In the Community: Free Cinderella Workshops

Before she gets to the ball, Cinderella will be coming to a library or bookstore near you!

We’ve got a fantastic lineup of workshops from Wakefield to Providence, all of them completely free and open to the public. Each workshop will include a reading of a Cinderella storybook, an interactive group dance, and a small craft that children can take home to remember the magical event. We hope to see you there!

Outreach Coordinator Valerie Cookson-Botto (center) with FBP Trainees Katherine Bickford (left) and Olivia Kaczmarzyk.

Cinderella Community Workshops

Special thanks to our outreach team led by Valerie Cookson-Botto and to the libraries and bookstores for helping make these workshops possible. Don’t forget to get your tickets for Cinderella, May 12-14, 2017 at The Vets!

Share

Announcing Summer Dance Intensive Faculty

We are thrilled to announce our Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) Faculty for the 2017 Senior and Junior Sessions! We’ve got a great group of familiar and new faces for these great programs, which run July 3-29 (Senior) and July 31-Aug. 11 (Junior). Click here to learn more about the programs.

Ivaylo Alexiev

Ballet
Festival Ballet Providence
http://festivalballetprovidence.org/IvayloAlexiev.php

Assaf Benchetrit

Ballet
University of New Hampshire
http://cola.unh.edu/faculty-member/assaf-benchetrit

Danielle Davidson

Ballet, Modern
Doppelganger Dance Collective
Boston Conservatory
https://www.danielledavidson.net

Kirsten Evans

Ballet
Festival Ballet Providence
http://festivalballetprovidence.org/kirstenevans.php

Leticia Guerrero

Ballet
Festival Ballet Providence
http://festivalballetprovidence.org/leticiaGuerrero.php

Adrienne Hawkins

Jazz
Impulse Dance Company
http://www.dancecomplex.org/Dance_Complex_Faculty.htm

Jeremy Ruth Howes

Modern, Ballet
Northeast School of Ballet
http://www.northeastyouthballet.org/history/directors/jeremy-revilock-frost-ballet/

John Lam

Ballet
Boston Ballet
http://johndlam.com/john-lam/

Alex Lantz

Ballet, Character
Festival Ballet Providence
http://festivalballetprovidence.org/alexlantz.php

 

Mary Ann Mayer

Ballet
Festival Ballet Providence
http://festivalballetprovidence.org/school/CDEdirector.php

Marissa Parmenter

SDI Director, Ballet
Festival Ballet Providence
http://festivalballetprovidence.org/marissaparmenter.php

Ty Parmenter

Ballet
Festival Ballet Providence
http://festivalballetprovidence.org/typarmenter.php

Dionysia Williams

Jazz
BalletMet
https://www.balletmet.org/academy/faculty-staff/dionysia-williams/

 

Share

Behind The Scenes: Boyko Dossev’s The Little Prince

Boyko Dossev is a man of many talents. You may have seen him on stage as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet last February. This time he’s taking on the role of choreographer, one he has had a few times previously creating charming ballets like Mother Goose Goes to Hollywood, and Little Red Riding Hood. We sat down with Boyko to get all the inside scoop on his newest creation for FBP’s chatterBOXtheatre series, The Little Prince.

Hello Mr. Choreographer! The story of The Little Prince is special to many people. What was it that drew you personally to this story?

I’ve always wanted to choreograph a ballet based on Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince. This is one of those stories that carry wisdom in just a few pages. It continues to inspire children and adults all over the world. It is symbolic, sad, poetic and at the same time full of hope. The Little Prince reminds us what is truly important in times of great challenge. The journey of The Little Prince is one that we all are having and I wanted through my interpretation of the book, once again, to remind adults about the kids they once were and to help kids to never forget what it’s like to be a child.

That’s beautiful- but also complex. What are some of the challenges in telling this story? What are some of the rewarding aspects?

The main challenge when you are telling a story like this through choreography is translating the incredible words of wisdom and then communicating these messages without compromising their meaning and integrity. It is challenging to create a ballet that can convey Exupéry’s main idea through movement, while also allowing children and adults have a wonderful time. This is the main challenge, to communicate the spirit of the book successfully in less than 35 minutes.

That is a daunting task! But we are so lucky to have incredible music to help us tell the story. Can you tell us a bit about where the music for this ballet came from?

I am very lucky to have a very dear friend, Geneviève Leclair, who connected me with the French-Canadian composer Maxime Goulet. His music is perfect for this project and although it was not written especially for The Little Prince, every single note seems to be as if we have collaborated for years to create the perfect score for my choreography. Maxime is remarkably talented composer and I feel extremely honored and grateful that he agreed to work with me on this ballet.

Maxime Goulet with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Do you have any favorite aspects of the ballet so far?

My all-time favorite part will always be the process of creation and collaboration with the dancers. I wish we could have more time in the studios to explore and see where and how far we can take the story of The Little Prince.

I love that. As you mentioned earlier, this story has been around for quite some time. Can you tell us a bit about what makes your interpretation of The Little Prince unique?

I think what makes this interpretation of The Little Prince special is the way dancers tell Exupéry’s story through their own sensitivity and experiences. I can create the steps and different effects to try to tell the story, but is the dancers who bring their characters to life and make them real. This is what will tell the story in a unique and exciting way.

FBP dancer Kailee Felix (aloft) with ballet master Mindaugas Bauzys and dancer Jordan Nelson in rehearsal for Boyko Dossev’s The Little Prince.

Another interesting thing about this version of The Little Prince is that you’ve decided to use multimedia in the show, including video and audio collaboration. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Everything started with one of the company dancers, Jacob Hoover, creating an origami elephant out of scrap paper during in his free time during a break at the studio. In fact, he created few of them and this inspired me very much. I envisioned how we could create an animation, like when I was a kid, without the help of all the Hollywood type of technology. I wanted it to be very basic but at the same time captivating to the imagination.

I asked Jacob to create a bigger elephant, a snake, a rose, a fox…I wanted them all. At this time of the development process, I asked another company dancer, Ty Parmenter, to come on board and help us film. I wanted to have a stop-motion video of the paper elephant and a boa constrictor swallowing the elephant to represent the beginning of the story. To my surprise, both Ty and Jacob didn’t think I was crazy and agreed to work with me!

Behind the scenes look at creating a new stop-motion animation for The Little Prince, directed by Ty Parmenter with figures by Jacob Hoover

Thanks to company dancer Eugenia Zinoveva’s boyfriend, Jon Gourlay’s help we were able to get a green screen and start to experiment. All of this led to the idea to have Jacob’s mother, Michele Gutlove, (also a phenomenal glass artist) create some sketches of The Little Prince and integrate them into the media. She made some fantastic images, her work as an artist is so inspiring.

Behind the scenes look at the creation of a timelapse video showing artist Michele Gutlove’s watercolor artwork for The Little Prince.

Here is a gallery of some of Michele’s watercolors:

But we didn’t stop there…

My colleague and good friend Viktor Plotnikov, whose Carmen is opening the same weekend as The Little Prince, helped me with the sets, which became an integral part of the entire multimedia project. At the end, we recorded some narration as well, done by Ms. Valerie Tutson. Ms. Tutson’s voice and artistry added another dimension and sensitivity to the ballet.

Finally, Misha called up Barnaby Evans, creator of Providence’s acclaimed WaterFire installation. His iconic star lanterns were the perfect “cherry on top” of the vibrant scenery and imagery.

FBP dancers sporting luminescent star lanterns courtesy of WaterFire Providence

Wow, so it was a collaborative effort! The dancers, staff, and community at FBP are so multi-talented.

I feel very fortunate to have all these recourses available to create The Little Prince. Misha’s support, guidance, and trust in every step I made were essential. I feel very lucky to collaborate with all these amazing artists and dancers. I am very excited to see all of the elements of The Little Prince come together. A story as complex as The Little Prince is hard to interpret in the theater. I needed to do something that would help me tell the story right, something that would add to the choreography in a way that could transmit to our youngest audience the beauty, the wisdom, and the sensitivity of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.

Thank you so much, Boyko!

The Little Prince concludes next weekend, but it’s almost completely sold out. Call 401-353-1129 to be added to a stand-by waiting list.

Share

FBP School Students in YAGP Competition – Results

This past weekend, several FBP School Students participated in the Boston Regional division of the Youth America Grand Prix competition. We are proud of the progress they made over the last several months, dedicating their time and energy to bring these solos and group numbers to the stage. Congratulations to all the participants!

Pre-competitive category

Vanessa Linden
Classical – Talisman
Contemporary – Original piece by Debbi Leahy

Junior category

Amanda Emby
Classical – Odalisque from Le Corsaire
Contemporary – Original piece by Debbi Leahy

Hansine Hernandez
Classical – Fairy Doll
Contemporary – Original piece by Debbi Leahy

Adam Littman Davis
Classical – Satanella
Contemporary – Original piece by Derrick Davis

Senior Category

Madison Couto
Classical – Swanhilda from Coppelia
Contemporary – Original piece by Debbi Leahy

Kathleen Toland
Classical – Variation from Paquita

Hannah Yelnosky
Classical – La Fille mal gardée
Contemporary – Original piece by Jaime DeRocker

ENSEMBLE

Contemporary Ensemble, Original piece by Derrick Davis: Amanda Emby, Abi Evangelista, Hansine Hernandez, Emma Laquinta, Adam Littman Davis, Audrey McCarthy, Anika Toprak, Chazanna Williams

Contemporary Ensemble, Original piece by Debbi Leahy: Brianna Cotter, Madison Couto, Adam Davis, Amanda Emby, Kathleen Toland, Hannah Yelnosky

Additionally, Mia Del Sesto was scheduled to participate but had to withdraw due to injury.

Also, our thanks to the faculty for rehearsing and coaching these variations and group pieces (and for sacrificing a bunch of Sundays in the process)!

Leticia Guerrero
Derrick Davis
Jaime DeRocker
Debbi Leahy
Mary Ann Mayer

All of our students placed in the high 80-90 percentiles. Additionally, here are some of the top finishers from the FBP School:

Adam Davis, 3rd Place (Junior Category) Classical and Contemporary
Vanessa Linden 3rd Place overall (Pre-competitive Category)
Contemporary Ensemble: Brianna Cotter, Madison Couto, Adam Davis, Amanda Emby, Kathleen Toland, Hannah Yelnosky invited to New York Finals

Here are a few shots from the weekend:

Share

FBP School Students in Connecticut Classic Competition-Results

This past weekend, seven FBP School students traveled to Torrington, Connecticut to participate in the Connecticut Classic Scholarship competition. FBP Artistic Staff and FBP School faculty have been working with the students since October working to prepare the students for this competition and the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competition that is held next weekend in Boston.

FBP School students Madison Couto, Hannah Yelnosky, Kathleen Toland

We are so very proud of each students’ accomplishments and hard work in the process. The following students each performed a classical variation and were judged by teachers from Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theater and other artists:

Madison Couto – Swanhilda Variation from Coppelia
Amanda Emby
– Variation from Le Corsaire
Hansine Hernandez – Fairy Doll Variation
Vanessa Linden – Talisman Variation
Adam Littman Davis – Variation from Satenella
Kathleen Toland – Variation from Paquita
Hannah Yelnosky– Variation from La fille mal gardee

There were many noteworthy schools and talented students competing from around the region. All of FBP School’s students scored in the high 80-90 percentile, with the following students placing in the top 10.

Vanessa Linden- 3rd place – Youth Division
Adam Littman Davis – 5th place – Junior Division
Madison Couto – 6th place – Senior Division

Congratulations to all of our young and talented dancers! 

(L to R) Student Hannah Yelnosky, FBP School Director Mary Ann Mayer, FBP Ballet Mistress Leticia Guerrero, Students Madison Couto and Kathleen Toland

 

Next weekend these students will join a few other students for the YAGP regional competition in Boston. We will be sending more information regarding this event, in case you would like to livestream some of our dancers performances. If you would like to support our students come to the live event at the John Hancock Hall. Details to follow later this week!

Share

In the Spotlight: Alan Alberto

From California to Miami, Russia, and Rhode Island (to name a few!), Alan Alberto has danced all over the world. We caught up with one of FBP’s leading men to find out how that path led to Providence, what his favorite roles are to perform, and even his best chimichurri recipe…

Alan dancing Pas de Trois in Act I of Swan Lake. Photo by Thomas Nola-Rion.

Hey Alan! Let’s start with a bit of your background.

My family is Argentinean, I’m first generation born American. I grew up playing soccer and was a very athletic kid. I participated in theater and musical theater in school but didn’t begin any type of formal dance lessons until high school. I started dancing at the age of 15 in Miami.

So what was your training like?

I took my first formal ballet class on Valentine’s Day of 2003 at Mencia & Pikieris School of Dance. I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue ballet professionally. I auditioned for The Harid Conservatory and was accepted. I continued my studies at Harid for my Junior and Senior year of high school. Harid’s training is Vaganova, I enjoyed the training and after graduating wanted to continue my studies. I auditioned and was accepted to the Vaganova Ballet Academy (Academy of Russia Ballet) in St. Petersburg, Russia. I completed the upper school, Class 7 & 8, graduated in 2007.

Alan with his Level 7 class at the Vaganova academy in 2006

Alan with his teacher Umrijin, Level 7 class at the Vaganova academy in 2006

It sounds like your ballet training was pretty well-rounded! Do you think that made it a bit easier to transition in professional life? What was your experience like? 

My professional career began as a guest artist with Boca Ballet Theatre as Paris in Romeo & Juliet. After this performance I began my first season with Nashville Ballet in 2007. The transition from student to professional happened rather quickly and was challenging. There were high expectations and pressure to prove myself.

Wow, that must have been intimidating.

I had only been dancing for 4 years before I started working, I was very green but worked really hard. In 2008 I moved to NYC to expand my horizons and continue to grow as an artist.

You’ve had the experience of dancing in quite a few different environments. How do you feel these differing cultures have affected you as an artist?

I’ve been fortunate to have lived and danced in Russia, Florida, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania, Croatia, and Rhode Island. These experiences have been wonderful, I’ve met some really beautiful and talented individuals along the way. The differing cultures have broadened my perspective on life, understanding, worth, value, and has taught me gratitude.

Alan at Nashville Ballet

Lovely!  This is your fifth season with the company.  What do you like best about Festival Ballet Providence? 

I’m grateful for my work at FBP and the opportunities I’ve been given. I appreciate that we’re a small company and we get to dance a lot.

Alan as Prince Ivan in Mihailo Djuric’s Firebird. Photo by Thomas Nola-Rion.

Alan as Prince Ivan in Mihailo Djuric’s Firebird. Photo by Thomas Nola-Rion.

Speaking of opportunities, you’ve had the pleasure of dancing several principal roles with the company.  Do you have any favorites so far? 

Romeo, which I just performed last month, is my favorite so far. It’s a role that feels very natural to me and allows me to be genuine with my emotions.

I’ve enjoyed the process of working with such a positive and inspiring choreographer like Ilya Kozadayev. It’s great to work with an artist with such good energy, vision, and passion.

The story is moving, the music is beautiful, the collaboration with Gamm Theatre is exciting, and the choreography is organic.

Alan as Romeo in Ilya Kozadayev’s Romeo & Juliet

When you’re not dancing, you are pursuing your business degree at Johnson and Whales. Tell us a bit about why education is so important to you.

Education is extremely important to me. I really enjoy learning and strive to continue to grow every day of my life. I always knew I would get a degree in business, it just had to be the right place and the right time. After settling into my job at FBP, I knew the time was right. JWU is a great fit for me because of the adult program they offer in the evening, I can make it work with the FBP schedule. The business school offers a very well rounded business degree, my concentration is in Operations. I really enjoy business. I hope to translate the knowledge and network I’m building into my future career.

That’s so inspiring.  And as if a full time ballet career and school weren’t enough, you’ve also started your own business, Mesa Fresca. Can you tell us a bit about that and what the experience has been like? 

Mesa Fresca, the Fresh Table, is a food business my sister and I launched in 2014. We craft premium Hispanic cuisine with all natural & fresh ingredients, currently offering an authentic Argentine chimichurri sauce. Founded on family and community, Mesa Fresca aims to address the gap in the marketplace for authentic, fresh packaged Hispanic food. This summer we will be launching two new products. It’s exciting to see our business grow and expand.

Visit us today at @hopemain #meetyourmaker 10-2pm #localeats #localfoods #WarrenRI

A post shared by Mesa Fresca (@mesafresca) on

The experience has been wonderful. It’s been fun meeting people in a different community (outside of ballet), getting more involved with individuals working on food policy in RI, and learning from successful & passionate entrepreneurs.

How do you juggle all of that? 

I’m able to juggle all of it by keeping very organized and having a supportive family. I have a calendar where I make notes and plan my ballet, school, and Mesa Fresca schedule. My family and friends provide support which allows me to be successful.

Beautiful. So I have a jar of your chimichurri in my fridge and it is super yummy!  But I was wondering, what’s your favorite dish to make using the Mesa Fresca chimichurri? 

Chimichurri is traditional served over grilled meats. It’s great as a seasoning or marinade for steak, chicken, fish, or veggies. My favorite way to eat it is over sausages.

Here goes:

  • Grill Italian Sausages (Chorizo)
  • Lightly toast a French Baguette on grill (when the sausages are almost done)
  • Cut open the baguette (the long way)
  • Cut open the sausage (the long way)
  • Place sausage in the baguette
  • Drizzle chimichurri all over the sausage
  • Enjoy your Chorizo Sandwich! (Chori-Pan)


See Alan Alberto in Viktor Plotnikov’s Carmen March 24-April 7, 2017 and Boyko Dossev’s The Little Prince March 26-April 9, 2017.

In The Spotlight series is edited by Kirsten Evans and Dylan Giles.

Share

Gamm Theatre’s Tony Estrella on bringing Shakespeare to life in words and movement

Tony Estrella
Dramaturgist, “Romeo & Juliet”
Artistic Director, Gamm Theatre

When you’re an actor, there are many, many great plays and then there is Shakespeare. The rich, poetic verse, the twisting plots, the masterful characterization and fathomless psychological depth makes the Bard’s work stand out in the wonderfully diverse history of the theater.

That’s why the last few months have been such an adventure for me, both as an artist and a lover of Shakespeare. I have been working alongside choreographer Ilya Kozadayev and the dancers of Festival Ballet to bring to life a brand new adaptation of Romeo & Juliet which pays homage to both the spirit and the text of Shakespeare’s most famous story.

The idea came from Misha Djuric, who wanted to bring actors into the production, speaking live on stage, to become part of the story. The result is a multisensory experience blending movement, music, and words. It is truly remarkable.

Jeanine Kane (left) and Richard Noble

I enlisted two wonderful actors Jeanine Kane and Richard Noble, both experienced Shakespeareans and familiar faces in the local theater scene. Throughout the course of the ballet each of them play multiple roles, from the Chorus (narrators) to Friar Laurence and Juliet’s Nurse. Weaving in and out of the action for much of the ballet, they bring the music of Shakespeare’s verse to bear on Prokofiev’s gorgeous, powerful score. In one powerful tableau, Jeanine delivers Lady Capulet’s impassioned plea for vengeance as the raw agony of a kinsman’s death consumes her. It is a stunning, breathtaking, synthesis of three languages, Shakespeare’s words, Prokofiev’s music, and Kozadayev’s transcendent choreography. 

Jeanine Kane (behind), Marissa Parmenter (center), Alex Lantz (front)

The greatest gift of Shakespeare is, of course, the poetic verse that flows through his tangled stories, showing us the true power and beauty of the English language. When performed live, Shakespeare is a delicious combination of phrasing and melody; his words do not just sing, they also dance.

I can’t wait for you to experience this beautiful new work of dance and theater. It truly is a remarkable accomplishment and I feel humbled and privileged to have helped bring it to life. Don’t miss it!

Tony Estrella is Artistic Director of Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre

See Romeo & Juliet at The Vets Feburary 10-12, 2017. Click here for tickets.

Share