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The BCS on Fox 7 & KXAN!

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

The BCS – no, no, it doesn’t have to do with college football. The BCS stands for the Butler Community School, which offers dance and fitness classes for all ages and skill levels right here in our downtown Butler Dance Education Center.

Recently, we’ve been honored to receive some great coverage on the BCS from news stations Fox 7 and KXAN. Austinites aren’t a shy bunch, and the students each station interviewed were quick to say how much they enjoy the drop-in classes at the BCS – probably part of the reason BCS enrollment has jumped 472% in the last three years!

Turn Exercise Into a Party with Zumba!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Sitting in a waiting room recently, flipping through a magazine, a quote caught my eye, “We turned exercise into a party!” That was all I needed to keep reading. I actually enjoy exercise, but I talk to people every day who would consider that comment to be an oxymoron. In fact, even people who do exercise regularly approach it with a less than positive attitude, sort of like Garfield the Cat who said, “I might as well exercise, I’m in a bad mood anyway.”

So I kept reading to discover that there is a dance fitness craze sweeping the country. Now I am even more intrigued! Dance and fitness are what the BCS is all about! “Zumba®,” the article said, “has become nothing short of a revolution, spreading like wildfire, and positioning itself as the single most influential movement in the industry of fitness.” Those are some powerful words! What is this Zumba®? Soon you will be able to discover for yourself because Zumba® is coming to the BCS this summer! It is playful and energetic, and combines high energy and motivating music. It’s a workout that keeps everyone motivated by creating a party-like atmosphere.

The new summer schedule of dance and fitness classes begins June 2. Zumba® will be the featured BCS Class of the Month in June. Come give it a try for FREE! Zumba® just might be the best party in town!

To kick off all summer dance and fitness classes at the BCS we will be holding a 15% off sale on summer Class-Cards May 24 through May 29. Get a deal and then get fit and have fun at the BCS this summer!

Click here for more information on Zumba® and the BCS summer class card sale!

Coppélia – A Conversation with Jaime Lynn Witts

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

We sat down with Company dancer Jaime Lynn Witts to talk about her upcoming lead role (her first here at Ballet Austin!) as Swanhilda in our Mother’s Day Weekend production of Coppélia. Check out the video!

For more information about Ballet Austin’s production of Coppélia, click here.

Coppélia – Studio Spotlight Rehearsal Viewing

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Sneak a peek at the company dancers rehearsing in the studio before Coppélia opens! This is an excerpt from one of the high-energy character dances, called the Czardas.

For more information about Ballet Austin’s production of Coppélia, click here.

My First Lead!

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of being a ballet dancer. In 2001, I came to Ballet Austin as a trainee and then moved up to the second company as an apprentice. In 2004, I joined Ballet Austin and, amazingly, achieved that dream. Since then, I’ve had many wonderful opportunities on stage. This next performance, however, will be something new and extremely exciting. I’ve been cast as Swanhilda in Coppélia, my first leading role. I am so excited, and nervous, and a little bit stressed, but mostly amazed. As a little girl this is the type of role you dream about as you twirl around your room practicing that final bow. And now it’s real.

Swanhilda is a girl at the center of a series of comedic misunderstandings. She is a young girl in love, but a bit of a brat too. She and her boyfriend Franz are set to be engaged until Swanhilda catches him blowing kisses to the girl in the window of Dr. Coppelius’ house. Wanting to figure out who this girl is, Swanhilda and her friends sneak into Dr. Coppelius house. In the house they find many mechanical dolls, making their way Coppélia, who turns out to be a doll as well. Swanhilda realizes she’s been jealous of a doll, just as Dr. Coppelius returns. But that is just the beginning of this entertaining tale. I don’t want to spoil it all, but she does grow up in the end.

The rehearsal process for Coppélia is different than what we’ve just been doing with New American Talent/Dance and The Bach Project, since it is a restaging of a classic, not the creation of a new work. Mr. Mills has been working with us, teaching the choreography as closely to the original as possible, with some slight changes here and there where he sees fit. The coming rehearsals will not only be spent working on the execution of the steps, but also the stylized shapes specific to this time period of ballet. I think Swanhilda will be a really fun character to portray, but it is also going to be challenging to make sure that the dancing, mime, and acting all accurately portray her and tell the story. It’s going to be an intense few weeks, but I am so excited to have been given this amazing opportunity.

For more information about Ballet Austin’s production of Coppélia, click here.

New American Talent/Dance | Preview

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The third biennial New American Talent/Dance is right around the corner. Get excited! We’re already buzzing about it around here. Check out the video above or click here for more info on New American Talent/Dance.

Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project | Video Blog: Part 4 of 4

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

For our final installment of the Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project video blog series, we headed to the studio to capture Artistic Director Stephen Mills as he created the choreography for his forthcoming world premiere work. Then, we sat down with Mr. Mills to discuss the ins and outs of his creative process. Check out the video above.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our video blog series leading up to Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project. See you at the performances this weekend!

If you don’t have tickets yet (tsk tsk), click here to get them—especially if you need Valentine’s Day weekend plans.

Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project | Video Blog: Part 3 of 4

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

This week’s video blog focuses in on the painting—a work by artist Wes Hempel, owned by Artistic Director Stephen Mills—that inspired much of Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project. Mr. Mills discusses how elements of that painting have been translated into themes and production elements in the three ballets, including his dynamic use of video as a backdrop for dance.

Check out this week’s video and stay tuned for the final installment of the video blog next week, which will explore the fascinating process by which Mr. Mills creates new choreography. This final edition will provide you a window into the studio as the Company and Mr. Mills prepare his world premiere work, Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project.

Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project | Video Blog: Part 2 of 4

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The second installment of our Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project video blog series focuses on the live music that will accompany the ballet. Both composed by and inspired by Bach, the music is a driving force in this multimedia production.

The three sections of the ballet feature three related yet unique treatments. A chamber ensemble under the direction of Dr. Michelle Schumann, Director of The Austin Chamber Music Center, will perform Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2, accompanying the first section. The following section will feature Dr. Schumann on solo piano, for which she will play an intertwined arrangement of pieces by Bach and Philip Glass.

For the third section, Austin’s own musician/composer extraordinaire Graham Reynolds has taken a Bach Suite in A minor and re-imagined it, setting this classical Bach dance to modern dance rhythms in his own contemporary interpretation of the piece. This section will be played by an ensemble assembled by Mr. Reynolds featuring strings, a full percussion section, and Reynolds on piano.

We sat down with Artistic Director Stephen Mills, as well as Dr. Michelle Schumann and Graham Reynolds, to discuss their exciting new collaboration surrounding Truth & Beauty / The Bach Project. Check out the video!

Ballet Austin: Illuminating Performance

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Watch our gorgeous new video (you may remember the shorter version from this year’s production of The Nutcracker), featuring Company Dancer Ashley Lynn Gilfix and sponsored by BMW of Austin.

And endless thanks to the wonderful production team that made this possible: The Liberal Arts, Beef and Pie Productions, and Ariel Quintans of Action Figure.

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