Category Archives: Performances

Reviews and articles around Ballet Austin’s yearly performances

Preview: Red Roses, April 9 & 10

As a precursor to this weekend’s Ballet Austin II performance of Red Roses, I was asked to give insight on the production and preparation process. As a dancer in this production, I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to dance in a ballet that is so highly praised by audiences and to be in a piece that has had such an impact to the history of Ballet Austin.

Red Roses is one of Ballet Austin’s most beloved and highly acclaimed pieces of choreography in their repertoire. Being the very first ballet set on the company by Artistic Director Stephen Mills, this ballet also has a strong and prevailing history with the company.

Red Roses features the music of the internationally renowned French star, Edith Piaf. Her timeless music is prized for its transcendent qualities and ability to inspire heart-wrenching, powerful emotions despite being written in her native French. Both Mills’ choreography and Piaf’s voice work in tandem to create a strong relationship between the dancers. Through the dancing and the music, the audience is surrounded by an endearing love that is alive and everlasting.

The ballet also touches other emotions and stages of relationships, however, by pairing blissful couples with the quarreling. Stephen Mills explained to us that by doing this, the ballet is exploring the yin and yang quality to love.

I am very excited to be dancing as the fighting couple alongside my good friend, Sarah Hicks. Though our offstage relationship is far from violent, it has been especially enjoyable flipping, twisting, kicking and pushing each other in rehearsals for the past few weeks! It is also incredibly helpful that our rehearsal director, Allisyn Paino, previously danced in this role. With her experience in this part, she’s given numerous suggestions to help make the partnering happen more smoothly and to refine the theatricality of the fight scene. She has also been especially focused on making sure the violent looking choreography is actually safe for Sarah and myself.

Outside of this particular scene, I find myself also wrapped up in the powerful music and choreography that flows throughout Red Roses. The charisma of each individual couple charms audiences as many facets of love and romance are presented to them. Lovers and dreamers of all ages will be able to relate to the characters in this ballet. Whether you are deeply in love, searching for true love or even at odds with a significant other, I know that Red Roses will leave an excellent, everlasting impression.

Red Roses
The AustinVentures StudioTheater
8 PM | April 9
3 PM | April 10

For more information and tickets to the show, please visit the Ballet Austin website.


— Kody Jauron

Building Birds, Part 3

When last we left off, I was waiting for the tutu skirts. They’re here!

They are currently all hanging in the gondola (a big wardrobe box we use for storing and transporting costumes) with their bodices.

They do not arrive fully completed.  We will finish and shape them as needed.

My next step is to have fittings with each dancer and mark where her hooks and bars will be placed on the skirt basque (the upper part of the tutu skirt with no tulle) as well as the placement of the buttons which will attach to the tutu bodice.  The example below is the tutu that will be worn by dancer Rebecca Johnson.

Next week, I will start patterning the tail pieces, which will be pretty complicated, but I am excited for the challenge!


Ballet Austin II: Red Roses


On April 9th and 10th, Ballet Austin II is proud to present its performance of Red Roses at Austin Ventures Studio Theater, choreographed by artistic director Stephen Mills.  Recently nominated for an Austin Critic’s Table Award for Best Ensemble, the program also includes premieres by Jennifer Hart, winner of Ballet Nouveau Colorado’s choreographic competition and Nick Kepley, winner of Canton Ballet’s choreographic competition.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here!  April 9th performance is at 8pm; April 10th performance is at 3pm.

Building Birds, Part 2

Last week, I showed you the construction of the bodice front for this Magic Flute bird designed by Susan Branch.
Now, we decorate!

The bodice front is created with layers of crushed stretch velvet, fun fur yarn and feathers.

All layers are attached using the sewing machine.

The finished bodice front will eventually be attached to a back and tail piece and then to the tutu itself.

All six bird bodices are ready to continue on to the next step!

The tutu skirts will be arriving in the shop soon and we will begin to fit those on the dancers and pattern out the tails.  Tune in next week!

Building Birds, Part 1

Currently, my major project in the costume shop is to build the six birds for The Magic Flute.  These photo blogs I am keeping will follow my construction of the bird below, which will be worn by dancer Michelle Thompson.

I will use the rendering by designer Susan Branch to build the bird. The base is a teardrop shaped tutu and I am making the feathered front and tail to go on it.

After a fitting, the inside structure of the tutu bodice is finished out. The white elastics will eventually connect to the skirt.

The bodice is put on a dress form and covered in clear plastic for drafting a pattern.

The pattern for the feathered front piece is finished. The solid, pink line is the finish line for the piece.

The bodice front piece is cut out of three layers of fabric and will be covered in feathers.

Curious to see how the bodice turns out?  I’ll have more for you next week!

Words and photos by Emily Cavasar, Wardrobe Assistant and Shoe Manager.



Announcing our 2011/12 Season!

To purchase season tickets or for more information, click here.

The Mozart Project
Sep 30-Oct 2, 2011
The Long Center
Choreography by Stephen Mills
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The 49th Annual Production of
The Nutcracker
Dec 3-23, 2011
The Long Center
Choreography by Stephen Mills
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The 4th Biennial
New American Talent/Dance
Feb 17-19, 2012
The Long Center

Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project
Mar 23-25, 2012
The Long Center
Choreography by Stephen Mills
Music by Steve Reich, Evelyn Glennie, Michael Gordon, Arvo Part, Philip Glass

Romeo and Juliet
May 11-13, 2011
The Long Center
Choreography by Stephen Mills
Music by Sergei Prokofiev


Studio Theater Project: Nicolo Fonte’s ‘Lasting Imprint’

Video courtesy of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Check out this little sneak peek video of Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint from when he created it on Cedar Lake Contemporary ballet. In the video, Nicolo also discusses some of the thinking behind the work. We will perform this work as part of the upcoming Studio Theater Project!

For Tickets and more information about the Studio Theater Project, click here.

Setting the Ballet: La Sylphide

Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin directing rehearsal for La Sylphide

Choreographed 1836 by August Bournonville, La Sylphide has been a staple of the repertoire of the Royal Danish Ballet for 170 years, and is generally considered to be the most important ballet created during the Romantic period. Though I have been looking forward to staging and coaching this ballet since Stephen announced this season’s programming last winter, I also found myself with some trepidation as he and I prepared to teach the dancers in early January.

When I work in the rehearsal studio with choreographers as they are creating new work, one of my primary responsibilities is to listen and observe, taking both written and mental note of the process and the product. Particularly crucial is that I have a clear understanding of the choreographer’s intentions so that I can help the dancers fully realize the choreographer’s expectations. Trying to apply that same process and sense of accountability to choreography that is nearly two centuries old is intriguing but also very daunting, and requires a lot of advance preparation and research.

Dancers rehearsing the sylph scene

Romantic ballets, in general, have unique aspects of shape and movement, but Bournonville’s work has a very specific aesthetic and theatricality. In setting La Sylphide, and working to fully capture the essence of this ballet, Stephen and I relied on our past experiences as dancers in Bournonville’s work, as well as notes and video recordings. We also had extensive conversations between ourselves and with the dancers about how to best interpret the narrative and tell this wonderful story.

Michelle Martin and dancers rehearsing the fortune-teller scene

Beyond my usual directorial responsibilities, La Sylphide has also given me the rare opportunity to participate onstage in the role of Madge, the Witch. As a dancer I was usually cast in the ingénue roles, so I’m enjoying the chance to portray a darker character. Bournonville’s emphasis on the development of the characters and their interaction makes this role particularly interesting for me and more complex than I’d originally anticipated.

While the responsibility inherent in staging a ballet like La Sylphide definitely offers some challenges, for both the dancers and our artistic team, the simple elegance of the storytelling and brilliant craftsmanship of the choreography have also made it incredibly fulfilling. All of us are looking forward to transitioning from studio rehearsals into the theater this week, anticipating the added energy and theatrical “edge” as we work with the Austin Symphony and the breathtaking scenery and costumes from the Boston Ballet. This marks the first time that Ballet Austin has presented La Sylphide and I’m certain it won’t be the last…

For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.

La Sylphide – Video Blog: A Romantic Masterpiece

In our last installment of the La Sylphide video blog series before the performances this weekend, Artistic Director Stephen Mills and Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin talked to us about August Bournonville’s penchant for lavish storytelling in his ballets. And La Sylphide is one of his shining examples, one of the greatest and oldest surviving Romantic classical ballets. See you at the theater this weekend!

For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.