Tuesday, April 26, 2011

BalletMet Stirs Up a Recipe for Sin

Remember the last time you were craving a sinfully delicious mixture of world class dance and rock & roll, but didn’t quite have all the ingredients to put it together?

Fret not, kind reader. BalletMet is here to indulge your cravings!

With time and patience, we’ve managed to come up with a recipe that we’re finally ready to share. It looks a little something like this:

7 Deadly Sins

Makes 6 Performances

One Batch of BalletMet

Combine the choreographers and the dancers.

With six renowned choreographers styling dance moves for the show, the performance is sure to be satisfying. Each piece shows a modern adaptation of the age old vices, with common design, aesthetics and musical styles tying them together.

Choreographers include:

Ma Cong, Pride

James Kudelka, Sloth & Gluttony

Darrell Grand Moultrie, Wrath

Gina Patterson, Lust

Amy Seiwert, Envy

Jimmy Orrante, Greed

Emily Ramirez, a company dancer who is in her 7th season with BalletMet, will dance in wrath, pride and gluttony. For her, the process of learning the choreography can be traced back to August. With the choreography having a little more edge than it normally does, Emily is excited to see how the audience receives it.

She explained that with other, more classical performances, there was a small separation between her and the character she portrayed. Emily explains that with portions of wrath, the dancers are dancing as themselves, with stripped down emotions.

One Spoonful of Shadowbox Live

Mix the musicians and the singers.

In the first collaboration between the companies, Shadowbox Live lends their instruments, as well as their voices, to bring the sins to life. With new compositions and arrangements by Shadowbox to accompany them, the sins will take center stage and delve into the rousing and emotional questions that humanity has contemplated since ancient times.

Shadowbox members include:

Stev Guyer, producer & vocalist

Stacie Boord, vocalist

Julie Klein, vocalist

Matthew Hahn, lead guitar

Gabriel Guyer, bass guitar

Jennifer Hahn, keyboards

Brandon Smith, drums

Brain Rau, sound engineer

Seven Pieces of Sin

Stir in seven deadly sins.

You’ve heard them all before: envy, greed, gluttony, lust, pride, sloth and wrath. You’ve likely experienced them all before, but have you ever really seen them? The sins will take center stage, styled with a song, in a way you’ve that’s sure to leave you wanting more.

The transition from sin to sin will take you on a ride where you explore everything from the dancers’ deepest “quiet” rage in wrath to the destructive nature of jealousy. You’ll even experience pride in a celebratory light, rather than a sinful one.

One Drop of Costume Design

Add awesome outerwear.

Rebecca Turk, resident costume director, has been with BalletMet for nearly five years. Before BalletMet, Rebecca was the costumer coordinator at Western Oregon University and the costume manager at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival.

Rebecca looked to the contemporary rock n’ roll style for inspiration. Featuring pieces with a little bit more edge, she focused on the key elements of rock n’ roll: ruching, lace and even animal print. The pieces flow together with a black, white, red and gray color palette.

With the costumes being more organic than normal, Rebecca managed to maintain a cohesive design among the seven sins and their dancers.

A Mixture of MetPremiere + Barrio Tapas

Pour in a combo of MetPremiere and Barrio Tapas.

The final ingredient we have is a mixture of partnerships. MetPremiere has teamed up with Barrio Tapas to take you to dinner before the show on May 5th.

We have drinks and tapas for those who purchase a special ticket package! The $50 package includes:

- One ticket to BalletMet's 7 Deadly Sins show

- Two Drink Tickets for a 7 Deadly Sins specialty cocktail

- Appetizers at Barrio Tapas

For more info, check out the Facebook Event!

Bake at 450º. Let cool – then serve!

And voila! There you have it – our recipe for 7 Deadly Sins. If you can’t wait to feast your eyes on the end results, check out our website for show times and ticket info!

Teaser Trailer:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raising the Barre: The Youth America Grand Prix

Every year, more than 5,000 dancers from across the globe audition to take part in the world’s largest ballet scholarship competition.

The Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is an international student ballet and contemporary dance competition that awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. To date, the YAGP has awarded $2 million, with more than 250,000 dancers participating in workshops, competitions and audition classes. There are more than 200 YAGP alumni dancing with 50 companies around the world. These companies include:

  • American Ballet Theatre
  • New York City Ballet
  • Paris Opera Ballet
  • San Francisco Ballet
  • and many, many more!

In February, the BalletMet Dance Academy sent seven dancers to the semi-final rounds of competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. From there, Colby Treat, Stephanie Hearne and Bridget Kuhns advanced to the Final Round, which took place March 17-22, in New York City. Colby was offered a trainee position at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Bridget was awarded a full-year scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre. Stephanie, unfortunately, couldn’t compete in the scholarship portion of the competition, due to an injury.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Susan Dromisky, BalletMet senior faculty member, a couple weeks ago to gain a better perspective of the YAGP. Susan accompanied the girls to New York and was able to help me understand a little more about the competition itself and dance as an art form. It was nice to gain an insider’s perspective into this world renowned competition.

I mentioned to Susan that while I was researching the YAGP to write a press release, I came across a dance review in The New York Times written by Roslyn Sulcas.

In the article, Sulcas mentioned how Brian D’arcy James, the host of the closing night Gala, stated that the YAGP had “revolutionized the world of dance.” Sulcas felt that statement might be an exaggeration and said that what the competition (the YAGP) had done was emphasize and spread the idea that ballet is an American Idol kind of spectator sport. Here’s what Susan had to say:

I absolutely concur with that statement. I call myself a ballet snob and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, I really don’t. I just … I want it to be art. I don’t want it to be only about the circus act. I felt that, when watching the performances from the audience, they were many students that I loved and when these students performed, the audience was quiet. There was no response. Then when the flashy, what I would consider more American Idol-ish performances happened, the audience would go ballistic. In my mind, and unfortunately, this should be a somewhat educated audience. What they wanted was the flash and the bling. That’s pretty much it.”

Susan explained to me that the bling, for her, could be found in the finesse, the artistry, the detail and the control of the performances.

More than once, in talking to Susan, as well as the girls who advanced, I was reminded that dance is an absolutely subjective art form. When she told me that she felt the most important part of the entire competition was the process, I saw where she was coming from and couldn’t agree more.

As a dancer, maybe you advanced to the final rounds of a competition with an unusually high score from the current set of judges. What if the judges had been different? What if that day, one judge had called in sick? Judges may have the power to make or break a dancer in a competition, but they can’t take away the hours spent rehearsing and working towards growing as a dancer.

With all variables set aside, from the heart of a performance and beyond simple movements, you see a dancer’s drive and passion.

So, because of the subjectivity and variables, should dance as an art form be judged? It’s hard to say. The producers of Dancing with the Stars and America’s Next Best Dance Crew would probably say yes.

But what do you think?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Interns Come and Interns Go

An introductory post seems to be in order here. My name is Courtnie Elston and I’m a graduating senior at the Ohio State University, studying strategic communication and professional writing.

How ironic that I’m interning with BalletMet because, in all honesty, I can’t dance to save my life. If you were to Google world’s worst dancer, there is a strong possibility that my picture would be the first result yielded. No bother. Even though I have two left feet, I am reporting for duty!

Not as a dancer though. I’m here as an intern (*sigh of relief*). Actually, a professional writing intern, if you’re looking for specifics. I chose to work with BalletMet through the Professional Writing Minor Program at Ohio State. Out of all the internships available, BalletMet seemed most appealing.

If I may be a little transparent here, BalletMet is actually a big step outside of the comfort zone for me. Past internships and work situations have always been familiar, in that I’ve always felt comfortable and safe where I’ve been. BalletMet is a somewhat unfamiliar territory.

I’ve received little insight into the world of dance, which isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate it or find it fascinating. I was raised in a very small town by a very sports-oriented family. Moving to Columbus in 2007 afforded me the first opportunity to experience a more artistic culture. Yes, I’ve seen elementary and middle school productions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, but never anything as beautiful and elaborate as a major company performance.

I am thrilled and unbelievably appreciative of the opportunity to work with BalletMet. In my ten weeks here, I hope to grow as a writer. Beyond that, I also hope to get a better feel for the world of dance. What better place to do that than BalletMet!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thank you BalletMet!

Hello All!

As BalletMet’s marketing and communications intern for the past 3 months, I would like to take the time to thank everyone for such an awesome experience. I am truly grateful that I found such a great opportunity with BalletMet and am sad that this is my last week here. I will definitely miss it!

A little about me:

I’m Chelsea, a third year strategic communication major and dance and professional writing minor at the Ohio State University. I grew up in Dayton, OH and have been dancing my entire life. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I want to always keep dancing in my life and that is how I landed here.

BalletMet was a great place for me to see a new perspective of all the behind-the-scenes work it takes to run a company and to put on a show. My knowledge of dance has grown immensely, and I have only been here since January. I loved taking a tour on my first day, seeing the costume shop, the studios, and all of the history here at BalletMet.

I started ballet and tap classes when I was five. Every Saturday morning my mom would dress me up in my leotard and pink tights and wrap my waist long hair into the perfect ballet bun, which usually looked a little like a birds nest by the end of the class. My first recital was something I’ll never forget (probably because there is video evidence that always seems to make its way out at family gatherings). For this tap number, we were all dolled up in a blue velvet tutu and bright white tap shoes and forced to sing our steps as we did them. Some of the girls cried, picked their noses or waved to their mothers in the audience. I was the loud obnoxious one in the middle (since I was much too tall for my own good at age 5) and could be heard over everyone else. I have never left the stage since.

Dance has always been my passion. It started at Margaret Leiber School of Dance, where my teachers planted the seed of dance in my life and it has been growing ever since. I cannot thank them enough. Now that I am in college, I rarely get a chance to perform, so I love coming to work at BalletMet. I get to see dancers every day and attend the amazing performances, where I can live vicariously through the dancers on stage. I’ve begun taking other classes too. Modern, jazz and hip hop too. I think salsa is next on my list!

Along with dance, I dabbled in theatre, choir, and art. But, I always managed to squeeze dance into every role I was given. Degas is by far my favorite artist. I joined show choir in high school so that I could dance every day at school. And, I always tried out for the musicals, since what is better than acting, singing and dancing all at the same time. Dance posters cover my room and my old pointe shoes, which I haven’t touched for years, still sit in my closet, just in case I ever get the urge to lace them up for old time’s sake. But when I do, I realize why I put them back in the closet in the first place : ) I have to give these pros credit, there is a lot of pain that goes into dancing.

Now that I am leaving BalletMet, I am not quite sure where my next step will be. But I know that I am leaving having learned so much and my passion for dance has grown even more. I cannot wait to take my skills that I have learned here into my next internship and into my career once I graduate (fingers crossed). But since I’ll still be in town, you better believe I’ll be buying those show tickets and taking a class or two here at BalletMet!

Thanks again to everyone who made this experience so great!