MEET RENATA

Angela Whitehill —  GUEST BLOGGER

Renata

Renata had grown up in the Metropolitan area until she was eight when the family moved to New England. The parents, a museum curator and a lawyer, wanted only the best for their young daughter. At 4 she started to play the piano, and although getting her to practice was no small task, she progressed from Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to Stars and Stripes and Claire de Lune, but her heart wasn’t in it.At 6 she switched to soccer. Renata was an active child and did well, but after a year she switched to softball and skiing, enjoying the fresh air and camaraderie of the team sports.

At 6 she switched to soccer. Renata was an athletic child and did well, but after a year she switched to softball and skiing, enjoying the fresh air and camaraderie of the team sports.  ” She needs something else, gymnastics,” said her mother -, gymnastics it was.!.. And she excelled, she loved the jumping, walking on her hands, tumbling and turning, maybe she would become a STAR! Maybe even make the Olympics or at least the state team !!!

So gymnastics it was.!.. And she excelled, she loved the jumping, walking on her hands, tumbling and turning, maybe she would become a STAR! Maybe even make the Olympics or at least the state team !!!  “Better add some dance, she needs the grace,”  commented Dad.

And she started ballet! She loved that too. Within two years she was dancing Clara, the lead child in Nutcracker. She was committed to dance and dance and dance…

“But what about the gymnastic team? • said Mom ” … or playing sports in high school?” Said Dad “or acting in school plays?” No! This is what I want to do, “ and she dug her heels in.  “ I want to give up all the other stuff and just dance” ..  she said.

“But your friends! the high school experiences you’ll miss! the football games and dances and … you’ll have no time for boyfriends. ”  But nothing would deter her and her parents understood Renata was developing her own personality, they had to let go and recognize her and a budding adult!!

For the next 5 years, she was in the ballet studio every day after school, with rehearsals on the weekends, and performances on holidays. She sailed through high school, no drinking or experimenting for her, she was going to dance, and with dance, she had no time for any of that. ‘I need my body in tip top shape”.

And soon it was time to prepare for college. “But I want to dance, I’ll be too old by the time I finish college! I need a couple of years before that. My brain won’t atrophy but my muscles might.”

Family discussions followed, tears and tantrums, a few slammed doors, despair and sadness and teenage drama filled the house. The fact is that the parents loved their child and wanted the best for her. She’d had all the advantages of a successful middle-class family and they didn’t-  They wanted her to step out of the mold.

“Everyone goes to college as soon as they graduate from high school.” they said.
” I’ve GOT to dance “she wailed

But, Dad had grown up in Europe so he was familiar with the “gap year”. And eventually, they came to a compromise. Renata would visit the colleges of the family choice ( on her way to and from a summer dance intensive of course!), she agreed to do the essays, fill out all the applications and prepare to get into the college of their choice. Once she was accepted she would audition to become an apprentice with a company and if she was successful she would ask to defer from college for a year or two – Gap Years!

Renata’s forty now with a doctorate from an Ivy League school. She danced for two gap years, she danced with a small professional company through college (It wasn, easy but she made it work), she danced soloist roles only in a small city company while she worked as an intern in a children’s hospital. It wasn, until her second year of graduate school that she finally stopped dancing, only to pick up salsa dancing alter her doctorate and while completing a fellowship at John Hopkins Hospital!

She is a professor now, at a highly respected New England University, she has her own lab and all that goes with success …  .. and for recreation, she does handstands in the air, splits into a “base” hands and knees, arabesques and attitudes on their shoulders
ACRO YOGA a combination of yoga, dance, and gymnastics.

And she understands what amazing parents she had, who allowed her to follow her dreams!

Angela Whitehill, Founding Artistic Director of Burklyn Ballet Theatre was trained by the National Ballet of Canada and at the Arts Educational Schools in London.   She danced professionally with the Ballet Paris, Jack Emile Litler and Jack Hylton Productions in England and Europe. She is the Founding Artistic Director of London School of Ballet, USVI, Shore Ballet School and Company, NJ,  Burklyn Ballet Theatre, VT,  Burklyn Youth Ballet, Edinburgh Scotland,  VT Ballet Theatre, Dance Council, Burklyn Ballet Designs and Not JUST Tutus.
Ms. Whitehill has served as Artistic Director of Paradise Ballet Key West, FL, Huntington Ballet and The Long Island Ballet NY. She has also served as principal designer for The Atlanta Ballet under the direction of Robert Barnett, New Jersey Ballet,  Burklyn Youth Ballet, Scottish American Ballet and has been given critical acclaim by the Scotsman for her designs of Aladdin and Cinderella and the Flower Fairies at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and in Dance Teacher Magazine 
She has received numerous awards including VT Woman of The Year 1996, Dance Teacher Magazine Award 2012. She is the co -author of 5 books on classical ballet.  However, the achievement Ms. Whitehill is most proud of is to have been chosen to serve as Adjudicator for RDA SW region in 2009 and 2014.
Advertisements

THE “OFFICIAL” UNOFFICIAL UNIFORM OF A BALLET TEACHER

 Ballet Teacher

While in NYC this past weekend I interviewed a talented dance teacher who was applying for a new position with our organization. She carried an arsenal of impressive accomplishments, a bevy of well-known establishments had given her work, yet her chock- filled resume resembled a grasshopper, hippity- hopping from job to job.   As I listened to young teacher who seemed bright and gifted, I found myself not paying attention.

I realized that I had become completely sidetracked by her appearance.

It became obvious that uniforms, however stereotypical, were not limited to those of French maids, and Police officers. The reptilian part of our brain tells us to trust.   “It’s in our biology to trust what we see with our eyes. This makes living in a carefully edited, overproduced and photo shopped world very hazardous.

dressing-the-part-lg-001

And this trust – what the person is wearing including , her clothing, her piercings and tattoos was in fact bothering my perception.  Well I struggled –   Mainly because I have many friends, dancers and colleagues that entertain the tattoo fancy.

I was indeed guilty of profiling.

The meeting concluded and I left for my hotel. Her appearance however, stuck with me and It wasn’t until I was back to my hotel after viewing a beautifully produced ABT performance of Le Corsaire filled with many dancers who did have tattoos, and had turned on a rerun of Scandal that night that I realized why. No matter what the Olivia Pope’s or Cyrus Bean’s crew wore, they always look amazing but, more than anything else, they always looked like a press secretary a politician’ or maverick CEO.

So why did I think this young dancer/teacher with her great resume didn’t look the part?

Instead of my usual route to  not getting involved in others problem or entangled in a sensitive subject… rule, I have decided to blog about it.

Is it partly a generational divide.?  Maybe? – Maybe Not.   Every generation finds a way to make itself distinctive from the one before and to make a proclamation to the old folks that “we’re cool, you’re not.” The flappers in the 1920s shortened their skirts and bobbed their hair. Flappers were daring, self-assured, and sexy.  While the trend did not show breasts or hips, it did show a lot of leg, and the just-below-the-knee length horrified many of the older generation. Despite the youthful enthusiasm for flapper style, some people felt threatened by it. When hemlines began to rise, several states made laws charging fines to women wearing skirts with hemlines more than three inches above the ankle, and many employers fired women who bobbed their hair

Young women in the 1960s shortened their skirts even more (remember the mini and hot pants?) and grew their hair long while the young men drove their fathers wild by deserting crew cuts for the Beatles famous early ’60s “mop top.  After a long hiatus, piercings began to experience a cultural resurgence when hippies returning from India brought the tradition back to the States. Nose piercings, like the septum, became popular with the rise of the punk scene throughout ’70s and ’80s as a sign of rebellion.  In the ’90s it was grunge. – the hallmarks of grunge were comfort, and where the less you spent on clothes, the more ‘coolness’ you had.  Commercially successful in the first half of the 1990s, due mainly to the bands like Nirvana’ Pearl and Stone Temple Pilots’ Core…this was an Ugly American time…  Too lazy to shampoo, this unkempt fashion sense defined the look of the “slacker generation”, who “skipped school, smoked pot, smoked cigarettes and listened to music” hoping to be a rock star one day.

The 2000’s seem to be about tattoos. It’s not your granddad’s simple anchor on the bicep from his Navy days, either. No. Now it’s full sleeves and multiple tattoos in multiple places. Many really are gorgeous works of art.  Then of course in our small world of dance, Voila!   Like Magic… the sexy and so gifted Bad Boy of Ballet steps in to fill the void.  The Ukrainian Dancer Sergei Polunin, blessed with bewildering power and confidence, Sergei Polunin took the dance world by storm and became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal. At the peak of his success, aged 25, he walked away, driven to the brink of self-destruction by stardom – his talent more an unwanted cargo than a gift. This – Earlier this year, a music video featuring Polunin dancing to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” which was directed by LaChapelle, went viral on YouTube, recording 12.6 million views.

Sergei-Polunin-Take-Me-to-Church-by-Hozier-Directed-by-David-LaChapelle-YouTube4

I did a lot of research about these tattoos. The following information is gathered from various TV and magazine interviews where he talks about his tattoos. On his left shoulder is The Joker from The Dark Knight. On his right shoulder, it says James Dean. The head is of Igor Zelensky, his mentor, a dancer and artistic director of the Russian theaters Sergei dances at. The scars on his chest and shoulder-blade (under which it says “Forgive me, tiger”) are “tiger scratches”. He loves tigers. The circle on his chest is a Kolovrat. It is an ancient pagan Slavic symbol representing the sun and it gives energy and light. On his stomach left is a howling wolf. He played “The Wolf” in the Royal Ballet 2009 production of “Peter and The Wolf” at age 19. His front right stomach says “I am not a human; I am not a god I am”. On his right side is The Grim”. On his wrist is a cross. On his hand is the national symbol of Russia, eagles clutching a shield, because he likes the design. On the inside of his index finger it says “dirty money”. On his foot it says “Achilles” in ancient Greek and on his inner ankle is a gladiator helmet. He loves ancient Rome, ancient Greece and the film “Gladiator” is one of his favorites. He says he just likes designs on skin.

Even though, I guess that am a seasoned professional and now part of the grandparent generation – I am shaking my head. I was motivated to answers to my distraction to try to seek out why I had these feelings and yet even as an artist that creates – I could not stop the interference from affecting me.

My hypothesis is Companies have the right to have a dress code and that dress code may exclude tattoos. Corporations, banks, attorney offices, retailers that appeal to the general public and public agencies aren’t likely to risk alienating a third of their potential clients by confronting them with their values about body art.

 

The Same is true of Ballet Teachers.

My unsolicited advice is:  Don’t expect company policy to change just because you think their attitude about tattoos is irrational. It may be irrational, but it’s their call. Don’t think that you have something so special to offer that they will make an exception. However brilliant, gifted, and creative your tattooed self may be, there’s probably someone equally brilliant, gifted and creative who isn’t sporting a fairy on her ankle or an elaborate design on the arm.  tattoos shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to employment because it doesn’t affect the person’s ability to get the job done. But there’s still a chance that employers or college admission officers can make negative prejudgment based on tattoos.

Hiring managers know that. In a recent survey by Careerbuilder.com, 31 percent of HR managers said that visible tattoos can have a negative impact on their decision whether to hire someone. Why? Because the people who own the business or company are often in the 50- to 70-year-old crowd. Even when that’s not the case, the customer base for a business may include a substantial number of those who are 40 and up. If that’s an important demographic for a particular workplace, tattoos can be a liability for getting a job there.

Most current example – On April 1, 2016, Disney theme parks, including Walt Disney World Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, are banning admittance to anyone with visible tattoos.

Disney

 

Per The Walt Disney Company’s spokesperson for Consumer Relations-Theme Parks Division, April Engañar: “We don’t think that tattoos fit into the image of a wholesome Disney family. For years we have received complaints from concerned parents saying that they didn’t want their children to be subjected to tattoos so this decision has been a longtime coming. We still value tattooed customers; we just want them to cover up before experiencing the Happiest Place on Earth.”

Reactions on social media have, as one would expect, been very strong.

Legally, Disney has the right to refuse entry to anyone they please because the parks are their private property. “While we respect individuals’ freedom of expression through tattoos, we do not think that ink has any place in the Magic Kingdom for years it has been whispered that Disney CEO Bob Iger has despised tattoos, not just for the aesthetic quality, but because of tattoo artists making money for inking Disney logos and characters without compensating his corporation.  Other than tattoos, Disney has also banned facial piercings other than earrings and nose studs. That means no lip, eyebrow, septum or dimple piercings

What’s a recent college grad, or anyone on the job hunt for that matter, to do? If you don’t have a tattoo, consider whether the risk to your career potential is worth it. Sure, if you’re going into a creative field where tattoos are widely accepted, it may not matter. But if you’re thinking about work in a more straight-laced profession, including working with young children, you may be significantly limiting your chances.

If you really must have succumb to the INK, consider having it done in a place that can be covered up for work. Some people actually like this option or at least make it work for them. For some, it’s like having a secret identity. For some, their tattoos are part of their cloistered life, not something they want to share with everyone decided that if my body was going to be my medium I needed it to be as clean and pliable, capable of representing whatever it needed to.

Yes I agree it can be beautiful.

Tatoos

But-

If you’re serious about being a dancer I would just put it off or not get it at all. It is a hassle to cover and when you’re performing/auditioning the last thing you want to worry about it whether the modification to your body you chose to make is going to show and cost you the job or discredit the performance.  The professional world works very differently, of course, but I guess I’m wondering why you’d want to swim upstream when you don’t have to..

So in closing, I say — Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. In your 40s and 50s you stop worrying about what other people think about you. And I would assume, finally, in your 60s and 70s you will realize that they were never thinking about you in the first place.

Maybe next time I will try to ignore the artwork on your wrist or ..

Maybe I won’t grant the interview at all.

Time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Ready for the Big Show

Diamond and Silver

JILL EATHORNE BAHR
Posted on May 28, 2016
Dancers are often called frivolous.

Ballet deals in the illusion of control and ease of movement. But the leaps and lifts, the hip turnouts and grand pliés, and sheer repetition of steps and stretches places ballet near the top of a list of physically demanding activities. Dancers labor in classes and rehearsals during the day, and then work like madmen again in performances at night. They tend to be as mentally alert as they are physically agile, and they are frequently long-lived. If their attitude strikes some as overly lighthearted, then perhaps we all should learn how to be frivolous.
But on the contrary the company dancer has learned to master time, beautifully. They can mentally rocket above it, just as they soar above the ground in their performances. The nature of their art requires them to be acutely aware of the necessity of using time well. Ideas may occur to choreographers throughout the day. But they can only realize those ideas by creating specific steps for specific people in specific rehearsal periods. Every minute counts. No wonder George Balanchine liked to say that his muse came to him” on union time”. And of course Bob Fosse is quoted to say “I think Balanchine and Robbins talk to God on their day off and when I call — he’s out to lunch.
Because dancers’ lives are divided into such rehearsal periods and units, they learn how to concentrate upon whatever is demanded of them at any given moment. They give their complete attention to the task at hand. Although not all dancers receive a rigorously academic education, their memories are often phenomenal, possibly because anything learned by ones complete mental and physical being is not easily forgotten.
Classes, too, are of fixed duration and, like rehearsals, usually involve groups of people moving together. A few dancers give themselves personal warm-ups. Others receive private coaching. But, in the typical class, many dancers perform the same exercises under a teacher’s watchful eye. Class is a regular, necessary part of a dancer’s day. And when class is in session, dancers must be focused and attentive. Time is filled with meaningful, physically demanding activity. While a company class lasts, it can be a great leveler. Everyone from a troupe’s most famous star to the newest member of the ensemble can be seen lined up at the barre, and even though the teacher may treat the star with deference, the star may still falter, while the newcomer may dazzle. During class, students become aware both of human imperfection and of human aspirations toward excellence. But when class ends, it is truly over – and now it is time for the dancers to devote themselves to what is scheduled to come next in their day.
The company races to the finish line Next week, the rehearsal process moves to the hardest part of a dancer’s work. Bringing out the artistic essences of each work is what makes each presentation unique. It is the art of squeezing out finishing touches. The power of the ballet master or coach is synonymous with a personal trainer for an Olympic athlete, or an executive coach for a CEO. Dancers often need the single of eye of a trained eye to offer important tips to make a performance day an unforgettable moment in a person’s own experiences. The coach must be the third pair of eyes, and the scale that keeps it in balance.
Many dancers have a lot of things they can tell you with their soul, but sometimes they don’t feel their body. They need to free up their upper body, need to breathe and let air in.” A coach emphasizes musical phrasing and reminders or “make good transitions a normal occurrence at this time.
Coaching is a special process that takes the dancer to the next level. It ignites the imagination and burnishes the luster of a performer’s unique qualities. Even in the age of videos and virtual imaging, there is no substitute for the intimate exchange between coach and dancer that passes on the artistry of ballet from one generation to the next.
Regular coaching sessions are as essential as taking class if dancers are to maintain their characterization and grow as artists. The famous ABT ballerina Dvorovenko once was quoted to says, “It is like dust on the furniture. If you don’t clean it, the next day there will be dust a little bit more.”
So step off, football jocks. The ballerina needs the physical therapy table more than you do. So what do you think we do on our day off.? Unlike professional sports teams, many classical ballet companies don’t have the money for on-site doctors and physical therapists. CBT ‘sport medicine trainer Al Hawkins is the on-call guru. And calls often go to Jessica Roan Valentine’s husband, Brandon, an orthopedic doctor. “I think companies are realizing now that if they want to have dancers perform for a long time, they need to be proactive,”. Hawkins, who has worked for the ballet for over 10 years, says his role is with dancers, he says, it’s “maintenance.” Try telling a dancer with a chronic injury that she really needs to rest for three weeks to be pain-free. Not gonna happen.”

“So I’m giving them practical things to do to minimize the condition, if possible, and undo the damage, if possible,” Hawkins says. “I want to get to them before they get to the point where they can’t get out of bed.”

The Story of “Twas the Night Before Nutcracker”

sergei-diaghilev_1503834c

 

 

 

Synopsis

Prologue “In the Rehearsal Room”

A group of dancers, on holiday from their regular jobs at the Maryinsky Ballet in St Petersburg, performed a season of ballet at a dowdy theatre in Paris. They were presented by impresario Serge Diaghilev, who calculated that ballet would be cheaper than the opera he’d presented there the previous year. Diaghilev milked his contacts, and opening night was duly attended by ministers, high society, artists and aristocrats. They became an immediate success.  It is now two years later and there is a Ballet Academy that has been formed in Paris.

Maria (age 10 years old) is growing up ‐ with all the sensations, conflicts and moods that this rite of passage entails. More than anything she wants to be a famous ballerina one day.   She trains every day at the most prominent ballet academy, where the legendary Impresario Sergei Diaghilev serves as the Director. It is the night before the opening of the Nutcracker tour. Everyone in the company including the principal dancers has arrived. The famous prima ballerina assoluta, Dame Alicia Markova teaches the dancers their final class.  When class is over all the soloist and principal dancers begin to gather their belongings. Before they leave, they stop to acknowledge the talented students of the Academy especially young Maria.  All of the inspiration of being in class with these famous dancers magnified by the many hours of rehearsals classes and training begin to catch up with Maria.  At the end of class she realizes how fatigued she is and sits down for a moment with her coach Madame Markova.  She quickly falls asleep. And for a long moment, that dream of being a ballerina becomes so close. -almost real.

 Scene 1 –   The Opening of Act 1

Fast asleep from her hard rehearsal, Maria dreams that the performance is about to begin. All the sets are flown into place and all the dancers enter stage to begin the performance.  Maria takes her place, and opening night of “The Nutcracker “begins.  The Holiday festivities begin to hit fever pitch, suddenly on cue the surprise guest arrives.  The mysterious godfather to Maria, Godfather Drosselmeyer enters the stage.  However, it is not Godfather Drosselmeyer but Impresario Sergei Diaghilev! The performance takes a different turn. Instead of magical dolls and toys for family and friends, Maria dreams of other famous ballet solos and duets she loves.  Two of the company dancers perform Harlequinade Pas de deux and Maria’s favorite male dancer, dances as the Drummer Boy.

Chards of The real Nutcracker performance now get more puzzling .  When it is time to receive the gift of the coveted Nutcracker doll,  Maestro  Diaghilev gives the prize to one of the ballerinas in her class.  Realizing how sad Maria is by this action, Maestro Diaghilev asks Maria to dance a solo for him. Diaghilev’s success depended primarily on his ability to identify and bring together the most creative artists of his day. After seeing her dance, Diaghilev who always had a nose for talent, realizes his mistake and before he takes leaves of the stage he returns the Nutcracker to Maria

Scene 2 – At Midnight

The guests have left, Maria enters the room once more, finds the nutcracker and cradles in her arm. An enormous shadow on the wall startles Maria as mice creep into the room. Maria hides her eyes and realizes she is trapped in a nightmare. Strange things begin to happen. She is startled by the appearance of Sergei Diaghilev  who conjures up all the characters in the real Nutcracker including the Nutcracker Prince and the Mouse King.   She takes part in a magnificent rehearsal that ends differently than the traditional Nutcracker scenario.

Scene 3 – A Snow Scherzo 

When the Rehearsal is over Maria turns to Maestro Diaghilev and asks how she can make the Nutcracker stay. Instead, in a flurry of magic, Maestro Diaghilev offers to take Maria on a wonderful journey to many great places. First they must pass through the Land of the Snow to visit the Snowflake Fairies.

Act 2 – At the Paris Opera

As Maria´s Dream continues – It is now performance time.  Diaghilev shows Maria how a production is created: the empty stage becomes a scenario in which everything is in preparation for the performance. Diaghilev shows several divertissements, and at times he takes part in the dancing.  They perform a variety of specialty dances, including Hot Chocolate from Spain, Coffee from Arabia, Tea from China, a and a Russian Trepak.  Maria laughs when all of the little bonbons and the ribbons perform. Finally, there is the glorious waltz with all the beautiful flowers. When they are finished the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince perform the grandest dance of all for Maria, the Pas de Deux.  After the turbulent finale, the action stops – Now will Maria’s Dream come true?

Apotheosis – In the Rehearsal Room

Marie is back in rehearsal room with Sergei Diaghilev and Dame Alicia Markova. She is awakened and wistfully takes leave of her dream.

Tickets are still available for purchase visti www.charlestonballet.org 

 “Twas the Night Before Nutcracker”

 

 

Meeting Charleston Ballet Theatre in 2012

ImageIt is with an assured strength of purpose as well as a desire to meet the challenge of our artform that everyone at Charleston Ballet Theatre strives to be as treasured an arts organization as we can be as we reveal our gift of dance to Charleston each year.   

Charleston Ballet Theatre is not only a dance company, but a ballet school, and a leader in community engagement.  Our world-class performing company presents five major programs each year, from cutting edge modern works to world premieres, to story ballets to the well-respected masterworks of choreographers such as George Balanchine.

Our presence is felt in the public schools in Charleston & Dorchester II School systems and through our pre-professional training programs that allow young dancers to perform in our productions. Our school reaches hundreds of students in the Lowcountry through classes at our two schools and nationally during our four week intensive summer workshop each summer. CBT‘s  unmatched performance opportunities include our annual cherished production of The Nutcracker for ages six and up, the Broadway Dance Project for dancers over the age of nine, the Palmetto City Youth Ballet for aspiring advanced students, and the Spring Recitals for all students and the Summer Intensive Workshops.

Without a professional company attached to the school, these opportunities would not exist. Rehearsing and performing onstage with CBT gives the student dancers an exclusive glimpse into the profession of dance.

CBT increases access to the Arts through our school by giving many significant and partial scholarships to students whose parents have lost or been laid off from their jobs. We strongly feel the inability to pay tuition is never a good reason for a talented, creative child to be deprived of learning and exposure to the arts. Through the balance of generous community support, we are able to offer these special scholarships to those who otherwise may never have the opportunities afforded to others. Being a student at CBT is a magical experience. During each class, aspiring dancers move closer to achieving their dreams, develop life-long friendships and form vital life skills that will carry them successfully far into the future.

Since tickets and tuition do not cover the cost of our productions and student aid, contributors are responsible for a tremendous amount of our yearly budget.  We are grateful to the generous donors who recognize the importance of this unique art form in our community – from the sheer joy of watching the artistry and energy of our dancers to the valuable skills and creative outlet that ballet provides students across the southeast.  So many of our supporters have no real comprehension of the many identities of CBT or of the countless ways in which CBT enriches the life of our community.  If any of us have unintentionally neglected to recognize how many individuals, companies, foundations and government agencies make our programming possible.  Let me assure you … This holiday season we want to make sure we thank each and every one of you. 

In closing I have created my “wish list for 2012” – These items are big ticket items. For many of you this wish is an insurmountable request but for others these necessities could be the most significant and healthiest legacy to leave behind a central impact on the continued growth of professional dance in the community. .  Without them we will continue to grow slow and steady but with this help CBT Creativity has no boundaries.    If you would like to see a copy of this list please contact me at j.bahr@charlestonballet.org. Otherwise it is my hope this holiday season; that you can consider Charleston Ballet Theatre in your end-of-year giving.  Your gift will truly have a significant impact on the life of our community.   Your secure gift can be made online at our website at www.charlestonballet.org .  

Here is to a great 2012!     Thank you for your generosity,  Patricia, Don &  I send our best!  The Board of Directors, Staff and Dancers thank you as wel! !!

Jill Eathorne Bahr

Resident Choreographer  CEO

The Energy to Chase your Dreams

It’s hard to believe that in less than a  week we will be celebrating the 2010 Nutcracker holiday season, our twenty-fourth, where we will again be reminded through the production’s elegant beauty and magic that miracles can and do happen. Our current season has been met with a resounding roar of approval and a renewed interest in the ballet thanks to the return of live musical accompaniment with our season opener, Ballet Unplugged Live!. The evening showcased members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra on stage along side the professional dancers. Audiences have spoken and raved with their approval and enthusiasm for more of the same entertainment. That collaborative spirit will continue with the premiere of The Ellington Experience which will match Charleston Ballet Theatre with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra in February for an unprecedented live production set to the music of the great Duke Ellington.

 Listening to the comments and desires of our cherished patrons, we will approach planning our upcoming 25th anniversary season with the desire for more live music placed firmly in our minds. Additional artists of course means additional costs to make our productions the top quality you have come to expect from South Carolina’s world class professional dance company. The cost of assuring a live musical production is significantly higher, with a production such as Ballet Unplugged Live! reaching additional costs ranging from $5,000 – $10,000. Our Nutcracker production, long missing the extra enrichment of a live orchestra, can again renew that same spirit with a significant contribution aimed solely at bringing live music back to our holiday classic. However, a production  of that magnitude requires additional costs from $15,000 – $30,000 to make that combination of music and dance happen We ask that you keep this hope for a greater artistic experience in mind as you consider the importance of your annual contribution to our wonderful ballet company. We can make it happen with your passion and support.

 The CBT Board of Directors is devoting more energy to ensuring the long-term health of our ballet company by focusing on membership, debt reduction and endowment. Today we are writing to ask for your help in the short term to allow for the aforementioned long term advancements . As you know, ticket sales alone are not enough to support any professional ballet with the national percentage level hovering around 37%. This low percentage doesn’t begin to cover our operating expenses, much less the myriad of educational programs and support services we provide now and in the future.

 Your participation in our End of Year Appeal is crucial to maintaining the success and health of Charleston Ballet Theatre. We are more than a just a dance company, we are our community’s dance home. We hope you feel the same way and choose to help keep our home safe and secure for years to come. Far more important than any achievement or event is the fact that we have a place where we can gather, grow and experience magic and the sense of wonder that offers us all a much needed escape from time to time. I urge you to invest in our future by making a meaningful contribution to Charleston Ballet Theatre. Every gift is important, is tax deductible and will truly be appreciated by everyone at the ballet.

The Artistic Staff, Dancers, Administration,  and the Board of Directors of Charleston Ballet Theatre   wish you peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, and joy to fill your holidays.  Thank you for experiencing our productions,  celebrating our special events, and spreading the word about  South Carolina’s World Class Dance Company  throughout the 2010 season. 

We look forward To seeing you in the coming year,

Jill Eathorne Bahr –  Resident Choreographer

Alan Molina Principal Second Violin for Unplugged

Alan Molina began his violin studies at the age of three with Betty Haag-Kuhnke and later with Cyrus Forough. He received his Bachelor’s degree in violin performance at Indiana University where he was a student and teaching assistant to Mauricio Fuks. Alan went on to earn his Masters degree in chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory where he had the opportunity to perform with acclaimed artists such as Menahem Pressler, Jorja Fleezanis, Gilbert Kalish, and Ian Swensen. Mr. Molina spent two seasons with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas and other conductors such as Robert Spano, Franz Welser-Möst, Roberto Abbado, and Sir Roger Norrington.

During his time in San Francisco, Alan began working in recording studios, playing the violin for rock bands and films. Some of these recordings are “Ghosts of the Great Highway” by Sun Kil Moon which reached number one on the college radio charts, and the film “Ballets Russes” which was recorded at Skywalker Sound.

Mr. Molina is currently in his third season as Principal Second Violin with the Charleston Symphony