and absorbing. We had fabulous pianists in all our classes --- from New York, Seattle, all over the map. The talent level was amazing and our girls from Ballet Idaho got to see for themselves the level that's out there. Our girls stood out technically and artistically. It was so gratifying for me to see how well our students did compared to everyone else.
We were in the midst of incredibly talented dancers and it was a huge boost for our girls to see where they stand. No one came away unaffected by the size of the experience.
Meals were provided by the RDA Festival and I have to thank Debra Rogo and her sister, Gaye, who direct the Mid Columbia Ballet in Richland and who coordinated over 500 people in various and complex groupings. How they kept it all together I'll never know, but it all went off without a hitch. It's like a gathering of the United Nations, there are so many people, so many different needs and agendas.
All the parents, chaperons, teachers, musicians, were thrilled with this event. One of the best things that happened was the awarding of prizes on the last night, at a Gala Dinner event. Lots of scholarships were given for different school's summer intensive programs. But at one point, Diane Lauridsen, one of the directors, silenced the audience with a major announcement: For the first time in RDA history, a professional contract as an apprentice was being offered to one of the students: Brooke Frandsen was offered a job with BALLET IDAHO!! We were stunned as the whole audience cheered in joy! And we were gratified that we were the only group in the entire Festival attached to a professional company. As one participant told me during the dinner, "You better be prepared next year for all these graduating girls to pound down your door looking for jobs!" That was so great to hear.
Ballet Idaho made a tremendous impression on the last night and we now proudly take our place as part of RDA Festival. Next year we go on to Las Vegas as full members.
I can't wait for the next Festival. Our Ensemble will be bigger and better than ever and we will make an important contribution to the Festival. More than that, our students will enjoy this rare opportunity to show what we can accomplish in Idaho and show their own special talents and artistry.
All in all, a great event and one of the highlights of this year's Ensemble life!
Thanks, everyone, for being so great, supporting your children, making Ballet Idaho great!!!
28 May 2010
Three teenagers, two mothers, two ballet teachers, Racheal Nole and myself and Ballet Idaho’s Artistic Director, Peter Anastos, take a road trip to Richland, WA. While the scenery was great, the purpose was a four day dance-filled adventure. I accompanied five young dancers, and three very supportive mothers, from the Ballet Idaho Ensemble to Regional Dance America’s Pacific Region Festival, hosted by Mid-Columbia Ballet. I attended Festivals in the Southwest region for years and was eager to share the experience with the students. On the car ride there I tried to encourage homework and studying, as they would most likely sleep the whole way back (I was right), but instead we played cards. My family took many road trips and balancing the deck on a cooler and reaching back and forth over the seats was a familiar episode. We checked-in to the hotels with little time to un-pack before the first performance. The Festival‘s opening ceremony included introducing the faculty and we vocally expressed our support for Peter and Rachel. Classes began at 8:30 am the next morning and continued till 5:00 pm. I did my best to keep up with the young dancers. Our students shined beautiful in their classes. It was a great pleasure to watch them with new instructors. Every dancer’s history of training and performing varies from person to person, and it is this constant stream of new experiences and details, from one life to the next, that contribute to training artists.
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13 May 2010
The Ballet Idaho Youth Ensemble continues its 2009/2010 tour performing three shows at two Boise area schools last Friday, May 7th. It was a long day for the dancers who performed two shows of Moving Through Time
, choreographed by Ballet Idaho Artistic Director, Peter Anastos, at Trail Wind Elementary. This Ballet shows the evolution of Ballet technique and dance styles over the last 200 years, including excerpts from classic Ballets such as Giselle, La Bayadere, Swan Lake
, and other famous Ballet variations. The Trail Wind Elementary students were especially enthralled by the stories of super-natural creatures, spirits and ghosts, and the Romantic idea of undying love and the torment of the unobtainable.
They ended the day at Riverstone International School performing the timeless classic, Peter and the Wolf
, choreographed by Ballet Idaho Ballet Master, Alex Ossadnik. This performance also includes a demonstration of the meticulous training dancers undergo to obtain Ballet technique and rhythm. The students thoroughly enjoyed the interaction as they were taught some of these techniques and allowed to follow along with the dancer’s demonstration.
The Ballet Idaho Youth Ensemble will end its 2009/2010 tour May 28th at Collister Elementary performing Moving Through Time.
We look forward to another great year of bringing dance, artistry, and culture to Boise and surrounding area students. A big THANK YOU to our Ensemble dancers and their parents for all of their commitment, dedication, and hard work to make this Outreach Program possible!
Ballet Idaho Upper Level Academy students are invited to join the Ensemble by filling out the Ensemble Membership Request Form included in the Pre-Registration packet for the 2010/2011 Academic year. For information on rehearsal schedules, performance dates, and Ensemble requirements and fees, you may refer to the current Student Handbook or contact Ballet Idaho at #343-0556.
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11 May 2010
Forget about Dancing with the Stars! There is simply NOTHING like dancing with the Boise Philharmonic!
What a fantastic time we had performing with the Phil this past weekend, both at the Morrison Center in Boise and Swayne Auditorium in Nampa. The dancers were thrilled being so close to the musicians, who were seated onstage. The sound was immediate, vibrant, LOUD!, and it made us all keep together as performers, which is not the same feeling when they're in the pit. The dancers and musicians could actually see each other and it was really fun.
Robert Franz was so welcoming to the dancers. He was sensitive to tempi, kept asking if things were allright, kept a very vigilant eye on the choreography and what the dancers needed. We can't wait for him to conduct our Nutcracker this year.
Fun was certainly the order of the day --- and I hope we brought a sense of humor to the Philharmonic audiences. They're already pretty hip, being used to the way Robert introduces pieces of music. He's a hoot! So when we started our antics in both ballets, they were ready for us. Attentive, kind, smart, the Philharmonic audience was with us at every step --- and didn't miss a single choreographic "punch-line."
We HAVE to do this again --- but don't worry --- Robert and Alex and I are already plotting something BIG as a collaboration for the future. Stay tuned....