Father’s Day is coming up and what father doesn’t enjoy golf or at least sipping a mimosa by while enjoying the beauty of the golf course?
Father’s Day is coming up and what father doesn’t enjoy golf or at least sipping a mimosa by while enjoying the beauty of the golf course?
First off, we would like to thank all of you who attended the show! We had two sold out shows on Saturday and Sunday, which would not have been possible without all of the love and support from all of you.
As always, we loved hearing the wonderful things you had to say about the premiere. So, as a tribute to our fans, we have put together a little blog post showcasing some of your praise for last weekend’s Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet.
“We LOVED this ballet… only wish the ticket office had been open on Sunday to renew our annual subscription…. we will” —Rebecca Joanna
“Great show – loved it all -” —Jacs Bruscato
“This was my first time seeing a show by Ballet Fantastique and I was very impressed! The costumes were bright and colorful, the live music was a perfect fit, and the dancing was extremely talented! I will see another show in a heartbeat” —Michelle Gilman
“Pride & Prejudice was a stunning performance…an exhilarating spin off of the original work” —Lara Eaton
We also had the pleasure of being highlighted twice in the Register Guard!
Stay tuned to hear more about BFan’s 13-14 season: NEW LEGENDS!
Thanks for reading!
(PHOTO CREDIT: Stephanie Urso)
Attention male dancers! Ballet Fantastique is on a national audition search for a male company dancer for the 2013-2014 season. Please pass the information along! More info
ballet fantastique contemporary chamber company (in gorgeous eugene, oregon)
30+ WEEKS OF PAID WORK 2013–2014 SEASON + TOURING
ALL-ORIGINAL CONTEMPORARY BALLET REPERTOIRE
choreographer-producers donna marisa + hannah bontrager
2013–2014 season includes—subject to some change:
zorro (original score)
as you like it: a wild west ballet
tales from a floating world (live japanese taiko drumming)
Contract includes three new contemporary ballet premieres each season, plus touring. Competitive pay by the week and benefits, including shoes, massage assistance, and full physical therapy. Also available: additional opportunities for paid outreach and teaching work.
Competitive applicants will have strong classical ballet and contemporary vocabularies, and confidence with soloist and pas de deux work. Applicants must be a US citizen (or hold a green card or work permit), and are preferably 5’9” and up. Audition by DVD or in person (contact us for more details).
Additional skills of interest (desired but not requisite): Choreography, arts education, arts administration, dance instruction (ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, pas de deux, and/or hip-hop).
Well, we’re in the throes of Casanova (T minus 8 days to opening night). And ohmygoodness, this is FUN.
As a dancer and co-choreographer/producer, I’m feeling beautifully steeped in this decadent era (18th-century Venice). It’s just so full.
The words: In the process of creating this new ballet, Donna and I have been reading biographies of Giacomo Casanova—as well as his own writings, of course. (Aside: Cad, yes—as mum says, “sometimes I feel like I need to take a shower after I read this stuff!”—but the man was a charming and intelligent writer. In fact, some of his lines were just so good that they inspired us to add a bit of narration in the “voice of Casanova” to the ballet, threading through his misadventures.) We’ve been reading about Venetian customs and Carnival, and dear friend and history buff Genna Speer also insisted that I read a slim little novel by Georgette Heyer, Powder and Patch, to pick up on some playful period details (highly recommended to our more serious audience members).
The music: We’ve been listening to endless concerti, both from composers we already knew and loved (e.g., the prolific Venetian Vivaldi is of course key to our ballet), and from those we were less familiar with, like Jean-Philippe Rameau. Underpinning every decision was to choose music that would sound familiar, that would resonate, but that wouldn’t sound too familiar. THERE IS NO RITZ CARLTON ELEVATOR MUSIC IN THIS BALLET. A bit of my favorite discoveries: We stumbled in a You Tube search across this AWESOME version of his “Rondeau des Indes Galantes” by the Louvre Symphony Orchestra with authentic period instruments (WATCH—it rocks). And some darn beautiful stuff that won’t make it into this ballet (e.g., the piano duo Anderson and Roe’s haunting arrangement of Vivaldi’s “Sento in seno ch’in pioggia di lagrime”/”A rain of tears“—if you haven’t listened to it yet, do), but that we’re filing away for a later project. Even now, with our ballet score long-chosen, I’m listening to baroque music incessantly (e.g., literally right now), since I’m a snob about having perfect intermission music. In short, the music from this era and from our Casanova score alike are so gorgeous that I can’t stop listening. You just can’t get sick of it. The downside is that this is our one ballet this season without live music, but the upside is that it would be a little hard to get the Louvre Orchestra or four harpsichords on stage at the Soreng; the experience we’re building is a total immersion in how stunningly lovely—and genius—music was during this time.
The movement: We’ve been studying baroque dance steps and watching authentic re-stagings of early ballet movement (recommended: Le Roi Danse). We’ve enlisted the help of a number of experienced fencers for our dance-duel scenes with single rapier. (Yes, I have BRUISES—this stuff is hard.) Donna and I are fiercely committed to challenging the company to have exquisitely nuanced musicality and especially arms and hands, and she’s making explicit decisions about some of the aesthetics, for example, there is very little traditional elongee in Casanova (where the dancer extends his/her arm, palm down); instead, she’s having us invert all of these shapes with palms up in a more traditional baroque style. There are cabrioles up the wazoo (this step was a big deal back then), and we don’t use as much epaulement with our feet, though there’s lots with our upper body. The movement has twist and is all about arms, so as a dancer, my body is LOVING it.
The costumes/set: Then, there’s the costumes…we’ve been studying fashion of the time (see our Casanova Pinterest page to peruse the designers’ inspiration board). The costumes are maybe the most gorgeous we’ve ever created (see a sneak peek on our Facebook page)—they are a contemporary spin on “baroque.” So, for example, we have these drop-dead cascading lace sleeves that fall from the elbow, but instead of connecting at the shoulder, they’re independent pieces that start at the women’s biceps so that we have more free movement. Then the skirts are built on a basic tutu from our professional costumer in LA, Primadonna, which we decided to do in ivory as if it’s a petticoat. Onto these tutu bases, demi-”bustles” are being overlaid, each woman’s slightly different, to get the dramatic curve out at the waist but without a floor-length skirt to get in the way of our dancing. We’ve been on the hunt in Springfield antique stores for the perfect jewels for Casanova’s women, making our Casanova (Elijah Labay) practice in his wig to make sure that his new ponytail doesn’t get taken off in any of our lifts, and using our hair extensions that were the beehives for Cinderella to build the ladies’ hair higher in a style evocative of baroque, but again, still danceable. All I can say is bless Allison Ditson, Rita Perini Vance, Katie Liane, and Beth Scott for their incredible, incredible artistry.
In sum, we’ve got gold paint on our hands (furniture that had to get taken up a notch), baroque music in our ears, and Casanova on our mind…
See you next weekend!
BFan intern Kristen here again! Whether the trend began with Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in Sex and the City or fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, ballet style is mainstream and as lovely as ever. Some of us may not be ballet dancers, but at least we can bring some ballet inspiration to our wardrobe!
I took the challenge to find the most fabulous, ballet-inspired, ready to wear, and versatile clothes on the market, and below are my top five:
ONE: I love this ballet-inspired dress from ASOS offered in three colors: black, green, and red. The fabric and bodice cut both have a leotard feel, with the tight gathers and wrapped shape.
TWO: ASOS also has the beautiful outerwear named Unconditional Ballet Wrap Cardigan.
THREE: Ruche launched an entire collection, En Pointe, based on ballet fashion. I absolutely adore this watercolor floral dress from that line! We may not have stage lights, but this fabric has a sheen and nuance to it that would look great in any light. It’s just decadent.
FOUR & FIVE: The clothing company Shabby Apple has created numerous tulle pleated skirts that say, “whimsical.” The white and black polka dot skirt on the left is the High Tea Skirt, and the lovely blue skirt on the right is the Music Hall Skirt. They both promise to float with the graceful play of a dancer’s skirt, and the double layers (underskirt and a tulle overskirt) on the latter are totally ballet-esque. Love.
Are you as enamored with ballet fashion as I am? What are some of your favorite ballet-inspired items?
p.s. Tune in next week for glimpses into our costume designs for our upcoming show, The Misadventures of Casanova! Let me just say that the sketches and fabric swatches I’ve seen so far are just stunning…think a high fashion contemporary spin on “baroque.” Fashionistas, prepare yourselves!
4. Raymond, the acrobat from Miami. He adds lots of fun elements to our show.
It’s finally here: the week of our season opener performance Cirque de la Lune. Ballet Fantastique’s company dancers are beyond excited for this event. One of the lead dancers in Cirque de la Lune, Leanne Mizzoni, dances the role of Estrella, the “lonesome diva” in the 1930s Cirque de la Lune traveling circus. This Northern Virginia native shares her top 5 reasons to see the upcoming performance with us:
With Ballet Fantastique’s upcoming performance of Cirque de la Lune, I had the special privilege of talking with professional circus artist and dancer, Raymond Silos.
Originally from Hawaii, Raymond started his entertainment career 12 years ago at Walt Disney World as a performer and went on to become a soloist dancer in ballet and musical theatre. He has performed in the circus world with many renowned artists and has travelled across the country and around the world from Hawaii and NYC to Guam, Japan, Bahrain, and all over Europe.
Raymond was working as a performer when he first started ballet. He was “drawn to ballet because of the beauty of it”.
As a talented circus performer, Raymond has travelled all over the world. When asked his favorite places he had travelled too, he had a difficult time making up his mind. After a bit of thought, he decided that New York City, Japan, and most of Europe were his favorite places to perform.
When asked about the differences between the circus world and the ballet world, Raymond talked about the unique circus culture stating, “Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has their own specialties.” He also discussed how the circus is “rich in tradition, heritage, and culture” with different beliefs and familial backgrounds. When switching to the subject of ballet, Raymond stated that one of the main differences is that “everyone is striving to be beautiful”. Ballet is rich in tradition as well, but it is a “different kind of training and tradition”.
In Cirque de la Lune, Raymond appears through out the show in the guise of a magician. He fuses his circus performance with ballet and even has a pas de deux with Hannah Bontrager, who he “is very honored and privileged to partner with”. His admiration for Ballet Fantastique and the show is palpable with his comments of “It’s an original and different show,” “I think it’s brilliant,” and “It mixes classical and contemporary and has an edge.” He is thrilled for this partnership with the ballet company and said, “I get to do the thing that I love to do… merge the circus artist and the dancer within me into one show.”
The collaboration with Ballet Fantastique came about by coincidence. Raymond was on a U.S. tour and had stopped in Eugene to perform at the Hult center. One afternoon, he decided to look up a place to take a ballet class. He came across Ballet Fantastique and to make the long story short, he met Hannah Bontrager. With further discussion, Raymond’s love for ballet, and Ballet Fantastique’s upcoming performance of Cirque de la Lune, the partnership was born!
Interesting facts about Raymond Silos:
Does Raymond have any special traditions or routines that he does before a performance?
The answer is yes! “I have a particular warm up that I do for myself,“ Raymond states. “I like doing what is called qigong.” Which is a Chinese practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise.
Where is he going next?
Florida, Minnesota, and Korea!
Catch a glimpse of Raymond Silos’ work here.
To see Raymond Silos and Ballet Fantastique’s dancers in Cirque de la Lune, purchase tickets at the Hult Center or online.
Caitlin Christopher, Alpharetta Georgia native, recently joined Ballet Fantastique’s prestigious and innovative company! Sitting down with her before a company rehearsal, her love for ballet was apparent. Following is our interview:
Q: Why did you begin dancing?
A: When I was 9, I saw the Atlanta Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker. That’s when I began taking classes, though I didn’t become interested in it as a profession until I was 12 when I decided that this is something I want to do.
Q: What has been your favorite performance that you were involved in?
A: I haven’t had the chance to perform with Ballet Fantastique yet, though I am really excited about our upcoming performance. So far my favorite dance performance has been my senior exit dance at the University of Georgia. My lead dancer got injured 2 weeks before the performance so I did the performance as a solo.
Q: How did you hear about Ballet Fantastique?
A: I was in Portland doing a workshop with the NW Dance Project. I’d heard about Ballet Fantastique so I asked Hannah if I could audition.
Q: What are you performing in in Cirque de la Lune?
A: Right now I’m in a lot of group numbers for Cirque de la Lune. I also have a solo titled “The Pope.” I get to dance with two hoops to this fast tango music. It’s fun!
Q: How did you adjust to BFan’s style?
A: They are very strong in the Vaganova technique during company class especially—it’s like we’re speaking the same language but a different dialect. I’m learning though.
Q: What are your favorite things about ballet?
A: There’s never a dull moment, what you do in class everyday is always different. You’re always working on a show with different characters and styles, it’s the job for a little kid who never grew up!
Q: What would you like to do after your ballet career?
A: I’ve definitely toyed with the idea of going to physical therapy school. I’ve had a lot of injuries and experienced difficulties when physical therapists don’t know how to treat dancers. It’d be great to specialize in dance therapy.