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Monthly Archives: February 2011

  • Wheeldon's 'Alice' Brings Magic to Royal Opera House

    In his exclusive interview with BBC News, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon discusses his ground-breaking production, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland "...the first new full-length ballet commissioned for London's Royal Ballet for 15 years, and the first specially composed for the company in 20 years. The Royal Ballet says the production, with its characters and designs, will be 'an assault on the senses'. Read Christopher's interview here.

  • Sir Paul McCartney's Pas de Deux with NYCB

    7292962_paulmaccartney_240As we first mentioned back in June, the former Beatle was tapped to score an "unnamed" ballet for an "unnamed" ballet company. Well, the cat's been let out of the bag!

    The name of the ballet is "Ocean's Kingdom" and it's created especially for New York City Ballet. "Sir Paul has been working closely with Peter Martins, the company's ballet master-in-chief, who will choreograph the show. Martins said the idea of a collaboration struck him when he bumped in to the Beatle at a fund-raiser for the School of American Ballet (the training ground for the NYCB) last year: "I knew, of course, about his foray into classical music and his interest in it. I said to him, 'Maybe we could do something together,'" McCartney took him up on the idea, and the stage was set for a unique collaboration."

    You can read more about this legendary pas de deux in the making here.

  • NYCB's Jenifer Ringer to Appear on Oprah

    nycbThis just in from New York City Ballet's Facebook page! NYCB principal, Jenifer Ringer will make a guest appearance on Oprah this Thursday, February 17th. {Check local listings.} The show will explore fascinating lives and will include an exclusive interview and behind-the-scenes footage of company class, rehearsal and a performance! Don't miss it!

  • Teenage Angst was Good for Something!


    San Francisco Ballet corps member, Charlene Cohen has a mind for business! Read the latest SF Ballet blog entry to learn the story behind Charlene's greeting card business, Modern Rubbish.

  • Review: Seattle Dance Project's Project 4

    Oleg Gorboulev in Planes in Air. Photo credit ZebraVisual, 2011


    In Project 4, Seattle Dance Project’s latest work, the troupe showcases powerful works created by contemporary female choreographers.

    “Planes in the Air”, choreographed by Molissa Fenley, is a lovely Asian-esque fan dance on a grand scale. Dancers Betsy Cooper and Alexandra Dickson made light work of those giant paper fans, maneuvering them about with such grace and control, the entire work appeared effortless. And just when I thought, “Their arms don’t even look tired! Mine would be quaking by now!” Cooper and Dickson then took turns using both fans simultaneously. I have only one word for that, folks. Wow!

    Cooper and Dickson are just lovely together and looked as though they were enjoying the gentle escape this piece provides. The incredible upper body strength these two possess in order to give such a light, airy feel to those fans is inspiring. {In fact, they made me want to grab a fan and join them!}

    “Surfacing”, choreographed by Heidi Vierthaler, is comprised of four dancers - Betsy Cooper, Lara Seefeldt, Michele Curtis and Oleg Gorboulev—and a single floor lamp. Filled with sharp biting angles, insane contortions and slightly robotic music, “Surfacing” manages to flow with an incomprehensible cat-like grace. The end of the piece features a brief pas de deux between Michele Curtis and Oleg Gorboulev, which provided a stunning visual treat! My only regret was that it had to end when it did.

    Ellie Sandstrom’s “Al Poco Tiemp” brought Alexandra Dickson and SDP co-founders Julie Tobiason and Timothy Lynch to the forefront. Tobiason moved with all the grace and precision you’d expect from a seasoned artist. She’s beautiful and powerful—almost fierce at times—and proves she’s still “got it going on!”

    Alexandra Dickson and Timothy Lynch in Al Poco Tiempo. Photo credit: Zebravisual, 2011


    Alexandra Dickson and Timothy Lynch are absolutely delicious together. In fact their chemistry is so powerful that at times I felt like I was intruding on a private moment. {Yet I couldn’t bear to avert my gaze for fear I might miss something extraordinary!} The piece echoed with all the passion, beauty, and turmoil of a ranging sea with Tobiason somehow guiding these two sailors/lovers safely into port.

    “Rodin” is an exquisite pas de deux choreographed by Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Stacy Lowenberg. This gorgeous piece, brought to life by the talented David Alewine and Michele Curtis, featured amazing panches, delicate arabesques and gentle developpes. Alewine and Curtis are sensual, passionate and nothing short of captivating. Pretty please, SDP—bring this piece back soon!

    The fifth and final piece was Hilde Koch’s “Torque”. This exotic game of Twister incorporates all eight dancers in a series of nimble twists, swift turns, careful rolls, and skillful catch-and-release moments. I particularly enjoyed the partnership between Alewine, Gorboulev, and Lara Seefeldt. As the two men skillfully passed Seefeldt between them, she didn’t remain a quiet bystander. Instead she seemed to perform her own solo on each of their shoulders. {Superb!}

    Michele Curtis and David Alewine in Rodin. Photo credit: Zebravisual, 2011


    Seasoned greatness peppered with fresh energy. That’s the only way I can describe my afternoon with Seattle Dance Project and I eagerly look forward to more of their endeavors in the future!

    ~Denise Opper, Vala Dancewear media liaison

  • Sightings!

    Check out the lovely and talented Miss Madison Abeo!

    The young dancer recently attended a Coastal Dance Rage convention where she was asked to assist choreographer, Francisco Gella during his master class! {How fabulous is that?!} In the video, Madison is wearing Vala Dancewear's "Triumph". Below the video clip are photos of Madison wearing "Siren". Doesn't she look darling?! We especially enjoy the bold splash of hot pink! Excellent choice! ;) {Video/Photos courtesy, Mariangela Abeo}


    Madison wearing Vala Dancewear's "Siren" Madison wearing Vala Dancewear's "Siren"

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's Cinderella

    Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Pacific Northwest Ballet brings its version of the classic fairytale, “Cinderella” back to the stage following a nine year absence.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lesley Rausch as Cinderella and principal dancer Jeffrey Stanton as the Prince in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella.  Photo © Angela Sterling


    This beloved story, with its well-known plot and charming cast of characters, provides audience members an exciting evening of romance, comedy and whopping dose of “happily ever after”.

    Soloist Lesley Rausch gave an outstanding inaugural performance as the long-suffering, mistreated heroine. Her interpretation of “Cinderella” was rich and complex, allowing the attributes of humility, strength, love and fortitude to shine through. With this performance, Lesley Rausch proved she’s got the chops to handle principal dancer status in the near future.

    Our handsome prince, performed by the superb Jeffrey Stanton, was every bit as dashing and powerful as you’d expect. While employing an attitude that’s borderline “high school crush”, Stanton’s expressions are so arresting, I heard more than one woman whisper, “Wow! I wish someone would look at me like that!” The final moments of their wedding pas de deux performed high among the clouds while sprinkles of fairy dust (aka glitter) cascade all around them was to die for!

    The cruel stepmother was portrayed by the perpetual crowd favorite, Ariana Lallone. There’s just something about Lallone that screams “regal”, “classy” and “confident” which is perfect for a role like this. As a matter of fact, her interpretation of the stepmother was so convincing, I almost started to hate her and wished “Cindy” would stand up to her for once.

    Uko Gorter made a fantastic Father. His love and affection for Cinderella is so gentle and sweet; it’s just a shame he was so spineless when it came to his wife, the stepmother. But before I could dismiss his character completely, “Big Daddy” finally musters up the courage in Act Three to stand up to this bratty wife and her equally wretched offspring. {Woohoo!}

    Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lesley Rausch as Cinderella in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella.  Photo © Angela Sterling


    Lindsi Dec and Chalnessa Eames were beyond perfect as the wicked step-sisters. It was incredibly humorous watching these two pretend as though they couldn’t dance or hold onto a man’s {positive} attention to save their lives. My personal favorite moment came during Act two’s ballroom scene when Lindsi Dec tossed the Jester {I’ll get to him in a moment, I promise} over a chair as punishment for keeping her away from the Prince. Ha! Both Dec and Eames shine brightly in this role and received plenty of laughs for their outstanding efforts.

    And now, the Jester! Principal dancer, Jonathan Poretta pulled out all the stops on this one, creating a fully developed character not just some witless goofball. While Poretta’s court Jester is indeed lively, high spirited and completely hilarious, there’s a genuine feeling of devotion and protectiveness emanating from him toward the Prince as well. These two behave like the brother the other never had, and the Jester makes it his responsibility to protect the Prince from the stepsister’s unwanted advances.

    Carrie Imler took on a triple whammy as the Godmother, Memory Mother and Good Fairy. I must say, it takes a certain level of awesomeness to pull that off and Imler does it with style! Imler completely transformed herself each time and embodied every one of her roles to the fullest. There’s really nothing more to say about that except, “Wow!”

    The four seasons - Rachel Foster (Spring), Brittany Reid (Summer), Sarah Ricard Orza (Autumn) and Laura Gilbreath (Winter), looked radiant up on that stage, each one uniquely suited for the spotlight. However, Sarah Ricard Orza and Laura Gilbreath were the clear standouts that night. There was just a little extra edge weaving its way through their performances that night.

    Jerome Tisserand (Evil Sprite), James Moore (Harlequin) and Rachel Foster (Columbine) and Carrie Imler’s “Good Fairy” captivated the audience’s attention during the third act’s “Theatre of Marvels”. The pas de deux between Moore and Foster was incredibly fun, and Tisserand’s solo variation was fierce and dynamic. However it was their pas de quatre that really kicked things up a notch! {Love.these.dancers!}

    Last but by no means least, were the Memory Children, Bugs, Clock Children, Evil Sprite attendants and the Good Fairy attendants. Or to put it another way, the children! These little ones performed their hearts out in some of the most entertaining roles ever created for Pacific Northwest Ballet School students. The Sprites and Good Fairy Attendants looked like elegant miniatures of their respective masters; the Bugs performed their own charming interlude; the Memory Children brought happy moments from Cinderella’s childhood to life, and the Clock Children—or the enchanted pumpkins—provided Cinderella with the stern warning to be home by midnight.

    Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to view one of the most dazzling fairytales come to life! Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Cinderella runs through Sunday, February 13th. For ticket information, please visit

  • Married to Normal Folk

    happyhearts "Romances between dancers feel natural, almost inevitable. You’re cloistered with your fellow company members all day in the studio, rehearsing swoon-y ballets, so why not marry one of them? Relationships with “civilians,” however, seem more complicated..."

    Just in time for Valentine's Day! Discover how four ballerinas really feel about being married to a "normal" guy in this article from Pointe Magazine.

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