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Class Act Tutu Blog

  • NYCB-Inspired Nail Polish: Coming Soon to a Salon Near You!

    The New NYCB-inspired shades from OPI. Photo credit: Glamour Magazine

    The

    This just in!

    OPI has just announced its new SoftShades colors for April 2012, inspired by the New York City Ballet!

    The gorgeous pastel sheers feature fun balletic monikers like: Barre My Soul, Don't Touch My Tutu (our personal favorite!), and My Pointe Exactly.

    Read all about it them here.

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's Don Quixote is a Winner!

    Allen Galli as Sancho Panza, and Tom Skerritt as Don Quixote, with Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Allen

    Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Alexei Ratmansky's Don Quixote has just become my new favorite ballet. (No joke! And it's much more entertaining than the book was back in high school. No offense, Mr. Cervantes.)

    From zesty fans and clicking castanets, to marvelous feats of strength and shining technique (not to mention sumptuous sets and yummy costumes!), this production has it all -and then some!

    Sunday's matinee featured principal dancers, Carla Körbes and Karel Cruz as Kitri and Basillio. And let me tell you, their spicy "cat and mouse" connection was irresistible! The two embodied their characters with all the bravado, sass and charm one would expect from the likes of this talented pair - especially when you consider their hot-blooded Latin roots! (Körbes hails from Brazil, while Cruz is originally from Cuba.)

    Cruz's gravity defying, single-handed, over head lifts (with Körbes playfully shaking her tambourine high in the air as if to say, "No sweat!" - or perhaps "No fear!") were spectacular.

    Actor of big and small screen fame, Tom Skerritt made for a marvelous Don Quixote! His performance as the delusional yet beloved character was spot-on. Skerritt drew you in and held you captive in Don Q's world, making you wonder if perhaps - just perhaps - he was somehow the sane one and everyone else was a bit loco.

    His hilarious sidekick, Sancho Panza was portrayed by local talent, Allen Galli. I don't know how the Powers that Be at PNB came up with this guy for Sancho, but they hit the bullseye with him, that's for sure! As a matter of fact, Galli's performance was so outstanding that he threatened to steal the entire show. His expressions as he tried to get his stubborn donkey to "giddyup", as well as when the crowd in the middle of Town Square tossed him high into the air, made the audience laugh...hard! But on a more serious note, his genuine concern and admiration for Don Quixote made their roles feel more like best (drinking) buddies versus "knight errant" and "squire". Love!!

    Allen Galli as Sancho Panza, with Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Allen

    And what kind of review would this be if I didn't mention (the outstanding), Jonathan Poretta?

    Poretta was cast this time as the supremely-full-of-himself, pretty little rich man Gamache, who has his heart set on marrying the lovely Kitri. It doesn't matter if it's a character role (where he's brandishing his little sword and fighting like a total girl) or a more serious part (like the Prodigal Son), Poretta delivers. It's as simple as that.

    Lesley Rausch was a zesty, spicy fan-flicking Mercedes, while Jerome Tisserand "gave good cape" as the dashing Espada. Kitri's BFF's, Piccilia and Juanita were successfully tackled by the unconquerable Lindsi Dec and Laura Gilbreath. Together, these two fabulous soloists captivated the entire audience with their precision, delicious lines and thousand-watt smiles.

    The second act of the show takes you deep into the wild recesses of Don's mind. After a fierce battle against windmills and creepy monsters (including sinister cactus and the Devil himself), Don is whisked into a glittering vision filled with sparkling dryads and their beloved Queen (Sarah Ricard Orza), adorable cherubs and of course, the lovely Cupid herself (Leta Biasucci).

    Both Ms. Biasucci and Mrs. Orza's performances here were nothing short of pure decadence! Their light and effortless technique was well-suited to the scene's dainty pointe work and lightening fast turns.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carla Körbes and Karel Cruz in Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

    Act three felt a bit like a filler, but a fun and dynamic filler nonetheless. Here is where our story wraps up - the "happily ever after" part, if you will. After pulling off the ultimate trick, lovers Kitri and Basillo are allowed to marry (hooray!) and the beloved Don and his faithful companion head off into the sunset in search of more (outlandish) adventures.

    The standing ovation the artists received was well-deserved! Bravo, bravo, bravo!

    There are only 6 performances left of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Don Quixote! Visit PNB.org for tickets.

  • Can Ballet Help Parkinson's Patients?

    english-national-balletMembers of the English National Ballet are teaming up with scientists to determine whether ballet can help Parkinson's patients. A class of approximately 40 students will work with the famed ballet company over a period of nine weeks, learning various elements of classical ballet, including Nutcracker. Watch the video here.

  • NYCB's Megan Fairchild Blossoms as an Artist

    Photo Credit: Ramsay de Give for The Wall Street Journal

    Photo

    Her story is one of rapid promotion—and the struggle to live up to it. She joined City Ballet in its corps de ballet in 2002, and was boosted to the rank of soloist by February 2004. Less than a year later, at age 20, she was a principal dancer.

    "It was so overwhelming. It was the worst time in my life," Ms. Fairchild, who is now 27, said recently. "It's not just a happy thing. It's a lot of responsibility." Read the rest of Megan's incredible story here.

  • En Pointe!

    Three ballerinas from Australian Ballet talk about metarsals, metho baths and the meditative nature of sewing in this short film about pointe shoes. Perfect for budding ballerinas wearing their first pair of pointe shoes this year! Check it out!

    EN POINTE! from The Apiary on Vimeo.

  • Angela Sterling: Ballet Photographer

    Leslie Rauch, Principal Pacific Northwest Ballet and Angela Sterling.  Lesilie is wearing Class Act's V Neck Bodice and Classical Tutu Skirt

    Leslie

    Check out this great video featuring dance photographer, Angela Sterling! Pay close attention to the clip because at approx. 3 mins, 50 seconds, you'll see Leslie Rausch, Principal Dancer, Pacific Northwest Ballet, wearing Class Act Tutu's V-Neck Tutu Bodice and Classical Tutu Skirt.

    And as a little side note, Angela provided the gorgeous photos you see here on Class Act Tutu as well as Vala Dancewear. {Pretty awesome, huh? ;) }

    Thank you, Angela for sharing your talents with the dance world!

  • Review: Growing Through Arts - The Nutcracker Ballet Story & Activity Books

    nutcracker-ballet-by-aleksaAh, The Nutcracker! It's often a child's first "real" taste of the world of ballet, inspiring many a young Sugar Plum, Clara and Nutcracker Prince!

    Now you can encourage your little one's love for this classic holiday tale with this sweet storybook from Growing Through Arts.

    The Nutcracker Ballet by Aleksandra features delightful illustrations and charming prose that are sure to please budding ballerinas and baby danseurs of all ages. This beautiful hardcover book features a generous 11x11 size (perfect for those chubby little hands!), character building questions carefully woven throughout the story to fuel further discussion, and a handy glossary which explains new terms in a clear and simple way.

    The Nutcracker Ballet Practice & Play Book is a robust 32-page activity book filled with fun mazes, printing practice, pattern recognition exercises, drawing lessons, hidden pictures and - one of the best features by far - the Nutcracker Paper Doll!

    Class Act Tutu's Testing Lab featuring Miss Avianah

    Class

    The book features standard dimensions of 8.5 x 11", colorful illustrations and a larger font making it ideal for preschoolers through 2nd grade. While the book contains plenty of stand-alone learning activities, it's designed to complement The Nutcracker Ballet storybook.

    Both the story book and activity book are written by Russian Pointe's own Aleksandra Efimova, illustrated by her sister, Elizaveta Efimova, and published under Aleksandra's latest venture, Growing Through Arts. Founded in 2010 and "inspired by the classical, world-acclaimed Russian educational system, Growing Through Arts products are infused with the philosophy that participating in the arts can have a dynamic impact on children’s careers, educations, and social lives. Our system combines a uniquely powerful set of learning elements to boost your child’s mental and emotional growth."

    Their products build on and develop:

    • Creativity and imagination
    • Confidence, leadership and character strength
    • Memory, abstract thinking, discipline, focus, and a wide range of pre-academic skills
    • Arts vocabulary and much more!

    The Nutcracker Ballet by Aleksandra & The Nutcracker Ballet Practice & Play Book offers children an insightful peek behind the curtain and brings to life Clara's world and that of her beloved Prince like never before. I was very impressed by both the quality of these items, as well as their unique ability to encourage a young child's love for dance in such a positive and insightful way. These books would make a great Christmas, birthday or "just because" gift for tiny dancers.

  • Our Deepest Sympathies to all of Ballet West...

    ballet-westMark Goldweber, ballet master for Ballet West and director of Ballet West II, died December 9th of cancer. He was 53 years old.

    Goldweber always remained a dancer, even after he retired from the stage and began teaching, said Ballet West demi-soloist Beau Pearson. “He really gave himself to the art form more than anyone I’ve ever known.”

    And he was a consummate teacher, whose corrections in class were more than just repetitive reminders. “They were something that would open up a whole new idea and change everything you were doing,” Pearson said.

    Read the remainder of the story here.

  • Ring in the Holiday Season with Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker

    Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancer Andrew Bartee as the Nutcracker in the fight scene from PNB's Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker. Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

    What puts me in the "holiday spirit"? Well, stuffing myself with turkey doesn't do it. Neither does fighting my way through the crowds on Black Friday. No, what really puts me in the holiday mood is a trip to Seattle Center's McCaw Hall to watch Pacific Northwest Ballet perform its lively Stowell/Sendak production of 'Nutcracker'.

    No matter how many times I've seen it, this perennial favorite never ceases to thrill, delight and amaze me. With sets designed by Maurice Sendak and elaborate props featuring a "growing" Christmas tree, a gigantic Mouse King with sinister tail encircling the stage, to a golden boat sailing along the ocean blue, it's easy to see why Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker is ranked as one of the most beloved productions among its "nutty" peers.

    Maria Chapman and Seth Orza shined in the starring roles of Clara and her handsome Nutcracker Prince. Their final pas de deux was the fuel of dreams - effortless lifts, dazzling smiles and spot-on technique. Together they brought this storybook fantasy adventure to life and carried it all the way through. I even detected a few weeping patrons at the end of Act 2, following Chapman's tearful exit. (That's when you know you've struck that golden chord of connection with your audience! Bravo!)

    Lesley Rauch's interpretation of the Peacock was everything one could hope for - sensuous and beguiling, with a whisper of sadness in her colorful wings. Is she a prisoner? Does she want to escape? Or is she secretly content with her golden confines? If you can make me feel all that, then as far as I'm concerned, you've embodied the role of Peacock!

    Snow on stage!  Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers in the Kent Stowell/Maurice Sendak Nutcracker. Photo © Angela Sterling

    Snow

    Gorgeous port de bras and swirling tutus made many a young girl gasp during the Waltz of the Flowers with Carrie Imler as "Flora". What I love most about Imler is her innate sense of timing and control. She can go from lightening "quick-quick" turns into a deliberately slow "melt" on.a.dime! She's amazing, folks. Truly amazing.

    Whirling dervishes Jerome Tisserand, Kyle Davis and Ezra Thomson made the little boys in the audience sit up and pay attention. Their electrifying leaps, turns and jumps were perfectly executed and received a boisterous round of applause.

    And speaking of children, it just wouldn't be right NOT to mention the talent and dedication of the Pacific Northwest Ballet school students. Their roles ranged from adorable to breathtaking - from the sweet young Clara and her friendly party guests (with bouncy ringlets and big smiles for the girls and plenty of spirited hijinks from the boys), to the battling soldiers engaged in a fierce war with the creepy giant Mouse King, from the Chinese Tiger's exotic attendants to the charming Toy Theatre dancers. I think it's great to see the school students perform; they not only bring a fresh layer of excitement to the production, but they also inspire the youngest audience members in a way that polished adults cannot.

    Awesome sets, gorgeous costumes, spirited dancing, whirling snowflakes and that famous musical score - I can't think of a better way to ring in the holiday season!

    Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker runs through December 27th. Great seats are still available! Visit PNB.org for more information.

  • 'A Very Young Dancer' - All Grown Up

    youngdancerbook"In the fall of 1976 “A Very Young Dancer” leaped into the imaginations of a generation of little girls. This children’s book by the photographer Jill Krementz chronicled the day-to-day life of a 10-year-old student from the School of American Ballet, following her to class and through her starring role as Marie in New York City Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” for which she was was handpicked by George Balanchine himself.

    Fans of the book might have assumed that Stephanie went on to an adult ballet career as well. But like countless other young dancers in professional children’s schools, Stephanie saw her career end in adolescence, a time of rebellion and discovery. Most move on to other interests. But for Stephanie leaving the school was filled with shame and secrecy. Finding her new place in the world — after the attention that came with the book — was a long and painful journey littered with troubled relationships and financial struggles, with moments of deep darkness and depression..."

    I don't know about you, but I distinctly remember borrowing this book every week from my school's library for years!) Read Stephanie's brilliant interview and learn more about her life after ballet, here.

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