BALLET EAST ALUMNA SOARS AT HOUSTON BALLET

In June of 2015, Ballet East (under the direction of Chelsea Nasby) student Madison Russo, attended the Indianapolis International Ballet Competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. At this event, she was awarded the Jury Award for Contemporary, and was approached by the former director of the Houston Ballet Academy, Shelly Power, who extended an invitation for her to visit their training facility. During this visit, Russo was offered a full merit scholarship to attend the Houston Ballet Academy in the fall.

Acceptance of this incredible offer, meant moving away from family and friends to train at Houston Ballet’s $46.6 million Center for Dance. “Moving away from home at 15 was much harder than I thought it would be. I missed my friends and especially my mom and dad when times were tough”, states Madison. “I just kept telling myself it was going to be worth it.” After six months, Russo was promoted to trainee with Houston Ballet II, the second company to Houston Ballet. Over the last year Madison has performed alongside the main company, participated in Houston Ballet public relations events and appeared on the cover of Leapin Leotards 2017 catalog. 

In January of 2017, Russo was approached by Houston Ballet Academy to represent the school at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Festival to be held this summer in Becket, Massachusetts. Upon auditioning via video submission, Madison was one of twenty-two ballet dancers chosen worldwide to participate, and in addition, granted a scholarship. Jacob’s Pillow was founded by dance pioneer, Ted Shawn and has trained many of the world’s most distinguished dance artists. Located on 220 acres, Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark. While there, Russo premiered a new work by choreographer, Bruce Wells and participated alongside nationally acclaimed companies celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Pillow.

Additionally, in February of 2017, perseverance and dedication landed Russo with a full contract to Houston Ballet II for next season. Being a contracted employee will entail more company participation, touring and community performances. Excited for the future, Russo stays focused on one day receiving a contract with Houston Ballet, America’s 5th largest ballet company. Russo’s debut performance with Houston Ballet II hits the stage September 22 – 24, 2017 in the production of ballet legend Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling. “The Houston Ballet being such a diverse company with both its repertory and its dancers, is a place I dream of being one day,” says Miss Russo. “I am incredibly thankful for the support of my family, and especially the wonderful training I received while at Ballet East. I know I would not be where I am today without them!”

Ballet East is now accepting students as young as 2.5 years – Pre-Professional for the 2017/2018 Season. Please contact Ballet East to inquire how to sign up your aspiring dancer. Inquires accepted at 561.683.0096,  info@balleteastfl.com, www.balleteastfl.com

Photos © Brooke Trisolini, brooke.trisolini@gmail.com taken at Jacob's Pillow, Becket, MA. 

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Ballet East Students Receive Top Honors at Florida Dance Masters

Students of Ballet East were honored at the Annual Florida Dance Masters (FDM) Competition that took place April 21 - 23, 2017 in Coral Springs, FL. Ballet East Student Daisia Pulz was among the top finishers who took 1st place in Solo Division as well 1st overall at the competition with her self-choreographed piece titled "Existence". Pulz was also honored with the 2017 recipient of the Choreography by Student Award.

In addition, multiple Ballet East Students were honored with Top 20 achievements in both classical and contemporary overall categories. Students Olivia Capasso (2nd), Andrea Mish (3rd), Daisia Pulz (4th), Alexis Genzone (5th), Shea Siben (9th), Erica Borden (12th), Evelyn Borden (14th), Andrea Mish (15th), Isabella Tome (16th) were among those to receive top honors.  

In the competitive ensemble division, Ballet East piece titled Don Giovanni, choreographed by Chelsea placed 1st and was invited to perform in Orlando for the 2017 November Convention. Nasby was honored with the 2017 Choreography award for piece Don Giovanni. 

In addition to the high achievements, Ballet East students Logan Betts, Payton Borowski, Erica Borden, Evelyn Borden, Gabriella Brockway, Sara Connor, Maia Derrevere, Alexis Genzone, Faith Hunt, Genevieve Merkle, Andea Mish, Ashley Nazzar, Hayden Pontius, Daisia Pulz, Sydney Sheldon, Shea Siben, Angelina Sierra and Isabella Tome, were recognized for the outstanding achievements in the FDM Convention Classes taught by renown master instructors. Students Erica Borden, Payton Borowski, Gabriella Brockway, Daisia Pulz and Shea Siben were selected by the FDM faculty to receive a $25 scholarship to the November Convention.

FDM is an organization that is dedicated to promoting excellent dance education for instructors as well as aspiring students. FDM meets three times each season, July through June, to offer opportunities for teacher training, convention classes, title and group competitions, student performances, and student scholarships. FLORIDA DANCE MASTERS, INC. is committed to advancing the art of dance through quality education for teachers and their students.

Ballet East is now accepting students from ages 2.5-pre-professional for summer sessions. In addition, Ballet East Youth Ensemble Members will participate in the premier production of Coppélia June 16 and 17, 2017 held at the Eissey Campus Theatre. For more information, please contact Ballet East at 561.683.0096 or BalletEastFL@gmail.com.

2017 Summer Intensive Faculty Released

One of South Florida's finest training schools, Ballet East seeks top talent for the 2017 Summer Intensive. This season marks 46th anniversary of the school's existence. Ballet East is known for providing top quality training to students in South Florida. Recent graduates of the program (ages 14-17) went on to attend outstanding finishing schools such as Houston Ballet Academy, School of American Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. International success can be found with Alum Alex Anderson who was recently offered a contract with Nederlands Dans Theatre 1 after preforming with NDT2 company for several years.     

The current list of world-renown instructors that will be teaching during the intensive received their training/experience from the following: Marcie Bowers-Russo, USA; Doreen Cafarella, USA; Elena Kiyanenko-Chiet, Russia; Oxana Kiyanenko, Austria/Russia; Andréa Mafra Gregori, Brazil; Bree Nasby, USA; Chelsea Nasby, USA, Alla Nikitina, Ukraine; Olivier Pardina, France.

Please see the full list of current Ballet East 2017 Faculty below. Additional instructors TBA. 


Chelsea Nasby, Owner and Artistic Director, Contemporary Faculty

Chelsea Nasby began her early dance training in West Palm Beach, Florida. She attended Jon Mullen’s Performing Arts Center, continued her training at BAK School of the Arts and later graduated from AW Dreyfoos Junior School
of the Arts located in West Palm Beach.

Nasby went on to earn her Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a duel major of Management and Marketing from Florida Atlantic University in 2009. Shortly after graduation, Nasby purchased Susan Lyle Studios from Miss Susan Lyle and currently owns and directs the school, now called Ballet
East.

Nasby has been honored to choreograph works for students throughout the nation, direct full-length children’s ballets, and coach students for International Competitions such as Youth America Grand Prix and American Dance Competition.

In 2014, Nasby became the rehearsal director for the West Palm Beach children's roles in Miami City Ballet Presents George
Balanchine's The Nutcracker TM. Chelsea has been recognized nationally for many outstanding achievements.

Recent achievements include 2014, 2015, 2016 ADC-IBC Outstanding Choreographer, 2016 UBC Outstanding Choreographer, 2015 YAGP Outstanding Choreographer, 2014 and 2015-work selection to perform at the Youth America Grand Prix Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala.

This summer, Nasby’s students will train at programs such as School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Ellison Ballet, Haird Conservatory, Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Ellison Ballet and Miami City Ballet to name a few.

Nasby is a certified member of Florida Dance Masters and is a Member of The International Association for Dance Medicine and Science.                                  


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Marcie Bowers-Russo, Ballet Faculty

Marcie Bowers-Russo began her early training locally at the Palm Beach Ballet Centre under the direction of Joan Miller, and continued her study during the summers at Ballet West and Rosella Hightower’s School in Cannes, France. During her study, she was privileged to perform with the Key West Dance Theatre and the Jacksonville Ballet. Bowers-Russo was also featured in a dance education film with Russian ballerina Ilona Vera, and at the age of seventeen won a bronze medal at the International

Ballet Competition of the Americas. In 1981, Bowers-Russo began her professional career with the Ballet Concerto of Miami, and continued on with Ballet Mississippi where she rose to the rank of principal dancer. Bowers-Russo has taught, choreographed, and coached locally for the past 20 years and is a certified member of Florida Dance Masters, Inc


Doreen Cafarella, Ballet Faculty

Doreen Cafarella has been a dance educator for twenty-five years. In 1986, Cafarella founded Northern Ballet Theatre Dance Center that has gained a reputation for excellence in dance training. Students of Cafarella have gone on to dance with companies such as Boston Ballet, Ballet West and Joffrey Ballet to name a few. Other students have found success as Rockettes and Garrett Hawe, had his Broadway debut in Marry Poppins and presently has the role of “Albert” in the new Broadway show Newies.

Students have also participated in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix competition, where several students were offered full scholarships to ABT and Cafarella received the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Cafarella has danced with notable companies such as Boston Ballet, New England Ballet, Boston Repertory Ballet, Atlantic Ballet and Ballet Arts Ensemble. Her teaching credits include: Northern Ballet Theatre Dance Center, The Boston Conservatory of Music and Dance, The Edra Toth School of Ballet and Ballet Arts Academy. 


Andréa Mafra Gregori, Ballet Faculty

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ms. Gregori graduated from theMaria Olenewa State School and Rio Dance Center. In 1980, she was invited to the trainee program at the Joffrey Ballet where she expanded her dance education.

While still a dancer Ms. Gregori decided to fulfill her passion for teaching, and received extensive training in the Russian Methodology (Vaganova System)

training in the Russian Methodology (Vaganova System). Later on, she became proficient and certified in the Cuban (Escuela Nacional de Ballet) and English (Royal Academy of Dance) ballet methodologies. She is also an ABT® Certified Teacher—ABT® National Training Curriculum, Primary through Level 7 & Partnering. In addition, Ms. Gregori pursued a certification in “Psicoballet” (dance therapy) with Dr. Georgina Fariñas Garcia—Havana, Cuba—at IPIA (Psychiatric Institute for Childhood and Adolescence) in São Paulo, Brazil.

For seven years, Ms. Gregori owned and directed “Escola Paulista de Dança,” where she also choreographed, produced; costumed and scenic designed a total of eight ballet productions.

Throughout her thirty two years of experience as a professional ballet teacher, Ms. Gregori has prepared numerous students for the Royal Academy of Dance and The Cuban Ballet School’s exams as well as for national and international ballet competitions —winning many prizes. She assisted in the production of a variety of full-length ballets, some of which include Giselle, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Sleeping Beauty, and staged several suites and children’s performances.


Olivier Pardina, Ballet Faculty

Olivier Pardina, a former Artistic Director and Principal Instructor at the Nice Opera Ballet School, Pardina has lived in the United States since 1991. He taught at The HARID Conservatory for 20 years and has taught master classes throughout the world. Pardina has been a guest teacher at American Ballet Theatre and the Youth American Grand Prix, the world's largest student ballet competition. A native of France, Pardina began his ballet training at age 10.  His training included master teachers from the Paris Opera Ballet. The Nice Opera Ballet offered the 16 year old Pardina his first professional position and promoted him to the rank of Principal Dancer by the end of his first year.

Pardina has toured with Rudolph Nureyev and worked closely with him as his understudy while working for the Nancy Ballet Theatre.  He also danced and toured the world with major French ballet companies. Among his breakthrough roles, was his portrayal of Petrouchka, in Hommage a Diaghilev. He also received critical acclaim for his performances in Serge Lifar’s Phedra, Moses Pendleton’s Pulcinella, Birgit Cullberg’s Miss Julie and Hans Van Manen’s Songs Without Words, Five Tangos, and Septet Extra. His students have won major prizes at both national and international dance competitions and many are now principal dancers at some of the top ballet companies in the United States and Europe.

Pardina is currently a principal instructor at the Miami City Ballet School Pre-Professional Division, instructing students at the Advanced Level.


Alla Nikitina, Character Dance Faculty

Alla Nikitina was born in Ukraine and began her early training at the Donetsk School of Ballet. She was invited to attend St. Petersburg State Academy of the Arts in Russia where she studied the Vaganova method of classical ballet, and was extensively trained in all methods of character dance.

Nikitina graduated from the Academy with honors in 1979. She then embarked on a successful career with a number of Russian dance companies. Soon, she was performing as a soloist at the prestigious State Academic Ensemble of Dance in Russia. In 1985, Nikitina founded the Rovesnik Dance Company in Kiev, Ukraine. Her company’s numerous appearances received high awards for excellence and mastership at national and international dance competitions and festivals. This includes the first prize at the First National Choreographer’s competition in Ukraine in 1985. Nikitina was also honored with the much sought after N. Livitsky National Award for her work as a choreographer.

In 1997, Nikitina moved to the United States and began working as a full time member of the faculty at Hartford Ballet, Hartt School, and BFA Dance Division of the University of Hartford. She has also been a guest teacher at a number of professional dance schools including Brass City Ballet and School of Rochester Ballet.

Nikitina was invited to join Boston Ballet School as a full time faculty member in 2008.  For Boston Ballet School, Nikitina has choreographed many original works including Dance of the Girls and Lesginka for Next Generation in 2012, Demonstration D’Etudiants and Alice in Wonderland for Spring Showcase, and East Meets West for Summer Dance Program in 2012.   She staged several works for Summer Dance Program students, including Character Dances from Flames of Paris in 2009, Gypsy Dance in 2010, and Aragon Jota in 2011.


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Bree Nasby, Contemporary Faculty

Bree Nasby grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida. She attended A.W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts with a focus in dance. She holds a BFA in dance performance from SUNY Purchase College where she spent a semester abroad studying at London Contemporary Dance School. She was a part of San Francisco based company tinypistol in 2014-2015. In NYC she has danced with Molly Mingey Projects in addition to founding private parts, with Quinn Dixon in 2015.


Elena Kiyanenko-Chiet, Rhythmic Gymnastics Faculty

25 years experience of coaching (1986-2011 Olympic Sports School, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation)
1978 Master of Sport of rhythmic gymnastics of Russian Federation
1978-1980 Multiple Champion in groups (USSR)
1979-1980 Member of the National Team of the USSR Numerous

Rhythmic champion of St. Petersburg (Russian Federation)
1986 graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Training from State Institute of Physical Training named after P.F. Lesgaft
1990 – present National Judge (Russia)
1996 – present International Brevet Judge
2006-2011 Worked with Italian National Team
2011 USAG Safety Certified
2011 USAG Professional Member


Oxana Kiyanenko (Rhythmic Gymnastics Faculty, Ballet Faculty)

Oxana Kiyanenko, born in St. Petersburg (former Leningrad) studied under Altynai Asylmuratova, Vasilieva Marina, Tarasova Natalia and Desnitskiy Vadim in the Vaganova Ballet Academy where she graduated in 2006.

Following graduation, Kiyanenko was offered a contract with Vienna State Ballet. Kiyanenko has been with Vienna State Ballet since 2006.

As a professional dancer, Kiyanenko has performed roles in Le Corsaire by Manuel Legris, Onegin by John Cranko, Sleeping Beauty Nutrcarcker, Swanlake, Don Quijote, Raymonda by Nurejew, Fledermaus, Snowqueen, Bella Figura by Jiri Kylian, Marie Antoinette by Patrick De Bana, Karenina, Red Giselle by Eifman, Mozart À2 by Thierry Malandain, Bluebeard by Stephan Thoss, Midsummer Night´s Dream by Jorma Elo, Theme and Variations, Who Cares? By Balanchine

Kiyanenko has danced the openings on various occasions for the “Wiener Opernball”.

Kiyanenko finished the Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health in 2013 with a degree in Aesthetic Gymnastic. Assisting a rhythmic-gymnastic coach and a choreographer at the Rhythmic Art Sport Center (in Miami).


Erin B Haag, Certified Pilates Instrcutor, Owner of Pilates of Palm Beach

Erin B Haag, a graduate of A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, studied dance at The Dance Center, Ballet Florida, North Carolina School of the Arts, Broadway Theatre Project, and Webster University's Conservatory for Theatre & Dance. It was Erin's love of dance, which led her to Pilates because of its unique ability to strengthen and condition the dancer's body. Erin is a Classically Certified Pilates Instructor through Power Pilates and the Pilates Method Alliance, and she is also a certified Teacher Trainer, which means she certifies aspiring Pilates instructors to teach. In 2009, Erin opened Pilates of Palm Beach and is proud to be recognized as the premiere Classical Pilates studio in the area. Erin enjoys training dancers and athletes alike in Pilates and is excited to bring the Classical Pilates Method to Ballet East. 

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Shelley Sweat, Certified Senior Pilates Instructor

Shelley is a Senior Level Instructor at Pilates of Palm Beach in Boynton Beach. She is comprehensively certified through Power Pilates, an internationally recognized training program based in New York City. She has been teaching Pilates for 5 years, and is also certified in the Xtend Barre

Shelley studied dance at Brenau University, where she performed with the Gainesville Ballet Company. She holds a degree in Marketing from Florida State University, and previously worked in direct sales, marketing and public relations.


Caroline Schwarz, Yoga Faculty

Caroline Schwarz is a certified RYT200hr Yoga Instructor. Ms. Schwarz is New York native whose passion is connecting our minds with our bodies, and finding the balance that allows us to see new perspectives in this world. Ms. Schwarz creates her classes inspired by her Anatomy based training, where she uses her knowledge of the anatomical body and energy centers, to develop sequences that strengthen the body and help expand each student’s flexibility and balance to their most comfortable level. Be prepared to explore deep within your inner self and doing it all with a smile on your face! 

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Ballet East Seeks Top Talent to Attend the 2017 Summer Intensive

One of South Florida's finest training schools, Ballet East seeks top talent for the 2017 Summer Intensive. This season marks 46th anniversary of the school's existence. Ballet East is known for providing top quality training to students in South Florida. Recent graduates of the program (ages 14-17) went on to attend outstanding finishing schools such as Houston Ballet Academy, School of American Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. International success can be found with Alum Alex Anderson who was recently offered a contract with Nederlands Dans Theatre 1 after preforming with NDT2 company for several years.     

The current list of world-renown instructors that will be teaching during the intensive received their training/experience from the following: Marcie Bowers-Russo, USA; Doreen Cafarella, USA; Elena Kiyanenko-Chiet, Russia; Oxana Kiyanenko, Austria/Russia; Andréa Mafra Gregori, Brazil; Bree Nasby, USA; Chelsea Nasby, USA, Alla Nikitina, Ukraine; Olivier Pardina, France.

The program will run for advanced students from July 17th - August 11th, 2017. Two audition options are available Saturday February 25th and Saturday March 11th ages 9+. For more information please visit http://www.balleteastfl.com/summerintensive

Classes will include Ballet, Pre-Pointe, Pointe, Variations, Pas de Deux, Contemporary, Character, Pilates, Yoga, Strength and Stretch and Rhythmic Gymnastic disciplines. Additional classes are offered to enhance dance education and include Dance History, Costuming, Nutrition and Repwork.  

Select advanced students attending 4-Week Program (July 17th - August 11th) or the 2-Week Option 2 (July 31st - August 11th) will be invited to perform contemporary works on camera by award winning Ballet East Director Chelsea Nasby.

Advanced Students auditioning will be eligible for select scholarships. Students auditioning will also be considered for the Ballet East Pre-Professional Program and Accelerated Training Program for the 2017-2018 Season.

Ballet East Student Daisia Pulz to attend YoungArts Miami

Ballet East student Daisia Pulz to attend YoungArts Miami February 21st - 26th, 2017. During the intensive, week-long and all-inclusive program, artists across 10 disciplines participate in master classes and workshops with internationally recognized leaders.

The promising young artists will also have the chance to share their talents with the public through multidisciplinary performances, writers’ readings, a cinematic arts screening and a visual arts exhibition on the YoungArts Campus and at the Miami Theater Center.

An invitation to this national event was granted to 691 of the nation’s most promising young artists in the literary, visual, design and performing arts. Selected from the largest pool of applicants to date, and representing artists from 42 states, YoungArts Winners receive cash awards of up to $10,000, mentorship and training from acclaimed artists, opportunities to participate in YoungArts programs, and guidance in taking important steps toward achieving their artistic goals. Winners represent the top 8.67% of applications and include 167 Finalists, the organization’s highest honor.

Pulz was honored with 1 of 6 choreography awards receiving a 2017 Honorable Mention for outstanding achievement in Dance Choreography. To purchase tickets to watch Pulz perform her incredible work at the Miami Theater Center on February 25th please visit http://www.youngarts.org/youngarts-miami

The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison. YoungArts’ signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12 from across the United States. Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, YoungArts Winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentors—such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sarah Brightman, Plácido Domingo, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Wynton Marsalis, Rebecca Walker and Carrie Mae Weems—and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions.

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Ballet East Sudents Receive Top Honors at Universal Ballet Competition

Students of Ballet East were honored at the 4th Annual Universal Ballet Competition that took place February 18th – 19th in Miramar, FL. Among the top finishers were Ballet East students Shea Siben, who took the 3rd place in the junior contemporary competitive category and Daisia Pulz took 3rd place in the senior contemporary competitive category.

In addition, multiple Ballet East Students were honored with Top 15 achievements in both classical and contemporary categories. Students Erica Borden, Junior Division (4th), Isabella Tome, Junior Division (10th), Andrea Mish, Senior Division (5th), Olivia Capasso, Senior Division (11th), Evelyn Borden, Senior Division (12th) placed among the top finishers the classical competitive ballet division. In the competitive contemporary division, students Erica Borden, Junior Division (6th), Isabella Tome, Junior Division (7th), Olivia Capasso Senior Competitive (4th), Andrea Mish, Senior Division (7th) and Alexis Genzone, Senior Competitive (9th) were among those to received top honors.  

In the junior competitive ensemble division, Ballet East piece titled Don Giovanni, choreographed by Chelsea placed 1st and was awarded a $100 Capezio Award of Excellence. In addition, ensemble piece titled Tyll choreographed by Chelsea Nasby took 3rd place in the junior competitive ensemble division.

In addition to the high achievements, Ballet East students Parker Geraghty, Shea Siben, Angelina Sierra were granted acceptance into the Sarasota Ballet Summer Intensive. A 50% Scholarship to Move the Initiative were awarded to Olivia Capasso and Daisia Pulz.  Olivia Capasso and Angelina Sierra were also awarded with a 50% Scholarship to Modas Dance Summer Intensive. 

Universal Ballet Competition’s (UBC) vision is to be recognized as the nation’s premier ballet competition bridging exceptionally talented dancers of all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds with quality dance education, opportunities in dance, and professional careers.

Ballet East is now accepting students from ages 2.5-pre-professional for their summer sessions. Auditions for the Ballet East Summer Intensive will take place on February 25th and March 11th, 2017 (click here for more info). In addition, Ballet East Youth Ensemble Members will participate in the premier production of Coppélia June 16th and 17th, 2017 held at the Eissey Campus Theatre. For more information please contact Ballet East at 561.683.0096 or BalletEastFL@gmail.com.

Ballet East Students Receive Top Honors at Intenational Ballet Competition

Ballet East Student Nicole Alfaro performing Kitri from Don Quixote at American Dance Competition.

Ballet East Student Nicole Alfaro performing Kitri from Don Quixote at American Dance Competition.

Students of Ballet East were honored at the 10th Annual American Dance Competition-International Ballet Competition (ADC-IBC) that took place March 17th – 22nd in Daytona Beach, FL. Among the top finishers were Ballet East students Jules Mabie, who the Gold Medal (1st place) in both classical and contemporary in the junior men’s category. Nicole Alfaro took the Bronze Medal and Carley Anderson received the Gold Medal in the junior women’s contemporary category. Student Madison Russo was also honored with the Gold Medal in the senior women’s classical category.

In addition, multiple Ballet East Students were honored with Top 20 achievements in both classical and contemporary categories. Students Nicole Alfaro (5th Place), Carley Anderson (4th Place), Erica Borden (top 15), Tara Brigham (top 20) and Paige Lewis (Top 15) placed amongst the top finishers the classical ballet division. In the contemporary division, students Erica Borden (Top 15), Evelyn Borden (Top 20), Tara Brigham (Top 20), Paige Lewis (Top 15) and Madison Russo (5th Place) were amongst those to received top honors.  

In the ensemble division, Ballet East piece titled Falling Gently, Floating Down, choreographed by Chelsea and Bree Nasby placed 1st and was awarded 1k for this achievement. In addition, ensemble piece titled Four to Tango choreographed by Doreen Cafarella took 5th place in the ensemble division.

Director Chelsea Nasby was honored with the Outstanding Choreographer award for the many pieces she choreographed for her students that were presented at the ADC-IBC Competition.

In addition to the high achievements, Ballet East outstanding scholarships and offers were granted to Nicole Alfaro: Houston Ballet, Modas Dance; Carley Anderson: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Art of Movement, Modas Dance; Evelyn Borden: International Ballet Academy, Modas Dance, Tara Brigham: Modas Dance, Paige Lewis: Texas Ballet Theatre, Modas Dance, Jules Mabie: The Harid Conservatory, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet; Reese Rengstl: Modas Dance; and Madison Russo Boston Ballet Trainee Program, Modas Dance.

ADC-IBC is a pre-professional International Ballet Competition for all nationalities, ages 7-21, with an aim not simply to reveal, but shape exceptional future talents of the dance world. ADC-IBC pursues this objective by employing a more pedagogical approach, than competitive. The team of coaches and esteemed panel work individually with the candidates, and is a unique experience, with a timelessly rich, ethical atmosphere, where the art of dance is the focus. With each candidate required to undergo a more rigorous evaluation system, ADC-IBC has a distinct ability to discover potential, and to offer educational opportunities to leading ballet programs, in addition to invaluable professional exposure to world-renowned dance professionals.

Ballet East is now accepting students from ages 3-pre-professional for their summer sessions. In addition, Ballet East Youth Ensemble Members will participate in the premier production of The Secret Garden June 19th and 20th, 2015 held at the Eissey Campus Theatre. For more information please contact Ballet East at 561.683.0096 or BalletEastFL@gmail.com.

BE Student Madison Russo Performing Kitri from Don Quixote at American Dance Competition.

BE Student Madison Russo Performing Kitri from Don Quixote at American Dance Competition.


 

The Making of Kitri for Don Quixote

There are many elements that help ballerinas transform into majestic princesses, delicate swans and international beauties. The dancer spends countless hours perfecting the technical and artistic details to fully embody each character. Much like the dancer, the costume and set designers spend hundreds of painstaking hours poring over each detail to capture the spirit of the characters and create the ambiance of the Ballet.

On average, it requires very skilled hands, 100+ hours of labor and depending on the crystals, applique and materials used, upwards of a thousand dollars to make a single tutu.

Designer/seamstress Kristi Medlin constructed the costume for the role of the fiery Kitri for the Ballet Don Quixote. Here are her thoughts on the process:  

“For a bit of inspiration we looked to the lush and vibrant costumes of American Ballet Theater's production of Don Quixote. The role of Kitri was originally played by American Ballet icon Gelsey Kirkland who danced opposite of legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov for the company premier in 1978. The costumes for this production were designed by award winning Santo Loquasto. (Pictured above, ABT principal dancer Polina Semionova as Kitri.)”

There were several reasons why we pulled from this design for inspiration. The dancer, Madison Russo approached costume designer Kristi Medlin with several requests. It was important that the color be an orange or peach hue, the dancer wanted the more unique look as opposed to the typically red costume. The dancer also expressed interest in having the back of the costume dip down slightly to show off the back, she also requested a sweetheart shaped bodice to complete the look.”

After several discussions, measurements were taken and Kristi Medlin traveled back to her in-home shop to bring the role of Kitri come to life!

 
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Bodice Photos 1 & 2
"I start with a basic pattern so I don't have to labor over beginning from scratch. After I have the proper pattern I cut it out in coutile to make a mockup for sizing. Coutile is a very dense material that is ideal for using on the back of decorative fabric to hold the shape. It is also 100% cotton to absorb the moisture from the dancer."

"I pinned the mockup to the dress form with the dancer's measurements. Then I used a pencil for the top line of the bodice. The dancer wanted a low back. The front will have an under bodice to cover the center of the sweetheart shape. The bottom edge will be determined when I have the skirt prepared to see exactly how they lay."

Bodice Photos 3 & 4
"I then use my mockup to cut the decorative fabric and serge the fabric together."

Bodice Photo 5
"I stitch all of the pieces together and make adjustments to be sure that the bodice has a snug fit on the form. A bodice is like a second skin but you do not want it so tight that it will affect the dancing! Because I am designing a costume that will be worn by other dancers, I will need to take into consideration different proportions of dancers that may be wearing this costume in the future. To help with fitting different sizes, I leave a bit of fabric near the back enclosure so that additional hooks an eyes may be added."

Bodice Photos 6, 7 & 8
"I adjusted the neckline again and now get to do a bit of fun decorating! Anything goes...just remember, usually less is more. It is important that the costume does not overpower the dancer, the costume should add to the performance, not distract from the performance."

Bodice Photo 9
"I used 1/4" silk ribbon and gathered a 3 & 1/4" section on the edge. I added a small decorative bead and a bit of green ribbon and presto! I now have delicate silk flowers to adorn the top of the bodice."

Bodice Photos 10 & 11
"I add boning casing to the seams of the front of the bodice. I usually add 5 to 6 casing per bodice. For this design, I did not need to add boning to the back because it dipped lower and due to all of the dancing that calls for an arched back."

Bodice Photo 12
"I add hooks on the back of the bodice and sew by machine to make the process faster!"

Bodice Photo 13
"This picture shows the finished edge and the inside of the bodice. After all the machine work is completed I sew the inside edges down so that the bodice lays flat."

Bodice Photos 14, 15 & 16
"I hand sewed beads down the center of the bodice and the flowers to the top to complete the look."

Bodice Photo 17
"I added elastic to the bodice but do not sew the back of the elastic down until the dancer has a fitting and the fit is comfortable while dancing."

Bodice Photo 18
"I hand sewed buttons to the bodice for the buttonhole elastic that will be attached to the skit to help hold the bodice and skirt together."

Completed bodice for American Ballet Theater

Completed bodice for American Ballet Theater

Completed bodice for Ballet East

Completed bodice for Ballet East

 
 

Skirt Photo 1
"I used my math skills to make the pattern for 4 tiers of flounces for the skit. I hope they still work!"

Skirt Photos 2 & 3
"I cut out all of the circles, surged the material together to make a full circle and then surged the edges where the material was cut. I don't do any hemming on this tutu as I want it to be as light as possible."

Skirt Photos 4 & 5
Here is a close up on the surger. The surger is a bit different than a normal sewing machine.

Skirt Photos 6, 7 & 8
"After I surge the edges and the material together to make complete circles I am ready to sew the 4 tiers to the bottom trim. These layers will be the top flounces of the skirt." 

Skirt Photos 9, 10, 11 & 12
"I stitched the four skirt quarters together with a single layer of netting for strength. I put the netting on the outside so that it is not rough on the dancer's skin. This also helps with preserving the delicate tights that the dancer may wear. The complete circle will be attached to the basque. Each seam is stitched down on the skirt for stability. From there, I measure for length and stitch three rows for flounce placement."

"The forth flounce will be at the basque level. Starting at the bottom stitching placement, I pined the first flounce row."

Skirt Photo 13
"I cut on the bias tons and tons of 1 and 1/2" strips of organza. I will gather this material and use it  for the trim of the four tiered skirt."

Skirt Photos 14 & 15
"I placed the strips of organza through a ruffler. This is a sewing machine attachment that has been around for over 75 years! " 

Skirt Photos 16 & 17
Here are photos of the completed ruffles attached to the material that will make the top tiers of the skirt.

Skirt Photos 18 & 19
"Time to make the basque. The basque is located at the top of the skirt and lies against the dancer's waist and hips. I make one layer of decorative fabric and one layer of coutile for stability. I also add a top layer with 1" elastic. The bottom edges gets a bias binding and that is how the skit is attached!"

Skirt Photos 20 & 21
"I added the hooks by machine prior to adding the basque to the skirt because it is much easier to work with.

I sewed the buttonhole elastic the top elastic band of the basque. The buttonhole elastic will attached to the buttons sewn on the bodice to keep the costume held tightly in the proper place on the dancer."

Skirt Photos 22, 23 & 24
"I made a pantie like I would for a classical tutu that will be attached to the skirt to keep it in place. No need for pantie ruffles on this one due to it being a longer skirt rather than a classical or bell shaped tutu. I dyed the skirt the first time and the color was way off! I then added a bit more red to the dye and the color turned out perfectly. After the pantie dried I attached it to the skirt after I attached the last flounce row."

The process of the skirt

Madison Russo in the completed Kitri Costume.

Madison Russo in the completed Kitri Costume.

Madison in rehearsal with Olivier Pardina testing out the movement of the skirt.

Students Asked to Train Year-Round at Multiple Professional Programs

I would like to congratulate four students of Ballet East for the great achievement of being asked by the summer programs they are attending to join the year-round training program at the following:

Carley Anderson - Orlando Ballet
Jules Mabie - Orlando Ballet
Breana McGhee - The Harid Conservatory
Madison Russo - Miami City Ballet

The faculty and BE family are very proud of your wonderful accomplishments! Train hard and amazing opportunities will begin to come your way!