Meet Megan Kaftira

Megan Kaftira and her partner Remi Wörtmeyer arrived in Providence yesterday evening to spend a few days preparing for Together We Dance 3 on Thursday.

Megan Zimny Kaftira. Photo by Sebastien Galtier
Megan Zimny Kaftira. Photo by Sebastien Galtie

MEGAN ZIMNY KAFTIRA
Soloist Dancer
Dutch National Ballet

Megan Zimny Kaftira (formerly Megan Zimny Gray) grew up in Harlingen, Texas and began dancing at the age of 4. She trained with the Corpus Christi Ballet, Deborah Case Dance Academy, and The HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida on full scholarship. At the age of 17, Megan joined Boston Ballet II, and later the main company Boston Ballet (Mikko Nissinen). Searching for change in 2010, she made the move to Europe and joined the Dutch National Ballet (Ted Brandsen).

Quickly rising through the ranks, she was promoted to Soloist in 2012. Megan’s growing repertoire includes principal and leading roles in the classics Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Don Quichot, Paquita, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, and many others. She has performed Balanchine works including Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Symphony in C, Serenade, Agon, Four Temperments, and has danced a variety of other works by William Forsythe, Hansvan Manen, John Neumeier, Rudi van Dantzig, James Kudelka, Krzysztof Pastor, and Jiri Kylian. She has had the fortunate opportunity to work with renowned choreographers during the creations of many World Premieres: Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella (stepsister Edwina), Alexei Ratmansky’s Souvenir d’un Lie Cher, Jorma Elo’s Sacre du Printemps and Carmen, and David Dawson’s Timelapse and Overture. Megan received a Bronze medal in the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, a Rudolf Nureyev Education Fellowship Award, and a Princess Grace nomination in 2006. She has also been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers around the world.

In June 2013, Megan married ex-principal dancer and current filmmaker, Altin Kaftira.

Megan Zimny Kaftira in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Altin Kaftira.
Megan Zimny Kaftira in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Altin Kaftira.

See Megan at Together We Dance 3 at The Vets Thursday evening.

Remi Wörtmeyer and Megan Z. Kaftira at Aspire Restaurant yesterday evening.
WELCOME TO PROVIDENCE! Remi Wörtmeyer and Megan Z. Kaftira at Aspire Restaurant yesterday evening.

The best of the Ballet world deserves the best that Providence has to offer, which is why they’ll all be staying at the beautiful Hotel Providence, a generous season sponsor of Festival Ballet Providence.

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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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The Works, through the lens

A look at the season ahead, as seen through the lens of our favorite photogs.

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#ThrowbackThursday – Swimsuit Edition

SPOTTED: A lucky few FBP company dancers showing off on the beach at Amelia Island, Florida in 2006. Look closely to see Misha Djuric lifting Carolyn Dellinger, only to be outdone by an impressive torch lift of Jennifer Ricci by Gleb Lyamenkoff…

All the world’s a stage…and a competition, apparently.

Throwback Thursday - Swimsuit Edition

The company was enjoying the sand and sun before performing two pieces at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival.

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Announcing our 36th Season

Welcome to our 36th Season
Photo by Thomas Nola-Rion

The opening phrase of our mission statement: “To thrill and move…” sums up everything that FBP strives for, both onstage and off. Each day, everyone at FBP is driven by the thrill of ballet, and the moving effect that it has on them, and on the audience.

In our 36th season, we are channeling all of that energy into an exciting, thrilling, diverse lineup of ballets. This season will be marked by some FBP favorites, including a program devoted entirely to Viktor Plotnikov – Boundless Plotnikov – whose moving choreography has been a centerpiece of our repertoire for more than 10 years. We are also thrilled to present the New England premiere of a breathtaking staging of the classic story Peter Pan.

Up Close on Hope and chatterBOXtheatre, two reliable mainstays of every season, promise to thrill audiences young and old. With 4 different programs and 24 performances of these Black Box series, there are more opportunities than ever to experience dance “up close.”

MAINSTAGE PRODUCTIONS

TOGETHER WE DANCE 3

Together We Dance 3
Daniel Ulbricht of New York City Ballet. Photo by Henry Leuwyler.

Internationally renowned ballet stars – along with FBP company dancers and selected students from the FBP School – take to the Vets stage for a spectacular one-night-only gala performance to kick off FBP’s 36th season. The world of ballet comes to Providence inTogether We Dance 3.

October 3, 2013 – 8:00pm

The Vets
1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence

 

 

THE NUTCRACKER

The Nutcracker
Photo by Liza Voll.

Festival Ballet Providence’s production of The Nutcracker is a spectacle of artistry and theater, a Rhode Island classic. This family favorite is a magical production, complete with colorful costumes, Swarovski crystal snowflakes, stunning dancing, and a cast of over 100 performers.

December 20, 2013 8:00pm
December 21, 2013 2:00pm
December 21, 2013 7:00pm
December 22, 2013 1:30pm

Providence Performing Arts Center
220 Weybosset Street, Providence

 

 

BOUNDLESS PLOTNIKOV

Orchis
Photo by A. Cemal Ekin.

Viktor Plotnikov’s choreography is at once artistic and scientific, designed to break the boundaries of human emotion and anatomy. In a single evening,Boundless Plotnikov captures the range of Plotnikov’s creativity. In addition to an encore of last season’s hit premiere ORCHIS, the program features the RI premiere of SURRENDER and a brand-new work.

March 14, 2014 8:00pm
March 15, 2014 7:30pm
March 16, 2015 2:30pm

The Vets
One Avenue of the Arts, Providence

PETER PAN

Peter Pan
Photos by Thomas Nola Rion

Characters don’t just fly in this adaptation of the classic story of a boy that never grows up, they dance in the air. Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s popular choreographer Jorden Morris (Moulin Rouge) created this spectacular production in 2006, to such great success that it has since been set around North America, but never before in New England.

The production utilizes state-of-the-art technology allowing FBP dancers to fly and dance high above the Vets stage, making this production a breathtaking spectacle that audiences won’t soon forget!

May 16, 2014 8:00pm
May 17, 2014 2:00pm
May 18, 2015 2:00pm

The Vets
One Avenue of the Arts, Providence

Black Box Productions

UP CLOSE ON HOPE

Up Close on Hope
Photo by A. Cemal Ekin

Few dance programs in Rhode Island have the staying power and the devoted audience that FBP’s Up Close on Hope series does. Offering an experience unlike any other, audiences have a chance to witness a program filled with original, edgy choreography in the intimate setting of our Black Box Theatre.

FALL 2013 PROGRAM
Oct. 25, 26; Nov. 1, 2, 8, 9

SPRING 2014 PROGRAM
March 28, 29; April 4, 5, 11, 12

Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 7:30pm

FBP Black Box Theatre
825 Hope Street, Providence

All programs include a complimentary intermission reception, complete with wine and hors d’oeuvres, where you can mingle with other patrons and members of the artistic staff.

chatterBOXtheatre

Peter and the Wolf
Photo by Thomas Nola Rion

chatterBOXtheatre
Photo by Thomas Nola Rion

The popular chatterBOXtheatre series returns with two popular productions: the lively Peter and the Wolf and Miss McFuzz + More McFun, a new program from the FBP Student Company. Enjoy the unique family experience that has quickly become a go-to activity for our youngest audience members and their families.

MISS McFUZZ + MORE McFUN
Nov. 10, 2013 – 1:00pm; 4:00pm
Apr. 6, 2014 – 1:00pm; 4:00pm

PETER AND THE WOLF
February 1, 2014 4:00pm

February 2, 2014 1:00pm; 4:00pm
February 8, 2014 4:00pm
February 15, 2014 4:00pm
February 16, 2014 1:00pm

FBP Black Box Theatre
825 Hope Street, Providence

All performances include a post performance meet-and-greet with the dancers, complete with milk and cookies courtesy of our sponsor – Seven Stars Bakery.

SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE

Get first access to the best seats at a great discount! Single-series subscriptions and package subscriptions are available to maximize convenience and savings. Print and return the order form below. You can also call 401-654-6662 to reserve your subscription.

However you decide to subscribe, make sure to do it early because the best seats in the house won’t last long!

FBP 36th Season Subsciptions [PDF]

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