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