Ballet News

New Apprentice for Ballet Idaho

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!!! Peter Anastos Artistic Director