Tag Archives: Cinderella

Cleveland’s North Pointe Ballet to present ‘Cinderella,’ May 5-7


Photo by Celia Romanoski.

By Janet Dziak

North Pointe Ballet (NPB) returns to Hope Community Church Auditorium in Olmsted Falls this spring to present another full-length classical ballet featuring a cast of professional dancers from the company as well as local dance students in children’s roles. The company will perform the ballet Cinderella set to Sergei Prokofiev’s 1944 score. The dancers tell the tale of how Cinderella finds true love with a little help from her Fairy Godmother, despite being held captive by her wicked stepmother and stepsister. Director Janet Dziak’s original choreography is comical, light-hearted, and easy-to-understand for the whole family. Performances are May 5 at 7:30pm, May 6 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm and May 7 at 2:30pm. Girl Scout troops wishing to earn their “Creative Play” badge by attending a special workshop before the May 6 performance should contact janet@northpointeballet.org for more information.

All of NPB’s performances are held at the beautiful 1,000-seat Hope Community Church Auditorium, 6941 Columbia Road, Olmsted Falls, Ohio 44138.


Purchase show tickets on the NPB website www.northpointeballet.org

Group tickets can be purchased by contacting the box office at npbboxoffice@gmail.com.
Organized groups of 10 or more will receive a $3 discount per ticket. A 50% non-refundable deposit is required at time of reservation.

Military and Senior discounts will be required to present ID at will call when picking up tickets. Seniors and military with proper ID will receive $2 off per ticket.

For questions about tickets email: npbboxoffice@gmail.com.

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Photo by Celia Romanoski.

In addition, North Pointe Ballet will offer a sensory-friendly performance of Cinderella for individuals on autism spectrum and with other sensory needs on May 4.

North Pointe Ballet was established with the mission to make classical ballet accessible to everyone in our community. Part of fulfilling this mission includes offering a special sensory-friendly preview performance providing an accommodating version of all of its productions. Many individuals on the autism spectrum or with other sensory needs greatly benefit from live dance productions. Unfortunately, many individuals with sensory needs can’t even step into a dark theater, let alone deal with unexpected sounds or lights. They may exhibit behaviors that bother surrounding patrons and, as a result, are often excluded from the experience that ballet and live theater have to offer. NPB offers a performance that caters to these individuals and their unique needs.

Kristen Metz, Autism Specialist for Elyria City School District, volunteered at NPB’s Sensory friendly performance of The Nutcracker in December 2016. “North Pointe Ballet provides opportunities for everyone to experience the art of dance and ballet,” says Metz. “Sensory-friendly performances allow for those with exceptionalities to experience the ballet in an environment that allows audience members to be themselves. North Pointe Ballet also provides opportunities for individuals with exceptionalities to participate in dance and the arts. The artists work diligently to understand and support those who experience the world in a unique way.”

To provide a supportive and welcoming environment for children and families, dedicated sensory-friendly performances include:

· Reduction of loud or jarring sounds
· Reductions in flashing or strobe lights
· Modification of the house lights during the performance
· Accommodated house rules: audience members are free to talk or move about during       the show
· Extra staff and volunteer support.
· Designated “Take a Break Space” in the theater where children can play and families         can still enjoy the performance

North Pointe Ballet also features guest performers in special performances, giving children with special needs a chance to get onstage with the professional dancers. In December 2016, NPB’s special guest performer appeared as one of Clara’s friends in the The Nutcracker. When asked what it was like to be onstage in the party scene, she said “It was so amazing—my eyes were popping!”


Photo by Celia Romanoski.

“As someone who works closely with families with individuals that have special needs, I am so pleased to be a part of an organization that provides opportunities to include everyone, regardless of their sensory needs,” says Elizabeth Radachi, BCaBA and dancer with NPB. “It isn’t just artistic staff that has such a welcoming and tolerant attitude. The dancers in the cast are open to and supportive of audience members who need to stand up and move about, or who are extra verbal. No one minds these things happening, everyone is just happy to have a broader audience with which to share the art of dance. In our last performance, I watched with awe as the neurotypical students in our cast embraced our guest artist for the sensory friendly show by learning about her through personal conversation, offering to help with her hair and makeup, and working with her to create interactions for the stage, even exchanging what we call “merde,” or good luck gifts with her, just like they do with each other. This is how North Pointe Ballet is doing its part to spread inclusion and patience.”

Artistic Director Janet Dziak hopes that the special sensory-friendly performance is as beneficial to families of loved ones with sensory needs as it is to the individuals themselves. “It is important for me to be able to provide a welcoming environment and opportunity for parents and families of children with sensory needs. The families of these kids often suffer, too, without opportunities to see ballet for themselves or with their ‘typically developing’ siblings. I want these families to be able to attend a performance without fear of audience members judging them for their child vocalizing at inappropriate times and let their child run around and experience the theater in his own way while sitting back and enjoying the show for themselves, knowing they are all welcome and safe.”

For more information on our sensory-friendly Performance of Cinderella on May 4 at 6:30pm, visit www.northpointeballet.org/events.html or email npbboxoffice@gmail.com


Photo by Celia Romanoski.

About North Pointe Ballet

North Pointe Ballet (NPB) is a professional dance company whose mission is making professional, classical ballet accessible to all families in the western suburbs of Cleveland.

NPB offers education outreach programs to help integrate arts into all curriculums and enforce academic content standards. Dynamic instructors lead children through hands-on workshops and professional, costumed dancers perform excerpts from full-length productions. Email janet@northpointeballet.org to schedule a program customized to your school’s needs.


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Grand Rapids Ballet’s 2015-2016 home season a mix of favorites and soon-to-be favorites

Photo courtesy of MLive.com

Yuka Oba and Stephen Sanford in a scene from “The Nutcracker.” Photo courtesy of MLive.com.

By Steve Sucato

After a successful tour this past week to artistic director Patricia Barker’s old stomping ground Seattle, Washington, where she was a star at Pacific Northwest Ballet for two decades, Grand Rapids Ballet returns to the “Furniture City” this weekend to kick off its 2015-2016 home season. As in Barker’s past five seasons as GRB director, local audiences can expect a mix of top flight contemporary and classical works danced by one of the nation’s most rapidly rising dance companies.

Here’s a look:


October 16-18, 2015 @ Peter Martin Wege Theatre

A reprise of popular GRB repertory works, Pacifica includes choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “balloon-tastic” Written & Forgotten (2014), a humorous, sometimes poignant look at childhood memories, and Penny Saunders’ illuminating Slight (2015) of which Barker says: “The whole thing is how light and shadows change the look of the body, movements and mood. It’s quite eerie and quite cool.”  Also on the program will be choreographer David Parsons’ clever masterwork The Envelope (1984), a delightfully zany commentary on human social structures, and excerpts from Mario Radacovsky’s turbulent Beethoven (2015) that closed last season.


December 11-13 & 18-20, 2015 @ DeVos Performance Hall

Last year’s spectacularly re-imagined holiday classic returns with a few minor tweaks. The magical production with choreography by Val Caniparoli and set design by Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg and Eugene Lee, brings with it Broadway-style production values, a legendary Tchaikovsky score played by the Grammy-nominated Grand Rapids Symphony and some great dancing. One of the best regional The Nutcracker productions to come along in years, it is surely the stuff childhood memories are made of.


[World Premiere] February 12-14 & 19-21, 2016 @ Peter Martin Wege Theatre

Not to be confused with her 2013 production of Dangerous Liaisons for Augsburg Ballet, choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa creates a brand new telling the tale of scheming French aristocrats The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont. The two rivals and ex-lovers use seduction to humiliate and degrade others all-the-while boasting of their cruel and manipulative talents. Of the new 80-minute production in two acts Ochoa says it will more closely follow the plotline of the 1989 movie adaption starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich rather than author Durand Neveu’s original 1782 book series.

The characters in Ochoa’s new Dangerous Liaisons come out of a time period in the French aristocracy where the powerful and wealthy became bored with parlor games and turned to more sinister games of the heart. Their intrigue and eventual comeuppance should make for a rather unique dancegoer experience.


March 18-20, 2016 @ Peter Martin Wege Theatre

The Best of MOVEMEDIA will revisit some of the most popular works presented in the annual cutting-edge dance series that began five years ago. They include Brian Enos’ Nae Regrets, Thomas Dancy’s You Gotta Be Kiddin Me and others, plus a brand new work by choreographer Penny Saunders.


[World Premiere] – May 6-8 & 13-15, 2016 @ Peter Martin Wege Theatre

Closing out the season is will be a new ballet adaptation of Charles Perrault’s classic fairytale Cinderella. Choreographed by former Boston Ballet resident choreographer Bruce Wells and set to Johann Strauss II’s “Aschenbrödel” (Cinderella), the classical ballet will be a lighter take on the timeless tale.

“It is very important for our company and school to come together and have a collaborative look,” says Barker. “Cinderella is another production like The Nutcracker we can do that. Having it be like a second Nutcracker to us is one of our big goals.”

Audiences will notice several new faces this season as ten new dancers join GRB’s ranks. They are: New Jersey-native Branden Reiners, Illinois-native’s Julia Turner and Matthew Wenckowski, Missouri’s Thomas Seiff, Seattle’s Grace Haskins and Georgia’s Nigel Tau. The company’s new trainees are: Charlotte Logeais (Paris, France), Elise Gillum (San Jose, CA), Derek Brockington (Holland, MI) and Adriana Wagenveld (Bayamon, Puerto Rico). Promoted from apprentice or trainee to company member are: Morgan Frasier, Emily Rose, Caroline Wiley, Jack Lennon and Hannah Potter. Departures from last season include dancers Leah Slavens, Jessica Smith, Keely Lytton, Vanessa Cielle, Yassui Mergaliyev and audience favorites Hannah Wilcox, Kyohei Giovanni Yoshida, Monica Pelfrey, and Stephen Sanford.

For more information and tickets visit grballet.com or call the Grand Rapids Ballet box office at (616) 454-4771 ext. 10

All graphics courtesy of Michael Auer, Grand Rapids Ballet

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Pittsburgh Ballet soloists sound off on ‘Swan Lake’

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Julia Erickson as the Black Swan in "Swan Lake". Photo by Duane Rieder.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Julia Erickson as the Black Swan in “Swan Lake”. Photo by Duane Rieder.

By Steve Sucato

Like professional sports teams, ballet companies go through ups and downs when it comes to talent. While the Steelers have struggled lately with a lack of it, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has been loaded with it. Most impressive have been PBT’s major story ballets. In 2012, the company wowed audiences with Giselle, and followed up with an engaging Cinderella this past April. Now it offers another classic, Swan Lake, to be performed with the orchestra Feb. 13-16.

Last performed by PBT in 2010, Swan Lake tells the story of Prince Siegfried, who falls for swan-girl Odette, and what happens when villain Von Rothbart tricks Siegfried into pledging his undying love to an alluring imposter.

Apart from a fantastical plot, the ballet in four acts, with choreography by Marius Petipa (restaged for PBT by artistic director Terrence Orr) is the very definition of ballet’s traditional beauty and grace. It also contains one of the most plum dual roles for a ballerina: Odette, the demure white swan, and her counterpart Odile, the seductive black swan. The role requires excellent technical ability and stamina as well as superbly nuanced acting skills.

CP spoke with three of the four women who will dance Odette/Odile.

A veteran of the roles, principal dancer Julia Erickson (performing 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, and 2 p.m. Feb. 15) sees the stark archetypes as representing the duality of human nature. “Odette is vulnerable and scared, but exhibits great strength despite her fragility, and Odile is a force but also shows insecurity at times,” says Erickson.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Julia Erickson as the White Swan in "Swan Lake". Photo by Duane Rieder.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Julia Erickson as the White Swan in “Swan Lake”. Photo by Duane Rieder.

First-time soloist Amanda Cochrane (2 p.m. Feb. 16) concurs but emphasizes the roles’ physical demands. “The fluidity and control in Odette’s movement is so beautiful, but at times can be difficult to grasp,” says Cochrane. “Likewise, Odile’s 32 fouette turns in Act III can be pretty strenuous.”

Principal dancer Alexandra Kochis (8 p.m. Feb. 15) sees Odile as a creation of Von Rothbart. “She is a spell, a creature, manufactured for the sole purpose of bewitching Siegfried. She isn’t so much an entity of her own as a reflection of what the prince wants to see,” says Kochis.

The fourth dancer is principal dancer Christine Schwaner (8 p.m., Feb 14).

Whatever a given dancer’s take, PBT’s new production appears destined to be a winner.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre performs Swan Lake, Thu., Feb. 13, through Sun., Feb. 16., Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $25.75-91.75. 412-456-6666 or pbt.org

This article first appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper February 12, 2014. Copyright Steve Sucato.

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