Mariinsky Ballet Brings Fokine and Russian Soul Stateside
       
Xander Parish in  Chopiniana.
 Photo by Natasha Razina
 
Russia's renowned Mariinsky Ballet presents a Fokine program  this October 12 - 15 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The company performs four Fokine classics Chopiniana, Le Spectre de la Rose, The Swan,  and  Schéhérazade . While all the pieces hail from the early 20th century, they remain compelling and fresh while preserving important links to ballet's history.  The World Dances  spoke with Acting Ballet Director Yury Fateev and Principal Dancer Xander Parish about this program, the challenges and rewards of Fokine, and more.
 
What do you find most interesting and rewarding about Fokine's work?
 
Yuri Fateev (YF) Fokine was the one who invented and produced the idea of "acting dance." That's the base of his revolutionary innovation in classical ballet. So many, including Balanchine, have been inspired by Fokine's notion of developing in different directions.
 
Xander Parish (XP) For me it is the breadth and the range of his work and being able to experience so many different things in his various ballets. Just take the two pieces I will be performing for example.  Chopiniana is a serene, meditative piece in which my character is a poet dancing through his thoughts using the most classical technique. Schéhérazade couldn't be more different! Set in a harem, it is very passionate and full of exotically charged choreography that couples perfectly with the lush music.
 
What do you find most challenging about Fokine's work?
 
YF In Fokine's productions you have very difficult dancing techniques, which were very unusual in the beginning of the 20th century. It's based on imaging, sculpturing, poetry, and musicality.
 
XP Despite the range of themes he uses, he still has a common
thread running through his work, which is his signature style. It's
always important to maintain this while still showing the very different
characters and emotions in the different pieces.

Mr. Parish, do you think American audiences will receive this performance differently than Russian audiences, and if so, how?

I can only speculate that these Fokine ballets, born out of the Russian soul, have their spiritual home in Russia, even in the Mariinsky. They are already embedded in the conscience of the Russian audience, who are more used to seeing them. I imagine it will be the first time seeing these ballets performed together for many audience members during our shows in California. It may be quite a revelation for some of them. I hope they will receive it with interest and enjoyment!

Read more about these artists' perspectives on Fokine and this program.

By Tamara Johnson



The New Ballet School: 
Reborn and Resurgent
     
The New Ballet School
 
When Silicon Valley Ballet declared bankruptcy in 2016, the company's school director, Dalia Rawson, was determined to deliver the training programs that families had paid for. "Over $250,000 had been paid by local and national students. All of that money was lost," she says. "We just could not let that happen to these families." Teachers, pianists, and staff banded together and volunteered their time to run programming and re-create the institution as The New Ballet School. Currently serving some 300 students, The New Ballet School delivers the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and is one of only five schools worldwide to have earned the designation of an ABT-Certified School. The New Ballet School is also the only program in the country to boast of having former ABT Principal José Manuel Carreño on the teaching roster for its summer intensive. The José Manuel Carreño Male Dancer Scholarships offer male students support to benefit from this rare opportunity. The World Dances spoke with Dalia Rawson, now Executive Director of The New Ballet School, about her inspiring fight to see the school reborn, The New Ballet School's mission, the summer program, and more.
 
Why was your team so passionately motivated to keep the school's programming running, to the point of working for free?
 
We're really lucky! We have a wonderful team in San Jose who believes in our students and what we're doing and were willing to take that risk with me. The principal of our school, Mads Eriksen, is a former dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet. He believes in our work, in the ABT National Training Curriculum, and in our students. He sees how good they're getting and how much they've advanced since we implemented the ABT National Training Curriculum. He didn't want to see those students lose out or see that work go to waste. He and Le Mai Linh, our master teacher and former dancer with Ballet San Jose, saw the goal and believed in what we could create from the start. It was inspiring every single day to walk in and have so many people say, "We can make this happen!" And we did! It's wonderful.
 
How do you feel having spearheaded such a heroic--and successful--effort?
 
It's hard because some of it is wrapped up with the end of this company I loved so much. I joined Silicon Valley Ballet as a dancer in 1991 and spent my entire performing career with that company. I danced principal roles my last few years there and retired as a dancer in 2005. After that I taught in the school and became the school director, and I was the director when the company went bankrupt.  But looking beyond that, I am so relieved to wake up now and not have it feel like a life and death struggle every day. Just getting to do the work to move forward is really nice. And it's gratifying in the same the way this work is always gratifying: you get to see these students reaching their potential.  That's where the joy really is. The fact that that's happening and I get to be a part of it is deeply satisfying and fulfilling.
 
Besides the ABT National Training Curriculum, what distinguishes The New Ballet School?
 
We have a very inclusive vision. We believe that ballet is for everyone and that the highest level of ballet training should be available to everyone and is good for everyone. We don't discriminate based on body composition; we base our selection criteria on strength and artistry. We do outreach classes to introduce people to ballet and scholarships (over $100,000 a year) to make sure they can continue training.  We also believe that you will benefit from, and should have access to, the highest level of ballet training even if your career goals lie elsewhere.
 
What does it mean to have José Manuel Carreño teaching in the summer intensive?
 
José Manuel Carreño is now the Artistic Director of Ballet de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. The only place he's teaching in the United States this academic year is at The New Ballet School Summer Intensive. He's incredible working with the students. He's so motivated and inspiring in the studio. He partners the girls and does everything. It's a great through-line as well. At the end of the program last summer, he hired one of the studio dancers into a full contract position, not an apprenticeship, with Ballet de Monterrey. To encourage male dancers, we're offering José Manuel Carreño Male Dancer Scholarships, which can include partial or full scholarships and housing. The in-person auditions are all in California, but you can submit video auditions, which we try to make as simple a process as possible.
 
Read more about The New Ballet School, its Studio Company, its choreography workshops, and Rawson's goals for the school's future.
 
By Tamara Johnson

 
 
 

TheWorldDances E-Newsletter Team

 

Publisher:  Karla Johnson

Editor:        Tamara Johnson

Producer:   Ester Rodriguez 

 
October 9, 2017
 
 
 
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Congratulations to the September 2017 Harlequin Floors Scholarship Winners!

Have you seen last month's four Harlequin Floors scholarship-winning videos yet? Liz Carroll's tap video to Ed Sheeran's "What Do I Know" is sure to bring a big smile your way today! Watch all the September winning videos and  post your video today on TheWorldDances.com  for your chance to win one of four $250 Harlequin Floors scholarships this month. The October scholarship winners will be announced on Halloween. Harlequin Floors is honored to celebrate and support dancers and your dreams. Share your dance skills with us today!



 

 
 
 
 


September 2017 Judges' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Liz Carroll
What Do I Know
 


September 2017 Judges' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Alexandra Topalova
Gambled Time


 

September 2017 Viewers' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Isha Parupudi
Shambhu Natanam
 
 

September 2017 Viewers' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Aakash Gupta
Controlla
 
 
New Season, New Job?
 
You'll find more than  50 current job listings in the arts on TheWorldDances.com.  Portland Ballet, Washington Ballet, Alternate ROOTS in Atlanta, and New York Theatre Ballet are among the organizations seeking an Executive Director.  Ballet Idaho and The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana, CA are both looking for the right new Artistic Director.  American Repertory Ballet, City Dance in D.C., and The Joyce Theater Foundation all have open high level marketing positions.  The University of Kansas and the University of Michigan both have Assistant Professor opportunities in their dance departments.  Ballet West is looking for the best person to fill their Assistant to the Executive Director and Board Liaison role.   Check out these an many other current openings.  We wish the best of success to all the employers and candidates in finding the perfect matches!



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