Monday, December 21, 2009

Stay tuned...

First, let's congratulate our wonderful intern Courtney on graduating! We will miss her, and her great blog posts. We plan to continue the blog- we have so much we want to share! We just need to figure out a few things first, so please check back with us soon!

In the meantime- what are you dying to know about BalletMet, or dance in general? Send us your questions to

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


So this is it, the end of my amazing internship with BalletMet! I have truly enjoyed writing this blog and being a part of this organization; I am sad that my internship has come to an end.

Dance has always been a huge part of my life, so when I was given the chance to intern for BalletMet and be involved in the world of dance, I could not have been more excited! It was during my initial interview for the position that I was told what my main task of this internship would be; launch a blog for BalletMet Columbus.

Each week I have been able to experience and share with you a behind-the-scenes look at BalletMet! From interviewing the costume, education and production departments, to dressing up as the Nutcracker and standing on High Street, I've enjoyed it all!

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with the blog every week--I really enjoyed writing it!

I am truly grateful for being given the opportunity to be a part of BalletMet and this has been an experience I will never forget!

Bye! : )

**The Nutcracker begins this weekend at the Ohio Theatre and runs through December 23rd!
**And tickets are on sale now for the rest of the season!
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Carmina Burana, and American Legends!

Become swept up in the Christmas spirit with BalletMet's holiday classic The Nutcracker!

Photo by Will Shively

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Since last week's blog was cut short due to the holiday, this week is jam packed! I'm going to talk about my tour of the scene shop, my interview with the costume shop manager about The Nutcracker, and also include a quick Q&A with some of the dancers!

I've said it before and I'll say it again; It's Nutcracker fever here at BalletMet and I could not be more excited. Yes, this is a very busy time of the year, but I am swept up in the holiday spirit and am thrilled to be a part of the madness!

To begin, I want to talk about my trip to the scene shop! Attached to the performance space, the scene shop holds all the props from past performances, including The Great Gatsby, Aladdin and even the carriage from Dracula which was made in the shape of a skull! It was very exciting to be around all the well-known props that have been used for years!

Here are some pictures!
The sleigh from The Nutcracker!

Dracula's Carriage!

And this is from the upcoming Carmina Burana!

Costume time! I was able to speak with Costume Shop Manager Rebecca Turk again, but this time, it was all Nutcracker.

"Busy, exciting, frantic, anxious, fun , overwhelming, rewarding," Rebecca had to say about working in the costume shop during Nutcracker season. She said that even though this show is put on yearly, there is still always more work to do because it is much larger in scale than the other shows. This includes fitting, altering and repairing costumes from the previous season, as well as building some new ones to replace others.

"The costumes need to exceed the expectations of the audience. They need to be extra-special, but also work with the existing costumes onstage," explains Rebecca.

I asked Rebecca what are some of her favorite costumes to work with and she said that it changes by the day because she loves the challenge of designing new costumes. And although I tried to learn the secret behind the nutcracker costume, Rebecca, as she should, would not budge.

"I do not have clearance to give away the secrets of the magic :) " says Rebecca.

When asked about her final thoughts on the season, Rebecca said that she will not have any final thoughts until the show is over, which at that point she will begin thinking about next season's Nutcracker.

"It's kind of like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that way," says Rebecca.

Also, as I mentioned before, I was able to have a quick Q&A with some of the dancers; Emily Ramirez, Gabriel Smith and Andrew Notarile. Since they are asked about dance all the time, I decided that I should come up with the most randoms questions I could think of instead..

Photos by Will Shively

1. Feet are imperative to dancers. So, if you haven't already, what would you name your feet?
"oooooo and aaaaaah" ---Gabe
"sasha and fierce! haha" ---Emily

2. If you could do a duet with any celebrity, who would be the most fun to dance with?
"Keira Knightly"--- Gabe
"Johnny Depp"---Emily
"Malin Akerman" ---Andrew

3. What is one food item that is always in your fridge on any given day?
"Queen olives! The big green ones mmmmm..." ---Emily
"Oreos" ---Andrew

4. If you were a tutu, what would your tutu look like?
"Red satin with black feathers!" ---Emily

5. Lastly, what is one thing you love to do on your day off?
"Play and compose music" ---Gabe
"Go shopping with my husband in comfy clothes" ---Emily
"Sleep in" --- Andrew

**The Nutcracker starts next Friday--make sure you're there!
**And next week I will finish my internship with BalletMet so make sure you check out my last blog! : )

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, this week's blog will be pushed back a week, but make sure you check it out next Wednesday!!

I'll be talking about all things Nutcracker here at BalletMet and featuring some Q&A with a few of the dancers!

Don't miss it!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Today I’m going to stray away from the professional side of BalletMet and instead delve into the Academy; aka FUTURE BALLERINAS OF THE WORLD!

The Academy was founded in 1980 by BalletMet’s first artistic director, Wayne Soulant, the Academy has become one of the country’s top five dance centers of its kind. Today I was able to speak with Academy Director Susan Brooker and Academy Coordinator Pat Short.

Pat joined BalletMet as a volunteer in 1984 and began working here full time in 1988—and she’s been here ever since! Her main task is dealing with student’s billing and accounting records, however, she also speaks with new students and interested parents about what to do next once their child has begun dancing at BalletMet. Pat best described herself as the “go-between” parents and teachers.

And she would know best, being a BalletMet parent herself. Her daughter grew up dancing here and BalletMet has just become a part of Pat’s life. “If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t stay.

I was also able to chat with Academy Director Susan Brooker, and let me admit that when speaking with her, I was immediately reminded of how jealous I am that I do not have an accent. :-p Susan has been here for about a year and a half now and is very happy with BalletMet. She received her professional dance education in London, England where she was trained she received dance instruction training. At BalletMet, she develops the curriculum and works with the other teachers here to make sure that everyone is on the same page and aiming for the same results. She is in charge of the pedagogical and artistic programs here and works closely with Christine Rogers, Academy Managing Director who is in charge of everyday happenings. Susan says that BalletMet has a “wonderful faculty”; “very caring and artistically and technically strong.”

So what is it about BalletMet that keeps her here? “There is an essential integrity to all the artistic work produced here,” Susan explained. “There is also a sense that everyone is working toward a common goal. We try to offer the highest quality training and each student is considered to be an individual. We watch out for their individual progress and the choices that are made depend solely on their well-being. “

What more could you ask for? Susan also explained to me the different programs and opportunities available to students. In addition to BalletMet’s training programs, they also have summer programs where students from all over the country come to participate.

“The kids here are very lucky to have these opportunities. They really receive the whole dance experience," Susan explained, and I could not agree more.

In addition to the staff, I also spoke with two of BalletMet’s dedicated parents. First I spoke with Mrs. Bank whose mother is one of the founders of BalletMet, and for her, BalletMet is a part of her family’s history. Not only did she used to dance here, but now her children as well as her sister’s children do too. What Mrs. Bank loves about BalletMet is the quality of the education.

“It’s not just about the performance, but the actual learning. That’s what I like about BalletMet.”

Mr. Weekley agreed, whose daughter spends about four days a week at BalletMet. “She likes the challenge.” Mr. Weekly and his daughter are actually from Athens, Ohio, but come to Columbus four days a week just to be a part of BalletMet. That’s dedication. “The training here is more intense and it’s much more formal; that’s why we like it here.”

For more info on the Academy click here:


This is the last weekend to check out Nightmoves so don't miss it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Not everyone loves ballet like I do; this I know. Therefore, I decided that while I was here, I would conduct a little experiment on ballet and find out how others, unlike myself, view ballet. What do people who do not possess a love for ballet and have no experience with it, think of the shows, the costumes and the music? How does their overall experience differ from mine? And is ballet unbearable for them to watch, or have they simply never been exposed to give it a real chance?

Today we will find out!

For this experiment I decided to use Swan Lake and Nightmoves--BalletMet's first two shows this season. Being an intern here, I receive two complimentary tickets to the shows, and I gave my second ticket to the person that I would include in the experiment. But, first things first, I had to decide whom I would take to the show.

At first, this seemed a little harder than I originally imagined because I had to take someone who did not particularly have an interest in ballet, but would be willing to see one and keep an open mind. Additionally, I had to pick someone that I knew would be able to give me a genuine opinion and feedback instead of lots of "I dont know." So I basically needed to say to someone, "Hey, I know you're not at all interested in this, but will you give it a shot?"

That being said I decided to go with one of my best friends, Nicole. She has never been to a ballet before and isn't particulary interested in it, however she was open to trying something new and helping me out by being my lab rat for this experiment.

So what are the results of my experiment.........

Surprisingly, she enjoyed both shows! Did she enjoy them to the same degree as me, definitely not (only because I am in love with dance), but she found both of them interesting. She had never been to a dance performance at this level before, so this was a completely new experience for her. When I asked Nicole if she preferred one show over the other, she said that the two were too different to compare and that she enjoyed different things about each of them.

With Swan Lake, she talked about how beautiful the set and cosutmes were, as well as how much she enjoyed watching it at the Ohio Theatre. At first, she was not sure if she was going to enjoy watching such a classical ballet, but was presently surprised by intermission. She also said that some of the music from this piece was really familiar---I think that a lot of people have heard music from famous ballets, but do not realize that it's originally from a ballet.

With Nightmoves, she enjoyed the change of pace from Swan Lake. Nicole explained to me that she did not know ballet could be so modern, but said she really enjoyed watching it being performed like that. She admitted that she was a little confused about some of the pieces during Nightmoves, but still enjoyed it for the most part.

I then asked Nicole, if I had another ticket to give her and she could choose between seeing another contemporary ballet or another classical ballet, which would she choose? She said that as much as she surprised herself by actually enjoying watching such a classical ballet like Swan Lake, she said that she would like to go to another more contemporary show, only because she was so impressed with how ballet could be so modern.

So that was the experiment! I am not only happy with the results , but also that I was able to interest someone else in ballet............I'm spreading the love! :-p


You can still catch Nightmoves at BalletMet's performance space this weekend through Nov. 21!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Nutcracker mania has begun and the holiday season is in full swing at BalletMet!
...and make sure you check out the Nutcracker Boulevard sign at the corners of State and High and State and Third!


Tickets went on sale Monday at the Ohio Theatre for the upcoming Nutcracker and most of my day was spent there. And, as a side note, let me just mention how I could spend all day there just taking photographs. The Ohio Theatre is one of my favorite venues in Columbus and not only was I there for opening day of ticket sales.....I got TO BE the Nutcracker!

Yep! I stood on the corner of State and High Street in Nutcracker garb, waving, shaking hands and posing for pictures with people already in the holiday spirit as well! And I have to admit, despite my apprehension towards putting on the costume (I'm pretty claustrophobic) it actually wasn't too bad, but rather a lot of fun!

The costume was a little bit big on me and we had to pin my pants to make sure the nutcracker didn't flash anyone! But after those few minor adjustments, it was pretty fun to wear! However, I was not the only Nutcracker on Monday; two other people in the office, as well as another gentleman who loves to help out also suited up to model the costume on State Street to help promote opening day for ticket sales. Four girls from the Academy were also involved, dressed as other characters from the ballet, standing next to the nutcracker passing out fliers for the show.

Some people that passed us were really excited to see these characters and the Nutcracker standing on the street in the middle of the day, while others avoided us at all costs :-p I didn't mind though! It was actually kind of funny watching people try to avoid me! At one point, some guy walked past me and said, "what's up Pinocchio?" and I thought to myself, huh? Maybe the nose on the nutcracker costume was a little big!

Anyways, I really enjoyed being a part of opening day for Nutcracker tickets. I know that most students do not spend their time at their internships dressed as Nutcrackers, high-fiving little kids on the street, but this is what I love about interning for BalletMet. Everyday is different and, clearly, I never know whats in store for me next!

Nightmoves begins this Friday Nov. 6 and runs through Nov. 21!

The show includes choreography from Twyla Tharp, Laurie Eisenhower, Michael Uthoff, Gerard Charles, Maria Glimcher and Adam Hundt! And featuring music from Sinatra, Mozart, Britten and Ravel!

Come and check it out! It may not be Halloween anymore, but you're definitely in for a treat!

BalletMet dancer Olivia Clark; photo by Will Shively

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Today I am going to settle the score, once and for all, in the battle of which ranks superior....


With Swan Lake finished and Nightmoves about to begin, BalletMet shows its versatility with dance. But what do fans think about this? I know there are purely classical fans out there as well as purely contemporary fans, but as long as the audience is pleased, isn't that all that matters?

There are the CLASSICS like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker--how can you do anything but love those! The score, the tutus, the choreography, its absolutely beautiful! For some people, a ballet without tutus just isn't a ballet at all! Ballet=Tutus...and lots of them.

Then are the CONTEMPOS (as we'll refer to them) like the upcoming Nightmoves. These ballets are little more updated, if you will. There are no tutus, no classical music and no classical choreography. Although contemporary ballet does it incorporate elements of traditional ballet, it also allows for more creative expression.

There is something so timeless about a classical ballet, that it is hard not to fall in love with the story as it unfolds on the stage. Classical ballet is the oldest form of dance and that in itself makes it a treasure. When it comes to contemporary ballet, it is fascinating to see how dance has evolved and how creative people can be when given the opportunity to experiment with ballet. Contemporary ballet uses the classic pointe shoe, but allows for more variety in movement.

If I were a dancer, I would love to experiment with contemporary ballet moves, and would also be honored to dance in a classical piece. For me, there is no favorite. I love the creativity that comes from contemporary ballet, and when it comes to classical ballet do I even need to answer this...I named the blog a tutu for you :-p

I asked some BalletMet dancers about their views on this issue....

When it comes to which type is superior, BalletMet dancer Adrienne Benz says it best. “I love them both, not one more than the other. There is something special about telling a story that is familiar to the audience like a full length classical ballet. With contemporary, I feel there is a little bit more room for artistic freedom and I also love getting more physical with my dancing!”

However, not all dancers feel the same. BalletMet dancer Adam Hundt refers to himself as a “contemporary baby.” And that he certainly is. In BalletMet’s upcoming
Nightmoves, Adam Hundt will show audiences his contemporary side; something I, personally, am very excited about!

So who wins this battle?

No one!

That's right! The truth is, these two types of ballet are very special and very difficult in their own right; therefore they cannot battle for the best. There is no winner, but everyone has their favorite!

So, for the purpose of this blog, this debate is settled!

And for everyone's viewing pleasure, here is a clip of a contemporary piece by BalletMet dancer Adam Hundt! If you love contemporary, then you will highly enjoy this. And if you don't, give it a shot! It might change your mind! Enjoy!

Also, I can't forget to mention the upcoming holiday............

And here's a video to get you in the Halloween mood!

Monday, October 19, 2009


“Their new Swan Lake beautifully re-creates the magic that must have enchanted audiences at the drama's premiere more than 100 years ago.”

--- The Columbus Dispatch! below to read the rest!

And now for the most important review!!! …mine :)

I was blown away by the performance this weekend. The dancers really embraced their roles, the costumes looked absolutely beautiful and the production team did an amazing job of bringing it all together. Additionally, having the performance at the Ohio Theatre added so much more; the elaborate architecture suitably fit the theme of the classic Swan Lake ballet. And all I have to say about the presence of all those swans on stage at once is, WOW. They just kept coming and coming and seeing so many dancers and so many tutus on stage at once was truly breathtaking.

I said before that although I have seen BalletMet performances in the past, this time would be a completely different experience for me….and it definitely was. It was incredible to be able to go behind-the-scenes of such a timeless ballet, and then see it come to life on the stage. I am very grateful.


I could go on and on about the show but, after two weeks of Swan Lake coverage, it’s time for something new! Today I was able to talk to the Director of Education at BalletMet, Ambre Emory-Maier, and she had so much to share with me!

Ambre oversees the educational programming here at BalletMet and supervises the staff. Additionally, she manages the scholarship program and teaches in the Academy, working with trainees and pre-professional students.
Some programs in the Education Department include:
*Moving into Literacy
*BalletMet Momentum
*Morning at the Ballet (this has been around for 30 years!!)

Each program focuses on talking and reflecting as well as creating, performing and responding. Through a very set curriculum and way of teaching, the programs that BalletMet has created allow the community to connect through dance in ways they would not typically be able to do so. It is these sorts of programs that inspire children at a young age to support the arts, and possibly consider becoming involved in the future. Either way, BalletMet provides them with the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful world of dance.

And providing these experiences is no easy task. Ambre and the rest of the Education Department work extremely hard to consistently provide these amazing experiences.

"It is deeper and more complex and takes a lot more work than one can imagine, unless you are here," says Ambre about the Education Department. "Nothing here is winged, it is all purposely done. We try to keep students engaged."

BalletMet's Education Department is very committed to all of its programs and the children involved; and for those children that are able to take part in these excellent programs, they should consider themselves lucky.

For more information on each program visit:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


....and casting has been announced!

Click here to see who's who!

It is quieter here again at BalletMet as the dancers are back in Cincinnati to practice. This week, as mentioned in my last entry, I will be focusing on the production aspect of Swan Lake. Jamie Gross is BalletMet’s Production Manager and her job is basically to keep everyone on track; not an easy task by far.

“My job is to catch mistakes,” says Jamie. She admitted that she also, often, cannot help but notice production mistakes on other shows she sees, be it ballets or even concerts. “I can’t help it.”
Don't worry Jamie, you just know how to make things look good! :)

When talking about production, first things first, the show has to be loaded. This means that the production crew has three days to prep the space for the show. Designs have been previously plotted, but now is the time where the crew can actually get to work and see if their designs will work with the space. Load-in begins on Tuesday morning but must be finished by Friday morning...that's a lot of work in a short amount of time!

Today I was shown the ground layout of the show, as well as what they call “minis” which draws out what will be on stage for each scene. These are good visual aids for stage managers and choreographers to use. Jamie also told me that Carla Chaffin, designer of the original 1997 Swan Lake set, is here to give input.

“It is great to be able to use local talent,” says Jamie.

Additionally, I was taken into one of the dance studios where the floors were marked with tape to signify where the props will be and where the dancers should stand. This was AMAZING. It may not seem exciting to some but, to me, it was incredible to stand in the room where ballets begin; to know that all the hard work that goes into creating a beautiful ballet happens here. When watching Swan Lake on Friday night, I will remember that moment.

For as elaborate as this performance will be, it is amazing to think that set production began only days before. Preparation is very challenging and intense at times and the production crew works extremely hard to make the audience’s experience perfect. And although Jamie claims there are always, what I like to call, “uh-oh moments", I believe that the audience will have a difficult time noticing them. The staff and dancers at BalletMet do an amazing job of drawing the audience into a story and not letting go until the very end.

In reference to Swan Lake, Jamie would like our readers to know that if everything runs smoothly and there is nothing visibly wrong with the show, then the production staff has done their job well.

“We are just adding to the magic of it all.”

All I have to say is that I am beyond excited about attending a BalletMet performance as their intern! I have been to shows in the past, but it now it is a completely different experience.

And it’s finally here!!
……Hope to see you there! :)

Before I go, I’d like to end this week’s entry with a few quotes from BalletMet dancers Adrienne Benz and Adam Hundt about their experience with Swan Lake!

“I really enjoyed the camaraderie between BalletMet and the Cincinnati Ballet. It is interesting to work with different dancers and different styles. And my calves really hurt but I can’t complain because the girls have it so much worse than the guys for this piece!" ---Adam Hundt
Swan Lake is an extremely difficult ballet but as usual it needs to look effortless! Dancing the role of Odette (white swan queen) has been eye opening and a great challenge at the perfect time in my career!” ---Adrienne Benz

…Enjoy the show!

Monday, October 5, 2009


BalletMet dancer Carrie West; photo by Will Shively

Coming soon to an Ohio Theatre near you....

BalletMet and The Cincinnati Ballet have teamed up to present the timeless masterpiece Swan Lake, October 16-18. For the next two weeks, I will take you behind the making of this treasured ballet, including a peek at costumes, production and thoughts from the dancers.

A little history of Swan Lake...
his 21st birthday, Prince Siegfried is reminded that he must choose a bride at his upcoming ball, despite his reluctance to do so. In an attempt to be alone and ponder his future, Siegfried arrives at a lake that is, unbeknownst to him, ruled by the evil sorcerer Baron von Rothbart; a lake where young maidens are held under a spell that transforms them into swans. As the lake fills with swans, Siegfried takes aim at one, but holds his fire as the swan transforms into a beautiful woman! Love at first sight, Seigfried promises this woman, Odette, the only thing that can break von Rothbart's evil spell; eternal love. However, Odette warns the prince that if his vow is broken, she will remain a swan forever.

The ball ensues the following evening and trouble is in store for Prince Siegfried!

To read more about Swan Lake, go to

Today at BalletMet, all the dancers were in Cincinnati practicing for Swan Lake, so it was a little quieter around the building. In fact, when I pulled into the parking lot there were only a few cars there, as opposed to a full lot as usual, and I thought for a second that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there either; that maybe it was some special day and everyone forgot to tell the new intern not to come in. I’m happy that was not the case because today was great.

In preparation for this week's bIog, I visited both the costume shop and the production department and spoke to the managers in each about what they are doing to prepare for Swan Lake. However, today I am going to focus specifically on costumes, and next week I will talk more about production.

BalletMet's costume shop manager Rebecca Turk is in her fourth season with BalletMet and could not be happier. She has been involved with designing and directing costume production for over ten years and it is a combination of her passion and the emphasis that BalletMet puts on artistic expression that keeps her here.

"Part of what makes this job rewarding is that you love it, and I am exceedingly passionate," says Rebecca.

However, although as fun as it seems to spend time around beautiful costumes all day, Rebecca's job requires so much more and one of her main duties is to keep the shop in order.

"You have to keep positive and roll with the punches," she explains. "Stressful situations will arise often and you have to be able to deal with them consistently. There are no boring days."

This is something Rebecca loves about her job; each day is different and everyone in the costume shop takes great pride in their work.

When speaking with her about Swan Lake, she showed me the beautiful, handmade costumes for Odette and Odile, and explained to me the costume situation for this production. Since BalletMet is teaming up with The Cincinnati Ballet to present this piece, the two companies have been working together to create a unified look. The piece will include costumes from both BalletMet's previous performance and The Cincinnati Ballet's as well as new pieces based on both designs.

The costume room is currently littered with swan costumes, and it could not look better.

In reference to Swan Lake, Rebecca would like our readers to know, "that this is an amazing opportunity for the audience because an amazing amount of collaboration had to happen to make this possible. It’s really wonderful."

Here are a few pictures from my day in the costume shop! And as much as I wanted to include the gorgeous costume that Odette will be wearing, I wanted to keep it a surprise even more!

The evil Baron Von Rothbart's costume!

The costume of the swans!

The Prince's vest!

Click below to see a different take on Swan Lake...enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Day one as BalletMet’s new marketing intern. Most interns start their day with a tour of a handmade costume room, a trip to NBC and a greeting from Maurice Hines, right? Well that’s how I spent my first day at BalletMet and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the time I am here!

My name is Courtney and I am currently a senior at The Ohio State University. For two years I have waited for the email from my advisor informing me that BalletMet was looking for an intern. Well the time has come and here I am, eager about what is to come. During my time here, I am going to blog about my experiences and provide an exciting behind-the-scenes look at BalletMet Columbus, starting with today.

First things first, after being introduced to everyone, I was taken on a tour of the building. One striking aspect of BalletMet is the fact that everything is in this one building. You have crucial business handled upstairs, while future ballerinas and professional dancers vigorously practice downstairs. I found this to be very charming and is what, I think, makes BalletMet so exciting; to know that every aspect of this organization is literally a staircase away.

In addition to your surroundings, it is also the people that work here that really add to BalletMet. It is clear that everyone who is here wants to be here; something rarely seen in the workplace today. This team atmosphere and passion for the same art is the foundation of BalletMet and essential to its success.

That being said, the 2009-2010 BalletMet season begins on Friday, October 16th with the magnificent Swan Lake!

I hope to see you there!