ballet

Jonathan Stafford
Henry Leutwyler

  Our final guest today is Jonathan Stafford. Jonathan is a ballet master at New York City Ballet and a member of the faculty at the School of American Ballet, NYCB’s official school.

Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Mr. Stafford began his dance training at the age of eight. He was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in October 1998 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 1999. He was promoted to the rank of soloist in March of 2006 and became a principal dancer in May 2007. After retiring from the Company in May 2014, he was appointed an NYCB ballet master.

At the School of American Ballet, Mr. Stafford served as a member of SAB’s guest faculty during the 2006-07 school year and joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2007. Mr. Stafford received the Martin E. Segal Award from the School of American Ballet in 1999.

NYCB performs Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Paul Kolnik

  Marquerite Mehler is the Director of Production of New York City Ballet and has been stage managing for more than 20 years, primarily in dance. Since joining the Production Department of New York City Ballet in 1995, she has stage managed more than 2000 performances of more than 150 ballets in the New York City Ballet repertory, including world premieres by Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon.

With the production staff, Ms. Mehler supervises scenery, lighting, and all other production elements of the NYCB repertory both at home and on tour. She also coordinates with the other NYCB departments and supervises the NYCB and State Theatre stagehands.

Maria Kowroski
Paul Kolnik

  Maria Kowroski is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. She began her training in Grand Rapids, where she was born.

Ms. Kowroski entered the School of American Ballet in the fall of 1992. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in the summer of 1994 and was invited to join the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in January of 1995. In the spring of 1997, Ms. Kowroski was promoted to the rank of soloist and in the spring of 1999, she was promoted to principal dancer.

Ms. Kowroski was a recipient of the Princess Grace Award in 1994. She will perform the principal role in Balanchine’s Agon while at SPAC.

  Troy Schumacher is a choreographer and member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet.

In 2010, Schumacher founded BalletCollective, and as the company’s director and resident choreographer, he collaborates closely with composers, artists, and designers on original works. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, began his ballet training with Atlanta Ballet and the Chautauqua School of Dance before entering the School of American Ballet in 2002.

He became a New York City Ballet apprentice in 2005 and a member of the corps de ballet in December of that year. His second work for New York City Ballet, Common Ground, will have its SPAC premiere at the sold-out Gala performance. He will also perform the role of “Puck” in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Lauren Lovette
Luis Pons

  Lauren Lovette is a Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet. She was born in Thousand Oaks, California and began studying ballet at the age of 11 at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina

Ms. Lovette became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in September 2010. She was promoted to soloist in February 2013 and to principal in June 2015. She was the 2012-2013 recipient of the Janice Levin Award.

Ms. Lovette will choreograph her first-ever work for New York City Ballet, which will premiere in the fall of 2016. She will perform a principal role in Balanchine’s “Rubies” from Jewels and will have her debut in Christopher Wheeldon’s most recent work for NYCB, American Rhapsody, set to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” when it has its second SPAC performance on 7/30.

  Peter Martins first joined the New York City Ballet in 1970, having already achieved international fame with the Royal Danish Ballet. His career in New York saw him move from Principal Dancer to his current position as Ballet Master-in-Chief.

Martins most popular performances as a dancer include Apollo and as the Cavalier in mentor George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. His contributions as a world renowned choreographer include Calcium Light Night, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

Martins has accompanied the Ballet on their annual summer journey up to Saratoga, and has taken the time to speak with us this morning.

  Andrews Sill is the Associate Music Director of New York City Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in the spring of 2009 and served as Interim Music Director from 2012 to 2015. He also serves as Music Director of Milwaukee Ballet.

Andrews was just fifteen years old when he was accepted as a conducting and piano student at Yale University, where received his bachelor’s degree with honors. He continued his education under scholarship and fellowship awards from the Manhattan School of Music, earning his doctorate in 1987.

He will be conducting A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Gala program of Contemporary works on Saturday night.

Justin Peck
New York Times

  Justin Peck is a Soloist and the Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet. He has created more than 25 works for a range of companies including New York City Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Miami City Ballet.

In 2011, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins designated Justin to receive New York Choreographic Institute’s first year-long choreographic residency. Peck was named New York City Ballet’s Resident Choreographer, the second in the Company’s history, in July of 2014.

His latest work Scherzo Fantastique will premiere here at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday Night for SPAC’s 50th. It will be his 11th work for the Company.

  Taylor Stanley has danced at SPAC before. But, this summer marks his first performances in Saratoga as a Principal dancer.

In September 2009, Taylor became an apprentice with NYCB, and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet a year later. He was promoted to soloist in 2013 and to principal dancer in May of this year.

He will be performing a principal role in Justin Peck’s SPAC World Premiere Scherzo Fantastique which will be performed this Saturday Night as part of the Anniversary Gala. Taylor will also perform in Balanchine’s Jewels presented twice next week.

Marcia White
DONNA ABBOTT VLAHOS

  Marcia White, in a former life was a nurse and political aide, but for the past 12 seasons – she has been SPAC’s president and executive director.

In February of this year – she announced that this 50th Anniversary season – would be her last and she will retire at its conclusion. Marcia was appointed the president of SPAC in 2005 and is credited for leading major renovations, bringing the facility out of the red and maintaining SPAC’s classical offerings.

Leanne Cope and Robbie Fairchild in An American in Paris
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

  The Broadway musical, An American in Paris, has been running at The Palace Theatre in New York City since March of last year. Based on the Academy Award winning film of the same name and and featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin, the production is directed and choreographed Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon.

Leanne Cope plays - and dances - the role of Lise. She’s been with the show from its workshop stage to it’s out-of-town run in Paris and for the last year, on Broadway - earning a Tony Nomination for her work and having to take a leave of absence from London’s Royal Ballet to pursue the project.

  Girl Through Glass is the literary debut of Sari Wilson. It tells the story of a young girl's coming-of-age in the cut-throat world of New York City ballet - a story of obsession and perfection, trust and betrayal, beauty and lost innocence.

In the roiling summer of 1977, eleven-year-old Mira is an aspiring ballerina in the romantic, highly competitive world of New York City ballet. Enduring the mess of her parents divorce, she finds escape in dance the rigorous hours of practice, the exquisite beauty, the precision of movement, the obsessive perfectionism. Ballet offers her control, power, and the promise of glory. In the present day, Kate, a professor of dance at a midwestern college, embarks on a risky affair with a student that threatens to obliterate her career and capsize the new life she has painstakingly created for her reinvented self.

Sari Wilson will be in conversation with Darlene Myers of Northeast Ballet at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, February 25th at 6 p.m.

    

  Maggie Shipstead's new novel, Astonish Me, is a compelling glimpse into the demanding world of professional ballet and its magnetic hold over two generations.

While garnering terrific reviews, Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga will host an interview and book signing with Shipstead. She will be interviewed by Darlene Myers, the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Northeast Ballet and Myers Dance Center.

Astonish Me is the story of Joan, a young American dancer who helps a Soviet ballet star defect in 1975. A flash of fame and a passionate love affair follow, but Joan knows that, onstage and off, she is destined to remain in the background.

She raises provocative questions about the nature of talent, the choices we must make in search of fulfillment, and how we square the yearning for comfort with the demands of art.

    

  The Albany Berkshire Ballet was founded in 1960 by Artistic Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo as an outgrowth of her school, the Cantarella School of Dance, located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The Albany Berkshire Ballet is nationally recognized for its versatility in performing both classical and contemporary dance works with excellence and they will present Carmina Burana at The Egg in Albany, NY on Friday, May 2 and at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, May 3.

Artistic Director Madeline Culpo and Carmina Burana Choreographer Paula Weber, and company dancer, and teacher, Kerry Piaggione join us to tell us more.

Matthew Bourne, the world’s most successful dance choreographer, and his company New Adventures, are bringing their spectacular and lavish UK production of Sleeping Beauty to a mere seven US cities -- and one of them is Schenectady – where the show will run at Proctors through the 20th of this month.

With Sleeping Beauty, Bourne returns to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and continued in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake. In this Sleeping Beauty, the traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story, across the decades, that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder.

We are joined by dancers, Hannah Vassalo and Christopher Marney. Hannah dances the role of Princess Aurora, and Christopher is the associate choreographer and dances the role of Count Lilac.

Local Ballerinas Experience Worldly Instruction

Aug 28, 2013
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Young ballet dancers from the region had a chance to learn from world-renowned performers in western Massachusetts this week.

    Edward Villella, one of the most celebrated American male dancers in history, will be a special guest at the “The Ruby Ball” ballet gala Saturday, July 13, at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

The gala, a fundraiser to support New York City Ballet’s Saratoga season, will feature a performance of Balanchine’s “Rubies,” a role that Villella originated in 1967 while at New York City Ballet.

    This weekend, Jacob’s Pillow Dance and MASS MoCA co-present world-renowned contemporary ballet ensemble Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center.

The Montréal-based dance company blends a variety of dance styles, influences, and music in three diverse works by prominent, international choreographers.

This co-presentation coincides with the final month of MASS MoCA’s Oh, Canada exhibit, the largest survey of Canadian contemporary art ever produced outside of Canada.

Ella Baff, Jacob’s Pillow Executive and Artistic Director, and Sue Killam, Director of Performing Arts at MASS MoCA, join us to tell us more.

Philip Kamrass / Times Union

  The Northeast Ballet Company, under the direction of Darlene Myers, has been serving the Capital District since 1990 and has had the honor of being the resident company of Proctors Theater since 1991.

  Paul Elisha speaks with Jay Rogoff about The Art of Gravity: Poems.

On Saturday, March 24th at 8:00 pm, the Ulster Ballet Company proudly presents The 29th Annual Festival of Dance, to be held at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston, New York. Joe learns all about it in this hour from the co-artistic directors of the Ulster Ballet Company, Scarlett Fiero and Quiedo Carbone.