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Ballet Rising

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Ballet Rising

Casey Herd in The Dutch National Ballet's production of La Bayadère. Photo by Angela Sterling

Casey Herd in The Dutch National Ballet's production of La Bayadère. Photo by Angela Sterling

Years ago, it seemed most big stars in the ballet world came from places like Europe and North America with a few from other places like Japan, Cuba and Argentina. Nowadays the talent pool has expanded, and more and more big names are coming from countries like China, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea and many more. There is an expansion underway due to globalization that seems like it will only continue and fuel the exposure to, and the passion for, international arts like ballet.  More and more dancers are coming from a wider range of ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. As ballet expands it is changing, and we want to take an in-depth look at what these forces are and bring their stories to global audiences. Ballet already speaks to people on a profound level, but imagine the level of engagement when people all over the world see ballet as something that represents them. How will they feel when ballet becomes something attainable? This is the beginning towards ballet becoming a truly global art form that welcomes all to take part and engage with dance and art lovers all over the world.



Come join the adventure and discover how classical ballet is rising in every corner of our planet: www.balletrising.com

 

 

Support this exciting new project at www.fundballet.com *Crowdfunding campaign begins April 18, 2019*

 

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New Zealand In December

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New Zealand In December

This past November/December I had two dreams come true. The first was an opportunity to dance with The Royal New Zealand Ballet in one of my all time favourite ballets. The second was taking advantage of being in New Zealand and venturing off to explore the South Island. New Zealand is world renowned for being one of the best locations on the planet for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It had been high on my list of places to see for many years, so after a couple of successful performances I had to head South. I first flew from Wellington to Christchurch as Queenstown was outrageously expensive but I also wanted to make a circular pattern through the centre to the South and then back up the West Coast. I was going by car the whole distance. I picked up my car and immediately left for Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. The next day I spent hiking through Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and found out why so many people recommend doing the Hooker Valley Track. Simply stunning! Then I was off to Manapouri as I had an overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound/Fiordland National Park. That absolute took my breath away but nothing could prepare me for what I experienced the day after that. I finally saw Milford Sound and it was everything I was hoping for and more. Being one of the greatest natural wonders of our world, it is the perfect example of how photos, videos and everything else we have made cant do it justice. Driving into the park takes you on a journey that starts off spectacularly beautiful and only gets better from there. The final decent out of a high mountain pass tunnel was like decending into heaven. From there I went back North discovering Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea and passed through Mt Aspiring National Park before settling in at Jackson Bay. My last full day I drove North passing by Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier and spending the night in Arthur's Pass. It was one of my all-time favourite road-trips and I have been left with only the best impression of New Zealand. People always say that Kiwis are some of the nicest people on the planet and I found that to be true but another side note is that my fellow tourists were also a very pleasant bunch. I met so many people from around the world, as I usually do on these types of adventures, but this bunch was different. There was a much stronger sense of support and curiosity coming from these people. Ive never had so many fun and inspiring conversations with so many fellow travelers about where they are from and what they plan to do in New Zealand. Everybody was pulling together to help each other get the best experience they could out of their journey. It really was a dream come true and I now wear my All Blacks jersey with a great sense of pride. I loved New Zealand and I really hope to return someday soon! The only thing that could have been better was to have more time! 


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A Dream Come True With A Bittersweet Twist

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A Dream Come True With A Bittersweet Twist

Photo by Angela Sterling

Photo by Angela Sterling

Today is a dream come true with a bittersweet twist. Today I will fulfil a dream that has its roots in a time when my interest in ballet consisted only of a select few classical ballets. Before I saw the ballet “In The Middle Somewhat Elevated” I had little desire to dance anything other than a handful of classics. It was "In The Middle,” as we refer to it, that changed forever my perspective on ballet and dance as a whole. In 1999 I joined The Pacific Northwest Ballet looking to reinvigorate my love of dance after a disappointing start to my career in New York City. I learned that we would be dancing this already legendary ballet that season and it was just what I needed. The ballet would change me agin, not because of the choreography, but because I met a man who changed the way I felt about how to work. That man was there to stage the ballet and his name was Glen Tuggle. We were all very tuned into to what he was saying and what he wanted not only because we all really wanted to dance the ballet but because he had a way of working that light up the room and encouraged us all to push further and go harder simply because we were having fun. We loved what we were doing and he encouraged us to laugh and enjoy working our selves to death. “In The Middle” is a very difficult ballet. You have to be in shape or you will collapse in the middle of the stage and pass out! We were killing our selves and as soar as we were at the end of the day we couldn’t wait to get back into the studio and do it again. Glen wanted us to have fun and he gave us the confidence to do it well but also to do it our way. After this experience I began to open my eyes and from that point on I was known as dancer who never said no to trying something unusual. I danced ballets suspended from ropes. I danced ballets in the dark. I even did a pas de deux with a car! I went on to work with Glen several more times and we always had a great time woking our selves to the bone along side his witty but crass sense of humour. After joining The Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam Glen came to stage “Middle” and again the room was on fire with dancers pouring their hearts out and loving every second of it. It was in Amsterdam where my career seemed to come to an end as I was leaving the Dutch National Ballet with an ankle surgery and an uncertain future. I thought I wanted to continue dancing but at almost 40 I didn’t know how or if I could “climb the mountain again” and get back into shape. I called Glen and as always he had a way of lifting my spirits. I thought to my self at that time, thinking that it wasn’t possible, but if I could do any ballet just one more time what would it be? It didn’t take more more than a second to think, “Middle!” I was teaching in Mexico a year later when I had a conversation with my old colleague from Seattle, Patricia Barker, who is now directing The Royal New Zealand Ballet, and she asked me if I would be interested in coming to Wellington to dance “Middle.” I almost exploded with joy before I almost had a panic attack. I first thought YES, and then suddenly wondered if I could still do it! I never back down from a challenge so I began to climb the mountain and before I knew it I was on a plane to New Zealand. Getting my self back into form for such a difficult ballet hasn’t been easy but since arriving here I have been surrounded by a group of dancers and staff that could not be more welcoming. These dancers are exceptional and set a very high standard. They also have open minds and a will to excel and they embrace outsiders as if they are one of their own. It has been a real honour to be here and to work with such a wonderful group of artists who are also wonderful people. The stager, Thierry Guiderdoni, has brought that same wonderful energy to the studio that Glen brought and the dancers have responded to his critiques and encouragement with a sense of purpose and joy. Ive really enjoyed this experience working with Thierry, Patricia, my good friend Nadia Yanowsky and the dancers and staff of RNZB and I cannot begin to thank everybody enough for this dream come true. Sadly this dream is bittersweet as just a few days ago I learned that my dear friend Glen has passed away. I had just sent him an email telling him that I am dancing “Middle” again and how much I missed him. I miss you Glen but I know you are in a better place. I will always remember the joy and love of dance that you helped me find on so many occasions. I will be dedicating these performances of “In The Middle Somewhat Elevated” to your memory.  This one is for you buddy!

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