Alan Alberto and Davor Čakarić in today’s Providence Journal

We are so proud of dancer Alan Alberto and his husband Davor Čakarić for being featured in the wonderful front-page story in the Providence Journal today.

To their knowledge, they are the first same-sex, binational couple in Rhode Island — and possibly New England — to successfully petition for a green card since DOMA was invalidated. They are in the first wave of cases around the country.

Alberto, 26, and Cakaric, 36, normally private people, told their story “so that other binational couples know that it’s OK, and they should feel like they can get married and live a normal life,” Alberto says. The two Providence residents hope to bring awareness to the LGBT community.

“If we’ve already spent two and a half years together, and lived together and worked together and are happy together, the next step is for us to get married,” Alberto says.

READ Karen Lee Ziner’s entire story via Providence Journal.

We are all very happy for you both and look forward to seeing Alan on stage and Davor close by on Thursday evening for our season-opening gala!

Photo by Robert Thorn for Festival Ballet Providence.
Photo by Robert Thorn for Festival Ballet Providence.

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Win FREE tickets to Together We Dance 3!

What's Your Passion? Tell us and win FREE TICKETS to Together We Dance 3!
What’s Your Passion? Tell us and win FREE TICKETS to Together We Dance 3!

This season, we’ve set out to find out what our audience is passionate about – and now is your chance to tell us AND have the opportunity to win free tickets!

Send us your videos telling us (or better yet, showing us) what your passion is and use the hashtag #FBPWhatsYourPassion on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. You can also e-mail a link to your submissions to contests@festivalballetprovidence.org

On October 2, three winners will be announced and each will receive four free tickets to Together We Dance 3 the next evening!

We know you’re passionate about SOMETHING, so get creative and show us your stuff!

Please be sure to check our contest rules page.

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Swinging into the weekend

SPOTTED: Jennifer Ricci in company class swinging like only she could!

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Together We Dance 3 PREVIEW

Our exciting opening night gala – Together We Dance 3 – is right around the corner, and we have just got word that the program for October 3 has been announced. And it looks awesome!

READ THE PRESS RELEASE

In addition to the impressive lineup of works from the FBP Company and School (including two pas de deux by powerhouse partners Vilia Putrius and Mindaugas Bauzys) the program includes six pieces (including one world premiere) by guest artists from around the world.

Greta Hodgkinson. Photo by Sian Richards.
Greta Hodgkinson. Photo by Sian Richards.

Rhode Island native and National Ballet of Canada principal Greta Hodgkinson will return for the second year, along with husband and fellow-dancer Etienne Lavigne.

The two will perform a pas de deux by acclaimed choreographer James Kudelka titled “Summer” and set to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Check out a preview below:

Former FBP Company Dancer and current corps de ballet with Miami City Ballet Emily Bromberg will return with Shimon Ito to dance a neoclassical pas de deux by Liam Scarlett, a work that premiered to critical acclaim in 2012. Scarlett, a talented emerging choreographer, is the youngest choreographer to ever be commissioned by London’s Royal Ballet to create a ballet for its main stage.

 Miami City Ballet dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh in Polyphonia; Photo © Gio Alma

Miami City Ballet dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh in Polyphonia; Photo © Gio Alma

Artistic Director Misha Djuric said of Emily:

 I am very excited to see my old student, Emily Bromberg perform again. “She has really grown into such a wonderful, mature ballerina. After she left for Miami, I remember reading in the New York Times that [dance critic Alastair] McCaulay’s eye had dwelt on her. When I read that, I smiled because I thought the same thing since the first moment I saw her in class when she was nine years old.

Emily will be performing with Shimon Ito, who joined the FBP company in 2012 as the jester in our spectacular production of Swan Lake.

Shimon Ito, dancer with Miami City Ballet, in "Diana and Acteon."
Shimon Ito, dancer with Miami City Ballet, in “Diana and Acteon.”

The world-renowned Boston Ballet will be represented at Together We Dance 3 for the third straight year. Having just been promoted to principal dancer this season, Ashley Ellis will join veteran principal dancer Nelson Madrigal (originally from Cuba) dancing the “Black Swan pas de deux” from Act III of Swan Lake .

Boston Ballet principal dancer Ashley Ellis in the Black Swan pas de deux from Act III of Swan Lake.
Boston Ballet principal dancer Ashley Ellis in the Black Swan pas de deux from Act III of Swan Lake.

Below, a video of Ashley dancing the Act III Black Swan pas de deux in Corella Ballet (the pas de deux begins at 2:11):

There will be much more about our guest artists and the pieces FBP is working on as we get closer to the show. For now, make sure you don’t miss out on this production – get your tickets today!

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IonaFest rehearsal

The first annual IonaFest, celebrating the life and legacy of Iona Dobbins, is around the corner.

This evening, we spotted a select group of FBP School students in rehearsal with Mary Ann Mayer preparing for their part in the festivities. It’s going to be an excellent event and they will be in great company with arts organizations from across Rhode Island. For more info on IonaFest, check out their website here.

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An artist among artists

If there’s one person who is as ever-present in this building as the company and staff, it’s artist Jan Gendron, who is a long-time friend of the ballet, having sketched and painted many of the dancers here for the past five years.Check out Jan’s show in the lobby of the beautiful Hotel Providence, (also a generous sponsor of FBP). The show, featuring portraits and figure paintings (many of them inspired by his visits to FBP), runs Sept. 12-Oct. 15. Be sure to attend the opening reception during Providence Gallery Night on September 19 from 5:00-8:00pm.

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Hitting the ground running (dancing)

The FBP summer officially ended today with the company’s first day of work, and we started off hitting the ground running (read: dancing)!

Rehearsals for Together We Dance 3 and Up Close on Hope are now in full swing. And, if you can believe it, Nutcracker rehearsals begin tomorrow! This Sunday’s Nutcracker children’s auditions are making the first week back a busy one!

To kick off the start of our new season, we now have an Instagram! Follow us at @festivalballetprovidence to get a look inside the studio, behind the scenes, and anywhere else our Instagram takes us!

Visit our profile and follow us – http://instagram.com/festivalballetprovidence

We’ll be inviting some of our dancers to take over for a few weeks at a time, so you’ll get an even closer perspective when they start posting. But first, we need followers, so tell your friends! For now, enjoy a whopping 100% of our Instagram posts:

UPDATE:
There were some recent developments in the office that we felt needed Instagramming:

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New Faces at FBP – Meet the Trainees!

Among the new faces when the company returns to work tomorrow will be four new trainees! We couldn’t wait to meet them, so we didn’t! Here’s a little background about the newest additions to the FBP family:

JAIME DeROCKER

Jaime Derocker
Jaime Derocker

Hometown
Oneida, New York

Where did you train?
The HARID Conservatory, Mohawk Valley Ballet, and United Academy of the Performing Arts

What other interests do you have?
Hiking, Running, Water Sports (anything outdoors really). Since living out west, I’ve fallen in love with nature. Also, currently working on a degree.

What did you do this summer?
Spent some time in Colorado with friends. Other than that working at the Thinking Cup in Boston and working on a college degree. Also, exploring my new home: Boston, MA!

What you’re looking forward to this season?
Gaining knowledge and inspiration from the company members and artistic staff of FBP! Can’t Wait!

Jamie at Red Rocks National Park in Las Vegas, Nevada
Jamie at Red Rocks National Park in Las Vegas, Nevada

Bio
Jaime DeRocker is originally from Oneida, NY. She began her training at United Academy of the Performing Arts and Mohawk Valley Ballet located in upstate New York. At age sixteen, she accepted a full scholarship to the Harid Conservatory where she graduated from high school. After graduating high school in 2009, Jaime spent two years at Colorado Ballet in the Studio Company. She was also a trainee at Ballet West from 2011-2012. She recently spent her first professional season at Nevada Ballet Theatre.

 COURTNEY HANAWAY

Courtney Hanaway

 

Hometown
Weimar, California

Where did you train?
Northern California Dance Conservatory

What other interests do you have?
Listening to music and hanging out with friends

This always seems to happen when dancers get together
This always seems to happen when dancers hang out

What did you do this summer?
I attended Project Launch Summer Dance Festival, hung out with friends!

What you’re looking forward to this season?
I’m really looking forward to working with such amazing dancers, teacher, and choreographers and performing!

Courtney2

 

Bio
Courtney, originally from California, started dancing at the age of 3 and began training at 10 Years old at Northern California Dance Conservatory under the direction of Jen Bradford and Theodore Constant. In the past she has danced at Project Launch and worked with many incredible choreographers including , including Jody Gates on Forsythe Rep, Lillian Barbeito on Barak Marshall Rep, Theodore Constant, Sidra Bell, Ben Levy, Amy Seiwert, Lee Wei Chao, Drew Jacoby, Iratxe Ansa, Marek Rozycki, Tina Bohnstedt and Cosmin Marceletiu. She has also attended the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet Summer Intensive in New York, and toured with Young Tanzommer Festival in Austria, Italy, and Germany.

KRISTINA LIU

Kristina Liu
Kristina Liu

Hometown
Reston, Virginia

Where did you train?
I started dancing at the Conservatory Ballet in Reston, VA under the direction of Julia Cziller Redick when I was a small child. Then I continued at Butler University to get my Bachelors degree and just recently graduated in May 2013.

Kristina Liu
Kristina Liu

What other interests do you have?
I am really into art & design and fashion. I like having random adventures in whatever city I am in and hanging out with friends. I also blog in my spare time.

What did you do this summer?
Besides trying to stay in shape, I work the front desk at a massage therapy clinic. I also have been catching up on TV shows, crafting, and reading books for fun. Stuff I never get to do during the year!

What you’re looking forward to this season?
Learning and working on new choreography!

Bio
Born and raised in Northern Virginia, I started dancing at the Conservatory Ballet, in Reston, VA under the direction of Julia Cziller Redick. I performed a few fun roles there such as Snow Queen in the Nutcracker, a sylph in Les Sylphide, and a variation from La Raymonda. In 2009, I went to Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. I had the opportunity to perform the Mazurka in Coppelia, flower corps in the Nutcracker, and contemporary pieces choreographed by Cynthia Pratt and Michael Johnson. I also attended summer programs at Orlando Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, ABT MI, and Festival Ballet.

MELISSA WONG

Melissa Wong
Melissa Wong

Hometown
Portsmouth, OH

Where did you train?
En’lair Ballet Theatre School (Portsmouth, OH), BalletMet Columbus, University of Akron’s Dance Institute, Pioneer Valley Ballet, Five College Dance Department (Smith College and Mt. Holyoke College), Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.

What other interests do you have?
Playing tennis, doing yoga, cooking/baking, watching movies, listening to Macklemore x Ryan Lewis ‘The Heist’

What did you do this summer?
I saw One Direction in concert! I spent two weeks at Cincinnati Ballet’s Summer Intensive before the four-week intensive here at Festival Ballet Providence. After the program, I’ve been at home and enjoying some much needed rest before I move to Providence!

What you’re looking forward to this season?
What you’re looking forward to this season – This is my first year in a company so to be honest, I’m excited about everything from taking class with the company everyday to performing on stage! I’m looking forward to doing something that I love everyday and trying to be a better ballet dancer both artistically and technically.

Bio
Melissa began her training in her hometown of Portsmouth, OH at En’Lair Ballet Theatre School and later at BalletMet Columbus Dance Academy and the University of Akron Dance Institute. From 2008-2012, she continued her training at Pioneer Valley Ballet in Easthampton, MA and the Five College Dance Department. In 2012, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Smith College. Prior to joining Festival Ballet as a trainee, she studied at Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy. Melissa has attended summer programs with BalletMet Columbus, Northern Ballet Theatre, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Festival Ballet Providence.

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New Faces at FBP – Toots Zynsky, Board President

We want to give a warm welcome to some people joining the organization for the first time, as well as a few people moving into new positions. We’ll start today with our new Board President, a dear friend of FBP for many years. Later, you’ll get a chance to meet our new Director of Development, the new trainees and we’ll finish with a special faculty announcement!

Toots Zynsky
Toots Zynsky

Toots Zynsky, FBP Board President

A long-time friend and Board member, Toots Zynsky is taking over for outgoing President Don Wineberg, whose leadership over the past three years has been invaluable. Toots’ creative energy and passion for the arts has made her an invaluable asset to both the board and the company, and those assets make her the ideal person to lead FBP into our 36th year.

Known internationally as one of the most innovative voices in the American Studio Glass Movement, Toots was born in Boston, and raised in Massachusetts. She earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973. Her works can be seen in major international museum and public collections throughout the world. Zynsky’s deep appreciation and love of music, dance and textiles have been important life long influences in the development and evolution of her work and career.

In addition to receiving two National Endowment for the Arts grants, Zynsky is the recipient of a Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts, and is a former Trustee of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Toots collaborated with Viktor Plotnikov and other artists last season in an incredible feat of design, dance, and artistry. Her contributions as costume designer of ORCHIS were invaluable and – in the end – resoundingly successful. Below, photos of the cast of Orchis in Zynsky’s designs.

"The Orchis" on center stage. Photo by A. Cemal Ekin.
“The Orchis” on center stage. Photo by A. Cemal Ekin.

Zynsky Costume Designs
The Cast of Orchis in Zynsky’s unitard designs.

Below, a short documentary by NetWorks Project featuring Toots and her incredible artistic talents.

Video courtesy of NetWorks Project and AS220

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