Category Archives: Performances

Reviews and articles around Ballet Austin’s yearly performances

Studio Theater Project: Nicolo Fonte’s ‘Lasting Imprint’

Video courtesy of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Check out this little sneak peek video of Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint from when he created it on Cedar Lake Contemporary ballet. In the video, Nicolo also discusses some of the thinking behind the work. We will perform this work as part of the upcoming Studio Theater Project!

For Tickets and more information about the Studio Theater Project, click here.

Setting the Ballet: La Sylphide

Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin directing rehearsal for La Sylphide

Choreographed 1836 by August Bournonville, La Sylphide has been a staple of the repertoire of the Royal Danish Ballet for 170 years, and is generally considered to be the most important ballet created during the Romantic period. Though I have been looking forward to staging and coaching this ballet since Stephen announced this season’s programming last winter, I also found myself with some trepidation as he and I prepared to teach the dancers in early January.

When I work in the rehearsal studio with choreographers as they are creating new work, one of my primary responsibilities is to listen and observe, taking both written and mental note of the process and the product. Particularly crucial is that I have a clear understanding of the choreographer’s intentions so that I can help the dancers fully realize the choreographer’s expectations. Trying to apply that same process and sense of accountability to choreography that is nearly two centuries old is intriguing but also very daunting, and requires a lot of advance preparation and research.

Dancers rehearsing the sylph scene

Romantic ballets, in general, have unique aspects of shape and movement, but Bournonville’s work has a very specific aesthetic and theatricality. In setting La Sylphide, and working to fully capture the essence of this ballet, Stephen and I relied on our past experiences as dancers in Bournonville’s work, as well as notes and video recordings. We also had extensive conversations between ourselves and with the dancers about how to best interpret the narrative and tell this wonderful story.

Michelle Martin and dancers rehearsing the fortune-teller scene

Beyond my usual directorial responsibilities, La Sylphide has also given me the rare opportunity to participate onstage in the role of Madge, the Witch. As a dancer I was usually cast in the ingénue roles, so I’m enjoying the chance to portray a darker character. Bournonville’s emphasis on the development of the characters and their interaction makes this role particularly interesting for me and more complex than I’d originally anticipated.

While the responsibility inherent in staging a ballet like La Sylphide definitely offers some challenges, for both the dancers and our artistic team, the simple elegance of the storytelling and brilliant craftsmanship of the choreography have also made it incredibly fulfilling. All of us are looking forward to transitioning from studio rehearsals into the theater this week, anticipating the added energy and theatrical “edge” as we work with the Austin Symphony and the breathtaking scenery and costumes from the Boston Ballet. This marks the first time that Ballet Austin has presented La Sylphide and I’m certain it won’t be the last…

For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.

La Sylphide – Video Blog: A Romantic Masterpiece

In our last installment of the La Sylphide video blog series before the performances this weekend, Artistic Director Stephen Mills and Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin talked to us about August Bournonville’s penchant for lavish storytelling in his ballets. And La Sylphide is one of his shining examples, one of the greatest and oldest surviving Romantic classical ballets. See you at the theater this weekend!

For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.

Austin American-Statesman: Dance, dance mania

“In recent years, women’s collections have included lightweight wrap cotton sweaters, leather ballet flats, skirts made from shredded fabric, feathered skirts and gowns with jeweled bodices — all of which are fashion staples for professional ballet dancers,” says fashion writer Marques Harper. His feature in today’s Austin American-Statesman Life & Arts section centers on the influence of ballet in current women’s and children’s fashion, due in part, he says, to the popularity of the Oscar-nominated Black Swan.

Marques explored this connection by visiting with Ballet Austin Company dancer Aara Krumpe and Wardrobe Assistant Emily Cavasar (both pictured in the gorgeous photo above that ran with the article). He dropped in and photographed a fitting for Aara’s costume for her principal role as the sylph in our upcoming production of La Sylphide. Click here to read the complete article.

La Sylphide – Video Blog: The Bournonville Style

Four our second installment in the La Sylphide video blog series, we sat down with Artistic Director Stephen Mills and Company Dancer Paul Michael Bloodgood, who will dance the principal role of James, to discuss the challenging and beautiful characteristics of the Bournonville style of choreography.

For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.

La Sylphide – Video Blog: An Austin Premiere

For the first installment of our La Sylphide video blog series, I sat down with Artistic Director Stephen Mills and Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin. We discussed the great significance of La Sylphide and the beautiful choreographic style of August Bournonville. And they expressed their excitement about bringing this centuries-old masterpiece to the stage for the first time ever in Austin. Check out the video!

For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.

Symphony of Clouds featured in Alaska Airlines Magazine

sofc-alaska-airlines

This Month’s Alaska Airlines Magazine includes a column featuring our upcoming show Symphony of Clouds. This ballet, a collaboration with Pollyanna Theatre Company featuring the Ballet Austin trainees, is a fun dance-theatre retelling of the story of Mozart’s childhood.

Click the image above for a larger version. For more information about Symphony of Clouds, or to purchase tickets, click here.

The Nutcracker: Record Single Ticket Sales and Attendance for 2010 Production

nutcracker-blog

We are proud to announce that our 2010 production of The Nutcracker set an all-time record for single ticket sales and attendance. Thank you to the over 26,000 who joined us for Austin’s Holiday Tradition this year! Many performances of the 2010 production sold out, so mark your calendars for July 2011, when tickets for the 2011 production will go on sale.

Click here to read the complete press release.

What does The Nutcracker mean to you?

nutcracker-pic

We all have one, our very first memory of The Nutcracker ballet. We remember it as magically today as when we first sat in the audience, amazed by what was happening on stage.

I was five years old. I’d been taking dance classes for about a year and a half when my mom, who also grew up dancing, told me we were going on a mother-daughter date to see The Nutcracker. The what? We had quite a collection of real nutcrackers around our house so I didn’t know why we had to go see more…they weren’t that exciting. But despite the confusion, I put on my fancy red satin dress, black patent leather “heels”, enormous hair bow and hopped in the car as we headed to the Wortham Theatre in downtown Houston.

I fidgeted in my seat, still completely puzzled, as we waited for the curtain to open. And when it did…I sat perfectly still with my eyes glued to the magic and dancing that was happening before me. The production was breathtaking.

I’m now twenty-two and for the past seventeen Christmases, my mom and I haven’t missed a Nutcracker season. For me The Nutcracker represents everything I love about the holiday season: family, tradition, joy, excitement, and wonder. It was not only my first ballet, but it is still my most treasured.

So what’s your most memorable Nutcracker experience? Share with us what makes this one-of-a-kind production a treasure in your eyes! Post your story in the Comments section below and see all the different memories The Nutcracker has inspired!