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In Good Company: The Ballet Austin II Dancers for 2011/12

Monday, September 19th, 2011

 

Returning Ballet Austin II dancer, Sarah Hicks, performing in Quiet Imprint. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Five new dancers are leaping into Ballet Austin II this fall! Sara Hays, Kody Jauron, Nicole Voris, Mandy Wenk and Benjamin Wetzel will all be a part of the apprenticeship program for the 2011/12 Season. They will be joining the ranks of Ballet Austin II veteran members Sarah Britton (Hicks), Whitley Saffron and Daniella Zlatarev who are all returning for their second season. To learn more about the second company, read their bios here.

These dancers have a lot to look forward to this season, and so does their audience. They will first be taking their talents on tour as they travel to Orange County, California to debut Quiet Imprint, a work by New America Talent/Dance winner (2006) Thang Dao. This production is critically acclaimed, earning nominations for Best Ensemble and Best Choreographer from the Austin Critic’s Table. The performances of Quiet Imprint will be held at the Rose Center Theater in Westminster, California on October 8-9. The dancers will then be back in Austin to perform Peter and the Wolf. This whimsical spin on the classic Russian fairytale, which includes participation from the children in the audience, takes place October 29-30, and November 5-6 at Ballet Austin’s  Austin-Ventures Studio Theater.

Ballet Austin II dancers are hard at work already preparing for both of these productions. And, if it is any indication of what is to come, this season is sure to be a great one for all of the new apprentices!

View their schedule here!

Ballet Austin II & Quiet Imprint In Houston

Monday, April 18th, 2011

As Ballet Austin’s 2010/11 season draws closer to an end, we dancers are actually busier than ever before. Not only are we rehearsing for The Magic Flute, set to premiere May 6th during Mother’s Day Weekend, but Ballet Austin II is also excitedly preparing to once again perform Thang Dao’s Quiet Imprint at the Hobby Center in Houston, Texas this weekend.

Quiet Imprint, set to live music performed by Khanh Ly, tells the story of the many Vietnamese that were displaced during the Vietnam War. Dao created the piece on Ballet Austin II last season. After a great response from not only Ballet Austin patrons but also the Vietnamese community, we were fortunate enough to perform it again last October.

I had the honor of being part of the original cast of Quiet Imprint and saw it evolve from an idea into the inspirational and moving piece that it has become. When Thang Dao first created this work, we spent eight weeks of intensive work-shopping trying tons of different choreographic material – most of which did not even make the final cut – and becoming comfortable with Dao’s movement quality. Conversely, when the ballet was reset on the new members of Ballet Austin II this season, we only spent about a month preparing. Our focus shifted to joining dancers from the original cast with those who were completely new to the choreography and, from there, learning how to make the movement flow as if it had been created specifically for this new cast.

This time, we’ve only had roughly two weeks to rehearse for our performance in Houston. Originally, we were all a little nervous about taking such a long break from this material and then performing it for a whole new audience in such a short amount of time. However, rehearsals have been going much smoother than I could have ever anticipated. In fact, it is almost as if we never stopped rehearsing the piece. The choreography has become ingrained in our bodies, and there is even a new life being brought to steps I though I had already mastered. For example, while working with one of my close friends, Kody Jauron, we danced a partnering section almost effortlessly, despite the same material being challenging to coordinate back in October.

Even with a short amount of time to prepare, Ballet Austin II is eagerly looking forward to this weekend’s performances. It is so exciting to not only tour and bring this piece to a new audience, but to also return to a work that helped to bond our group early in the season.

To read more on Ballet Austin’s previous performance of Quiet Imprint, please click here.

For more information on the work, click here.

To buy tickets, go to The Hobby Center’s website.

Photo of the Day: April 6, 2011

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

 

Quiet Imprint
Choreography by Thang Dao
Photo by Tony Spielberg

 

Quiet Imprint was an excerpt from That Spring Thing in 2010.  For tickets to Ballet Austin’s 2011 That Spring Thing Ballet Austin II:  Red Roses, click here.

Photo of the Day: March 28, 2011

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 

Quiet Imprint
Choreography by Thang Dao
Photo by Tony Spielberg

 
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