Go behind the scenes with three different choreographers for this Valentine’s weekend production of The Rite of Spring.
With our Golden Anniversary production of The Nutcracker opening in a mere few weeks, I thought you might like a peek inside a Sugar Plum Fairy’s dance bag.
Twelve-year Company Member Aara Krumpe really likes “the familiar.” Whether it’s wearing warm-ups she’s owned for years (pictured above), standing at “her” spot at the barre, or eating oatmeal for lunch every day, tradition is the name of her game.
How very fitting for a Sugar Plum Fairy…
Since Aara was 15, she’s warmed up every day at the barre in a pair of old, soft pointe shoes. As her rehearsal and performance pointe shoes “die”, she cuts off the laces and saves them for barre work. In her words, ‘they just feel better than wearing ballet slippers!’
Something else Aara can’t live without is her yoga block, which she uses to do splits, stretches and to lay flat. In another note on tradition, Frank Shott – with whom Aara will dance for the 7th year and her barre mate since 2001 – constantly steals the block.
Aara brings her ballet bag, originally a diaper bag given to her by Trainees, to and from work each day and then keeps a smaller separate bag in the studio for rehearsal. Her must-have dance bag essentials? A surprisingly small number of things:
- Cheap White Rain hairspray (she is the “wispy tamer”)
- A tupperware of oatmeal for lunch each day – “I realized I’m not a protein person. I need carbs. Oatmeal gives me enough energy and stays with me all day.”
- Emergen-C, just in case
- At least one unsewn pair of shoes and her sewing bag
- Thera-band for stretching and strengthening
With The Nutcracker rapidly approaching, I asked how long a pair of pointe shoes – which take her 30 or 40 minutes to prepare – will last. Her answer? “Two run-throughs.”
Last but not least, I asked Aara if she has any secret tricks or tips. She had two suggestions for me:
- Elasticized pointe shoe ribbons (available at Discount Dance Supply), which are more comfortable over her Achilles tendon
- Perry’s Pork Chop Fridays. See you there?
You can see Aara on stage this holiday season dancing as Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. For tickets, click here.
From the children who perform as Angels to the professionals who dance the principal role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, The Nutcracker is as much a part of ballet as tendus and pliés.
The past few weeks, our Company Dancers have alternated between rehearsing the siren-filled Light and joyous Nutcracker. If you, friends or family are in Miami, you will not want to miss this:
“Art can only start a conversation; people solve problems. But hopefully art can be a catalyst to get people thinking about things in a way they don’t ordinarily.” – Stephen Mills in this Associated Press article.
Below, watch our two :30 video promos, “From the Darkness” and “Into the Light”:
For tickets and information, please visit the Arsht Center‘s website.
We are proud to announce our new, 3-part video series chronicling our Summer Intensive program. Watch below:
Part 1 – “Resident Life:”
Part 2 – “The Program”
Part 3 – “Starting a Career”
We are excited to announce main casting for Ballet Austin’s Golden Anniversary Production of The Nutcracker. More parts to be announced soon.
Frank Shott, Paul Michael Bloodgood
Aara Krumpe, Ashley Lynn Gilfix
Anne Marie Melendez, Chelsea Marie Renner
Beth Terwilleger, Oren Porterfield
Orlando Julius Canova, Ian J. Bethany
Kody Jauron, Andrew Mankin
James Fuller, Christopher Swaim
Christopher Swaim, James Fuller, Preston Andrew Patterson
Rebecca Johnson, Anne Marie Melendez, Jaime Lynn Witts
Sugar Plum Fairy
Ashley Lynn Gilfix, Aara Krumpe
Paul Michael Bloodgood, Frank Shott
Orlando Julius Canova, James Fuller
Elise Pekarek, Brittany Strickland
Edward Carr, Christopher Swaim
Anne Marie Melendez, Rebecca Johnson
Ian J. Bethany, Michael Burfield
Russian Male lead
Preston Andrew Patterson, Ian J. Bethany
Michael Burfield, Jordan Moser
Beth Terwilliger, Oren Porterfield
Jaime Lynn Witts, Michelle Thompson, Chelsea Marie Renner
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker runs Dec 8-23 at Long Center. Come celebrate the holidays with us. Tickets.
This year is no exception, with the total clocking in at 174. See if you can spot our…
2 Claras, 2 Fritzs, 11 party girls and 6 party boys:
8 rats and 24 mice:
40 bon bons and 20 Chinese
… and 61 angels!
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker is celebrating its Golden Anniversary this year. Tickets available now.
A few weeks ago, we premiered this video at Fete 2012 – our annual gala and biggest fundraiser of the year. Watch below to learn a little bit more about what The Nutcracker means to the Central Texas community.
For more information on how to make a difference with Ballet Austin, visit www.balletaustin.org/mygiftatwork.
Company Dancer Michelle Thompson reflects on the musicality and hilarity of The Taming of the Shrew. Let us know if you can hear her laughing from the audience.
Tonight we are going to the Long Center to prepare for Stephen Mills’ The Taming of the Shrew, and I am looking forward to putting this production on the stage again. I was in the original cast 10 years ago, toured the production to Washington D.C., performed it again 7 years ago, and now will be performing it this coming weekend – making this my fourth opportunity. There are so many things that make this production special. The story, the humor, the sets, the music, and the joyful movement are all lovely ingredients for an extremely entertaining evening.
The choreography is filled with quick jumps, swirly spins, humorous gestures, and intricate patterns. Mills’ choreography relates directly to the music, which swoops and swirls around you encouraging you to jump, spin, bend, and run with energy. I am one of the Commedia dancers, and there are very few times of stillness throughout the ballet. The Commedia dancers form intricate patterns and lovely movements, but they also shift the scenes and become part of the narrative that helps drive the story forward. It is important when dancing in a corps de ballet and when moving sets that your timing be precise. Musicality and awareness are essential as you move through the ballet, but all this must be done with a mask on that includes a large beak. So not only do your toes have to be in line, but so does your beak. Ha!
I am also excited to perform as one of the Street Women who starts off as a thief and then ends up happily ever after with one of the suitors. Playing alongside Beth Terwilleger, we get to take off our beaks and put on outrageous wigs creating a rush of excitement for Petruchio. Our Petruchio, Paul Michael Bloodgood, falls for our flirtatious moves and silly trickery and loses all his money. Our journey doesn’t end there, though. We come out later in the third act without the wig and dance happily at the Garden Wedding. The third act is extremely joyful and full of celebratory dances and my suitor, Jordan Moser, partners me in many twirls and jumps as we happily dance the evening away.
Throughout this ballet the steps and patterns must be precise, but the acting and comedic timing are vital. Our bodies and faces must communicate the frustration, the joy, the disgust, the flirtation, and the joke so that the audience can fully appreciate the story unfolding. It is important to be aware of your fellow Commedia dancers, your partner, the music, and the audience to communicate the story and to capture the greatest laugh. I always find myself cackling loudly during Petruchio’s house. I hope you will join my cackle this weekend at the Long Center.
The Taming of the Shrew opens FRIDAY, for one weekend only. Tickets available here.