Ballet on the brain


Having spent a decade or so as a ballet mom to my youngest daughter Lizabeth, part of my daily ritual includes reading dance-related stories in various publications, including The New York Times. Still, the number of stories I’ve read pales in comparison to the number of tightly-twisted ballet buns I’ve precisely pinned to a particular spot on the back of Lizabeth’s head.

I always take special joy in seeing photographs of one dancer in particular — David Hallberg, principal with American Ballet Theatre in New York. He was one of many older dancers Lizabeth looked up to during her training with Kee-Juan Han at Arizona Ballet School (now the School of Ballet Arizona), and also attended Arizona School for the Arts.

I came home Thursday evening to a press release from ASA noting that Hallberg will be a featured guest at an upcoming event honoring ASA’s 15th anniversary and recent expansion. The March 1 “Breakfast Club” is free and open to the public, but I’m guessing it will fill up quickly thanks to highlights like Hallberg and performances by current ASA students. Watch the ASA website for details.

Earlier in the week, I got news of Ballet Arizona’s 2011-2012 season — which includes two works based on popular children’s tales. A world premiere production of “Cinderella” choreographed by Ballet Arizona artistic director Ib Andersen will be performed in October of 2011, and the company will perform Andersen’s “Sleeping Beauty” in February of 2012.

Other exciting news out of Ballet Arizona includes the advent of Thursday night performances during the opening week for each show, the addition of early Sunday evening performances of the “full-length story ballets” and earlier curtain times in general. All but one production will be performed at Symphony Hall in Phoenix — featuring music by the Phoenix Symphony conducted by Timothy Russell.

My latest foray into ballet world was a delightful conversation with actor Rich Hebert. He’s performing the role of “Dad” in the touring production of Billy Elliot, which comes to ASU Gammage in Tempe April 26-May 8. Billy’s dad wears a hardhat, not a leotard — and the macho miner must come to grips with his son’s determination to dance rather than follow in his father’s footsteps.

I’ll share more about Hebert’s background and “Billy” musings in a future post titled “Being Billy’s dad.” Hebert actually awakens each day grateful to be five-year-old Neely’s dad (he shares the credit with Neely’s mom Natasha). Neely has yet to formally don the tutu, but Hebert tells me she’s already quite the performer.

Watch for more ballet tales in coming posts — and in the meantime, check out this review of the movie “Black Swan” written by Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times.

— Lynn

Note: Last call for glee club/show choir photos. Please include name of group, hosting school or organization, and person who took the photo (if available). Send to rakstagemom@gmail.com for possible use in a future post.

Coming up: My fondness for “Fiddler,” Get your “Glee” on!, Performing parents

Update: David Hallberg recently accepted the position of premier with the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia — www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/arts/dance/american-to-join-the-bolshoi-ballet.html?_r=2&hp. Visit www.balletaz.org to learn about this week’s “Ballet Under the Stars” offerings from Ballet Arizona. — 9/20/11

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One response to “Ballet on the brain

  1. Im a Ballet Mom and have just tried looking around for any Ballet Mom blogs and fell onto yours. Great stuff to read, I love to hear about all the up coming productions going on out their. The Ballet world is such a huge one, I can’t get over it. My daughter is 9 and has been dancing since she was 3 yrs old. But it has become such a huge part of her life, she loves it more than anything else. So I’m trying to get more involved and study up more about it and what Ballet bring to my child. So far its what makes her the happiest and I fully support it. I will definitely be back to read more of your blog.

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