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Ballet Idaho Opens With 'Baroque!'

Three years in and the company is finding its footing. By Dana Oland - doland@idahostatesman.com Published: 10/22/10 Music and dance are inextricably intertwined, especially in classical ballet. One can’t think of the movement or ballet story without hearing the rich, orchestrated, memorable music that accompanies it. So when Ballet Idaho artistic director Peter Anastos started on the job in 2008, he vowed he would make live music a regular feature for all the company’s performances. That’s hugely ambitious for a start-up regional ballet that is growing. Now, for this season opener, Anastos takes a big step toward that goal. You’ll hear music played live for three of the ballet’s four season concerts, starting with the ”Baroque!“ this weekend. ”It (live music) is something we really want to dedicate ourselves to,“ he says. For this concert it was a natural to partner with Boise Baroque Orchestra, a 30-member community group that specializes in the delicate, lilting and haunting baroque music. The music side of the performance will offer some of the traditional core composers of the genre: Handel, Bach and Rameau. The movement side will range from Anastos’ neo-classical ballet ”Trianon“ to ballet master Alex Ossadnik’s contrasting contemporary piece to Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 3., played by soloist Paul Hatvani. And company dancer Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye will make his main stage choreographic debut with his sizzling duet with Racheal Hummel to Bach’s Aire on a G String. Dancing to live music is an important part of the performance and artistic process for a dancer, Anastos says. ”That’s when you really start listening and paying attention to what you hear,“ he says. The music and the musician become partners, and the experience for the audience is that much richer. ”The whole thing feels alive,“ Anastos says. Later this season, the Boise Philharmonic will perform with the company for ”The Nutcracker,“ and in February, Ballet Idaho will perform a program of piano ballets to music played by Felix Eisenhauer and Juli Draney. Only the season finale, ”The Sleeping Beauty“ will use recorded music. The live musical performances are really a sign of the progress this company has made under Anastos and Ossadnik. The dancers are growing. The company is evolving: Anastos has added five new performers this season. Ballet Idaho now owns a full-length ”Nutcracker“ that will tour again this year, and it is tackling ”The Sleeping Beauty,“ truly grandest of the grand ballets. That production will — like ”Nutcracker“ — pull in dozens of kids from the academy. ”It’s a fairly elaborate season and I think we’re on a good trajectory,“ Anastos says. ”The community has been so welcoming. I had someone stop me at Fred Meyer the other day to tell me how much they like what we’re doing. It’s heartwarming.“

What makes Ballet Idaho so special?

Meet the talented and inspirational dancers of Ballet Idaho!

Ballet Idaho Opens the Season with Baroque! and Welcomes New Company Dancers!

Please join Ballet Idaho returning and new company dancers and Artistic Director, Peter Anastos for the 2010-2011 opening season performance of Baroque!, October 22, 23 and 24 at the BSU Special Events Center. Tickets on sale now through Select-a-Seat outlets. Ballet Idaho welcomes new and talented dancers this season. Ryland Early, from San Francisco, previously danced with Houston Ballet II, Ballet West, Ballet Arizona, and as a guest artist across the country. John Frazer, from Salt Lake City, is a graduate of the Ballet West Academy and danced with Ballet West until coming to Ballet Idaho this season. “I enjoy the humor and simplicity in Peter’s choreography,” comments Frazer. “The pace at Ballet Idaho is much faster than what I’ve worked before in a professional setting. He pushes you a bit, keeps you sharp. If you don’t pay attention for a little, you’ve missed something.” 2009-2010 company apprentices Monique Betty and Adrienne Kerr return this season as company members. New apprentices joining the company are Brooke Frandsen from Yuma, Arizona. Brooke was a member of Ballet Yuma and has received scholarships to attend Utah Regional Ballet, The Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, Washington and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Kathryn Harden, from New Market, Maryland, began her dancing career at the Frederick School of Classical Ballet and continued at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, in addition, she has studied at summer programs such as the National Ballet of Canada, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Exploring Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Nic Gili from Idaho Falls, started his professional career with the Atlantic City Ballet and attended the Ballet West Summer Intensive on full scholarship before joining Ballet Idaho this fall. Keston Meyer, from Pocatello, Idaho, has studied with Houston Ballet, International Ballet of Houston, Richmond Ballet, and Salzburg Ballet. Principal dancers, Heather Hawk, Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti, Racheal Hummel and Jared Hunt all return to Ballet Idaho from last season.

BALLET INNOVATIONS: Encore, October 8 & 9

Ballet Idaho dancers will bring back to the stage an encore performance of last season’s BALLET INNOVATIONS, showcasing new works as dancers and choreographers on Friday and Saturday, October 8th and 9th at 8:00 p.m. at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy Auditorium on 9th and Myrtle. Eleven members of the company choreographed original pieces to musical selections such as Vivaldi, Louis Armstrong, Project Trio and the Rolling Stones. The entire company of 24 is performing in the various pieces. The dancer-choreographers each have been responsible for all areas of production including choosing costumes, music, lighting and scheduling rehearsal time. Principal company dancer Jared Hunt choreographed a piece to Project Trio entitled Fast. "Choreographing on my colleagues was an invaluable learning experience. It always is! Creating work with people you know is very surprising because you never really know how they will take your movement vocabulary and make it there own. As dancers and choreographers, we are all a product of our experience. Watching that develop within the confines of my choreography was breathtaking!" "What is so nice about Innovations is that a dancer who has not been featured in the regular season repertory can be used as a focal point in a piece and really make their mark on us and the audience,” says Principal Dancer Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti. Tickets are $15 and can be pre-purchased by calling 343-0556 or are available at the door. For more information visit our website at www.balletidaho.org. Watch excerpts from the premier performance of BALLET INNOVATIONS, May 2010.

Kudos to Jared

Kudos to Ballet Idaho's Principal Dancer Jared Hunt, who recently performed in his hometown Ogden, UT partnering with Ballet Idaho Principal Dancer, Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti. Read the review! http://www.standard.net/topics/features/2010/09/16/s-ogden-native-back-after-dancing-around-globe

Ballet Idaho’s Family Series: Baroque! Tickets ON SALE NOW for Saturday, October 16th at Noon

eptember 20, 2010 Contact: Heather Calkins (208) 343-0556 Boise, Idaho – For young families new to ballet, please join us for an interactive presentation of Baroque!, at the Family Series on Saturday, October 16th, at 12:00 pm at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy on 9th and Myrtle in downtown Boise. See the dancers in costume performing highlights from new choreography by Artistic Director, Peter Anastos, titled Trianon, a fairy tale Beauty and the Beast story. Also on the program is a virtuoso piece for a single ballerina and eight men to Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 3 premiering new choreography by Balletmaster Alex Ossadnik. Last on the program will feature a fun-filled, tuneful, toe-tapping ballet, choreographed by Peter Anastos, called Handel in the Strand. Join in a more intimate setting and learn about theater etiquette, meet the characters up close, hear about the creative process from the choreographers and ask about behind-the-scenes aspects of producing ballet. Sponsored by Treasure Valley Family Magazine. Tickets on sale now for $10 each. Call 343-0556 for more information.

Ballet Idaho Opens With Baroque! Introducing New Company Dancers

September 14, 2010 Contact: Heather Calkins (208) 343-0556 Boise, Idaho – Please join Ballet Idaho returning and new company dancers and Artistic Director, Peter Anastos for the 2010-2011 opening season performance of Baroque!, October 22, 23 and 24 at the BSU Special Events Center. Tickets on sale now through Select-a-Seat outlets. Ballet Idaho welcomes new and talented dancers this season. Ryland Early, from San Francisco, previously danced with Houston Ballet II, Ballet West, Ballet Arizona, and as a guest artist across the country. John Frazer, from Salt Lake City, is a graduate of the Ballet West Academy and danced with Ballet West until coming to Ballet Idaho this season. “I enjoy the humor and simplicity in Peter’s choreography,” comments Frazer. “The pace at Ballet Idaho is much faster than what I’ve worked before in a professional setting. He pushes you a bit, keeps you sharp. If you don’t pay attention for a little, you’ve missed something.” 2009-2010 company apprentices Monique Betty and Adrienne Kerr return this season as company members. New apprentices joining the company are Brooke Frandsen from Yuma, Arizona. Brooke was a member of Ballet Yuma and has received scholarships to attend Utah Regional Ballet, The Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, Washington and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Kathryn Harden, from New Market, Maryland, began her dancing career at the Frederick School of Classical Ballet and continued at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, in addition, she has studied at summer programs such as the National Ballet of Canada, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Exploring Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Nic Gili from Idaho Falls, started his professional career with the Atlantic City Ballet and attended the Ballet West Summer Intensive on full scholarship before joining Ballet Idaho this fall. Keston Meyer, from Pocatello, Idaho, has studied with Houston Ballet, International Ballet of Houston, Richmond Ballet, and Salzburg Ballet. Principal dancers, Heather Hawk, Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti, Racheal Hummel and Jared Hunt all return to Ballet Idaho from last season. For more information, call the Ballet Idaho office, 343-0556. # # # # (((Editors: Photo and interview opportunities with dancers and the Artistic Director are available. We would be happy to help in making this a feature story for your publication.))) # # # #

Ballet Idaho launches the season with an Encore Performance of BALLET INNOVATIONS

September 14, 2010 Contact: Heather Calkins (208) 343-0556 Boise, Idaho – Ballet Idaho dancers will bring back to the stage an encore performance of last season’s BALLET INNOVATIONS, showcasing new works as dancers and choreographers on Friday and Saturday, October 8th and 9th at 8:00 p.m. at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy Auditorium on 9th and Myrtle. Eleven members of the company choreographed original pieces to musical selections such as Vivaldi, Louis Armstrong, Project Trio and the Rolling Stones. The entire company of 24 is performing in the various pieces. The dancer-choreographers each have been responsible for all areas of production including choosing costumes, music, lighting and scheduling rehearsal time. Principal company dancer Jared Hunt choreographed a piece to Project Trio entitled Fast. "Choreographing on my colleagues was an invaluable learning experience. It always is! Creating work with people you know is very surprising because you never really know how they will take your movement vocabulary and make it there own. As dancers and choreographers, we are all a product of our experience. Watching that develop within the confines of my choreography was breathtaking!" "What is so nice about Innovations is that a dancer who has not been featured in the regular season repertory can be used as a focal point in a piece and really make their mark on us and the audience,” says Principal Dancer Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti. Tickets are $15 and can be pre-purchased by calling 343-0556 or are available at the door. For more information visit our website at www.balletidaho.org. # # # #

Ballet Idaho's Growth & Innovation Continues

As part of Ballet Idaho’s continued growth and development, the organization announced that Julie Numbers Smith, its transitional Executive Director since 2007, will conclude her role this season. As a result, a national search process will be launched to hire her replacement. Arts Consulting Group (ACG), a national arts management firm, will conduct the search. Using a search firm will allow Ballet Idaho’s senior staff and volunteer leadership to embrace the 2010 season preparation, while the firm focuses recruitment efforts locally, regionally and nationally to secure the best candidate to achieve the Company’s and the Academy’s long-term goals. The search process will be coordinated by Rebekah Lambert, Senior Consultant and Bruce D. Thibodeau, President. Smith, who was hired in May 2007, began as a planning consultant and then accepted the position of Executive Director to establish a resident ballet company in Boise. During her tenure, Ballet Idaho attracted the internationally known Artistic Director Peter Anastos, attracted a unique and very talented company of dancers, staged a new production of The Nutcracker, sustained a four-series season, launched a strategic planning process, and continued its Academy and additional dance education programs. With many strong foundational elements in place after what was originally planned as a one-year role, Smith notes that “Ballet Idaho is now poised for many exciting growth opportunities. The ‘phoenix has emerged,’ and now is the right time for someone new to work with Peter to reach new heights.” “Ballet Idaho’s Board of Directors and staff thanks Julie for her leadership,” stated Board President, Pat March. “She came to the Company as a transitional leader during a period of change and has been instrumental in driving our accomplishments. We were confident she would successfully lead our start up efforts and are deeply grateful that she has spent more than three years helping us establish a strong organizational infrastructure and a solid foundation for the future.” Peter Anastos added, “I moved to Boise from New York because the potential for greatness here is so palpable. It's a wonderful community that looks forward, and Ballet Idaho is fast becoming one of the gems of our cultural scene. Dancers have come from all over the U.S. to join our movement, and it's thrilling to watch how audiences have taken us into their hearts. This is a great opportunity to create the kind of quality that lasts. “During my first two seasons here it was an honor and pleasure to work with Julie Numbers Smith. We have the kind of working relationship that makes an arts organization work best - total trust. In addition, Julie and I became good friends, and we truly enjoyed being together and creating this wonderful new company called Ballet Idaho. She has been a steady rock for me and the dancers throughout this time, and we will miss her very much.” About Ballet Idaho Deeply rooted in the community, Ballet Idaho and its Academy (www.balletidaho.org) create, present, teach and preserve the art form of classic ballet, serving the citizens and visitors of Boise, the state of Idaho and beyond. The organization is poised for tremendous growth in a Company that currently employs 25 artistically superior professional dancers and an Academy that inspires more than 300 students annually. The Company performs a mainstage series at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts and the Special Events Center, both located on the campus of Boise State University. Its Ballet Innovations and Family Series performances take place at its home facility in the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy in the vibrant Downtown Boise Cultural District. The 2010-11 season also includes performances of The Nutcracker in Colorado Springs. About Arts Consulting Group Arts Consulting Group (www.artsconsulting.com) is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, fundraising & marketing consulting, program & facilities planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. ACG has offices located throughout the U.S. with consultants in communities across North America to best serve the needs of its clients.

Wedding Bells….

Summer 2008: A new city… a new job…new friends… and a new company with a fresh vision – all things I couldn’t wait to experience upon moving to Boise. There is one thing, however, I did not anticipate. Falling in love… Nutcracker 2008: I met Grant a couple weeks before performances of The Nutcracker. He attended the show that year. Good move, Grant. Nutcracker 2009: Amazing onstage proposal. Surprised? Yes! Summer 2010: Wedding bells. This summer certainly was about more than just keeping up on my plie and tendu quotas. When the season ended in early May, it meant T-minus 29 days to finish wedding planning. It was crunch time, and I have never had so many details storming through my brain! There were ribbon bows to tie, programs to print, and dresses to alter. The list of decisions to make, reservations to arrange, and logistics to discuss was, at times, overwhelming. However, with the help of family and many generous people along the way, Grant and I planned the big day. I was so excited! However, I was terrified that, A. I would mess up the vows and say something like “I take you, Grant, to be my lawfully wedded wife.” or B. I would trip on the hole that I found in the carpet that seemed strategically located at the exact place I needed to stand. Thankfully, I repeated the vows just fine and managed to stay standing! The ceremony was held at First Baptist Church on May 29th. Family and friends traveled from various parts of Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and even England to join in the celebration! Grant’s father, Dave Gibson, who currently pastors a church in Houston, Texas, officiated the wedding. It was very special having someone who knows us so well play such an integral role in the ceremony. A great celebration ensued at the Rose Room following the ceremony. I warned guests to “Bring your dancing shoes because in case it is any surprise, this bride likes to dance!” With my Ballet Idaho colleagues in attendance and a bridal party full of dancers – there was great fun on the dance floor! I even got Grant dancing! Success!! It was truly a perfect end to a perfect day and a perfect start to our lives together. I couldn’t ask for anything or anyone better! -Angela Napier Gibson, Ballet Idaho Company Dancer [flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157624821337810"]
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