By Ruth Davis
On Saturday, June 1, 2019, students from the Festival Ballet Providence School will showcase their talents in Culmination 2019 at Sapinsley Hall at Rhode Island College. This year’s production features an original one-act ballet, The Seasons, conceived and choreographed by FBP’s school director, Vilia Putrius and set to music by Alexander Glazunov. This monumental work features children in vibrant costumes portraying characters from frigid Winter Frost and icy Snow Crystals to fluttering Butterflies and Birds. The production also includes multimedia art and projection, and even a few surprises.
For eleven years, Vilia was a leading dancer in FBP’s company until her retirement from the company in 2017. In the fall of 2018, Vilia returned as Director of the FBP School, leading the teachers and classes of more than 150 students from pre-ballet to adult. Asked about the end of her first year as director and about this culminating event, Vilia said, “Working on Seasons has awakened so many memories for me, of being a student myself in Lithuania and the excitement of dancing with the other students in front of all of our parents and friends. It will be wonderful seeing all of these young dancers in costume, proud of their achievements and sharing their gifts, just as I remember.”
We thought you might like to hear some of the thoughts of two FBP school students who each offer their own perspectives:
First up is William Kinloch, a 10 year-old who at this young age, is already a veteran of the FBP school (he began taking classes when he was only three years old). He looks ahead at opportunities and the inspiration he finds in ballet and in his own studies.
I was inspired to come to ballet class after I saw The Nutcracker at the San Francisco Opera House in December of 2011. The show sparked my passion for dance, which gets stronger every passing day.
Overall, I enjoy how expressive and meaningful ballet is. In terms of technique, I love the movement of ballet – how you can make it flowy or rigid or any other form that suits the moment of expression. One of my favorite moves to practice is the grand battement. I love this move because the action of it is to throw your leg as high as you can into the air. It feels reaching as high as I can to the heavens.
Culmination is most definitely my favorite show of the year because the show is based on kids and we all have a role that is alike, something in common to share with each other. It’s really fun putting it all together and taking the stage together. This year we have something special to offer called The Seasons. It is a ballet that collects all four seasons of the year, and every kid dances a role in one of the seasons. For example, my ballet level, BB3, is dancing in spring; I am a bird, and the girls are playing greenery. It has been so fun to collaborate to with other ballet levels. I love dancing with Maddie, the spring fairy.
I think about being a professional dancer every day. I always dream about myself as a dancer at professional companies. My biggest dream is to be a professional dancer. I am moonstruck by João Sampiao at Festival Ballet, and I hope some day to be like him. I love how clean his movements are and how intentional everything he does looks. I love how pointed his feet are and I love how kind he is.
Next is Amanda Emby, age 17, who started classes in 2011 and looks back on this past year and on the many rewards dancing at FBP has provided.
This past year at Festival Ballet Providence School has truly been such a challenging, yet amazing experience for me. I feel very lucky to be coached and mentored by the outstanding faculty here at the School. They encourage and inspire me to grow as an artist every day.
I have had the privilege of performing this year alongside the company in productions such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Being able to not only perform with the company, but to see firsthand the hard work and dedication they pour into their productions is a unique experience for myself and all of Festival’s students. They show us that our aspirations are attainable with dedication, determination, persistence, and a lot of sweat!
Observing them, pushes us to work hard despite any obstacles that may occur.
There will be many little ones taking the stage this year for the very first time… even a furry friend! Yes, Petipaw will be making his debut on stage this Culmination. He’s going to be the star of the show, if I don’t say so myself!
In The Seasons I will be featured as Summer Fairy. She embodies elegance, grace, and radiates as if she’s the sun. Not only is it amazing to dance a principal role, but to dance alongside my best fiends and venture into this journey together… teamwork makes the dream work! Having a second family at FBP School provides a great sense of community and camaraderie!
You can see Amanda and William and all of the FBP School students performing in Culmination 2019 at Sapinsley Hall (Rhode Island College), June 1, 2019 at 1:30pm and 6:00pm. Click here for more information and tickets.
Ruth Davis manages Public Relations and Communications for Festival Ballet Providence. Photos by Jim Turner and Dylan Giles.