Dance is a visual art form, passed down from one generation to the next through shared experiences. We asked our favorite dance educator, FBPS Director and former FBP Company Dancer, Vilia Putrius, for her take on Festival Ballet’s upcoming program, Mirrors, at The Vets. Here she sheds some light on why seeing dance is such an integral part of a young dancer’s success…
“I have been looking forward to FBP’s Mirrors program all season. As a lover of dance and dance educator, it’s such a treat to see these three powerful works on one program.
‘I had never seen a choreographer work like this before.’
I’m especially thrilled for the return of Viktor Plotnikov’s Coma, one of the most beloved ballets in FBP’s repertory and a particularly special memory from my career as a dancer. Coma could be described as a “drama,” but it’s so much more than that. I remember working with Viktor while creating this ballet in 2007, watching his imagination pour out into the movement. I had known Viktor from our time together at Boston Ballet, but I had never seen a choreographer work like this before. The ballet is both technically challenging and emotionally powerful.
The rest of the “Mirrors” program is so diverse, with the Rhode Island premiere of George Balanchine’s Serenade, which I have danced elsewhere and just adore. I especially love the corps de ballet, which shows you how important teamwork can be and what it can produce. The word “corps” comes from the Latin for “body,” and in Serenade you can really see that the corps is a moving body of strong women working together.
I’m also excited to see Yury Yanowsky’s Smoke & Mirrors for the first time. I have known Yury for years and his work is unique and bold. It is going to be a provocative statement piece with some really cool movement and ideas.
‘[I remember] sitting in the audience wishing I could dance in the spotlight one day.’
As a young aspiring dancer in Lithuania, I would frequently see shows at the National Opera & Ballet Theater, sitting in the audience wishing I could dance in the spotlight one day. I remember leaving the theater feeling just…full. Full of inspiration, full of questions and ideas about what I had seen, full of passion for this art form.
I know watching dance had a profound impact on my education and where my dreams would take me. I truly hope that all of the young dancers in the audience will take away that the same sense of inspiration that I remember.”
Ms. Putrius serves as the Festival Ballet Providence School Director. Festival Ballet presents “Mirrors” at The Vets Feb. 15-17, 2019. Click here for more information.
Say the word “serenade” in a group of ballet dancers and immediately you’ve conjured visions of pale blue gossamer tulle floating midair to Tchaikovsky’s dramatic score. The word “serenade” (that’s, “ser – eh – nahd” darling!) fills a dancer’s ears with a full orchestra of powerful strings and enlivens their muscles to unconsciously float into intricate formations. This is because Serenade is the title of choreographic legend George Balanchine’s most iconic work.
Created in June of 1934 for the School of American Ballet, Serenade was the first piece Balanchine choreographed in America. It has since become one of New York City Ballet’s signature works. When the great choreographer was creating this piece for the students of his school, he originally began as a lesson in stage technique. This is evidenced in the final product, with unique elements that the audience should enjoy searching for. For example, when a student fell during rehearsal, this was added into the official choreography. When another student arrived late one day, this too was incorporated into the ballet.
With its large cast of 28 whirling around the stage in delicate blue costumes, Serenade appears almost like a dream. Balanchine’s detailed choreography seems to work not for or against, but perfect with the music, as if the two were never separate. The choreographer had a special relationship with Tchaikovsky’s music. In an interview, the late Balanchine said:
“In everything that I did to Tschaikovsky’s music,” he told the interviewer, “I sensed his help. It wasn’t real conversation. But when I was working and saw that something was coming of it, I felt that it was Tschaikovsky who had helped me.”
Balanchine’s affinity connection to the composer is certainly apparent in Serenade, the dancers dictating ever delicate intricacy in the powerful score. Those who knew Balanchine recall that for him, music was paramount. This perhaps explains why Serenade appears to be a plotless ballet, though the emotion expressed and relationships formed onstage call forth a different response from each individual audience member. For its iconic history, its breathtaking movement, and its masterful music, don’t miss Balanchine’s Serenade, coming to The Vets stage this February as part of FBP’s MIRRORS.
This post was written by Kirsten Evans. The author is in her eighth season as a Company Dancer with Festival Ballet Providence. She is also the Company PR & Communications Assistant, as well as the writer of a personal blog, Setting The Barre.
Company dancers Azamat Asangul and João Sampaio work well together inside the studio and out! These two are roommates, coworkers, and friends, sharing an infectious happy energy and overflow of talent. We sat down with Aza and João to hear a bit more about their experience working on Viktor Plotnikov’s epic Coma, transitioning into Providence from their homes abroad, and what life is like at home…
Aza’s drink order: iced green with a lemon João’s drink order: iced vanilla chai latte Aza’s snack of choice: potato and leek quiche João’s snack of choice: cheddar biscuit Aza’s home country: Kyrgyzstan João’s home country: Brazil Both currently rehearsing: Viktor Plotnikov’s Coma
On living with another dancer…
João: “I like living with Aza because he’s so calm and we have so much fun together. Plus he cooks for me sometimes (laughs), and he cleans the house!”
Aza: “Our energy is so different, it feels complete. The best roommate I’ve ever had! We don’t talk about ballet at home. We listen to music and just have fun.”
On working with world-renowned choreographer Viktor Plotnikov on his Coma…
Aza: “It’s super cool working with Viktor. He’s really smart about his movement. Everything makes sense. I like his philosophy.”
João: “Being cast as a person who is in a coma, it forces you to think of how that might feel, which is so difficult, but artistically fulfilling. It’s such a beautiful piece.”
Aza: “Rehearsing a ballet like this really makes you appreciate being healthy. It also challenges our acting skills, because we have never actually experienced anything like this before.”
On new cultures and leaving home to dance…
Aza: “I’m from Central Asia and the US is a completely different culture. In my country, people are so open and friendly. Even if you don’t know someone, you can talk to them like you’ve known them forever. Then I lived in Russia, where people are a bit more reserved. I am so happy to be in Rhode Island. I love the history of Providence. It s a beautiful city. “
João: “Moving from Brazil to the US changed my life completely. There, I lived with my parents and had help with everything. Here, I have learned to do things on my own and live independently. For Providence specifically, I don’t even have words to describe it…in a beautiful way. It’s a stunning city. But I miss Brazilian food a lot!”
On what’s to come…
João: “I’m really looking forward to dancing [George Balanchine’s] “Serenade”. I have learned it before, but never performed it, so I am very excited to revisit it.”
Aza: “I’m also excited for Yury [Yanowsky]’s piece, “Smoke and Mirrors”. I really enjoyed his previous piece, “Reverso”, so I can’t wait to start this next one.
“I love that we work with so many talented choreographers here in Providence. They are all different, which makes it an amazing opportunity.”
João: “The diversity of the pieces in the February show, MIRRORS, is also really beautiful.”
On teaching ballet to students…
João: “I like teaching because it’s good to step out of our comfort zone. We are taught all day at work, but to transition out of that and be the teachers ourselves is really nice. Teaching adults is fun because they just want to move their bodies and be free.”
Aza: “I like the experience of teaching at a few different schools. When I’m teaching it helps my own dancing, because I am reminding myself of the correct way to do everything.”
On finding a home at FBP…
João: “I feel so blessed that my path brought me here. I couldn’t be happier to be in Providence. The dancers here are all so beautiful.”
Aza: “It’s a good environment here. Everyone is healthy and inspiring from one dancer to another.”
João: “It allows you to be free. I feel like I can put myself into the work and be happy while I’m dancing.”
Aza: “Some days you come in in the morning and you’re so sore and tired, but you see other dancers working hard…it’s inspiring.”
Thank you Aza and João! To see these two in action, grab your tickets to MIRRORS here.
Special thanks to Seven Stars Bakery for sponsoring this post.
Nutcracker season is a very special time of year at the ballet. The dancers are all working hard together to bring this spectacular story to life, and there is certainly a feeling of magic in the air. For two dancers, teamwork and friendship doesn’t just follow their Nutcracker season, it fuels it.
FBPS student Samantha (Sami) Shorr and Adaptive Dance student Gabriella (Gabby) Sluter met four years ago at a party. Well, a Victorian-era holiday party set to Tchaikovsky’s famous “Nutcracker Suite” and rehearsed in the FBP studios on Hope Street, to be more specific. The two girls became fast friends in rehearsal for their roles in the Party Scene of FBP’s Nutcracker, helping each other bring joy and rhythm to their dancing. Now Gabby and Sami look forward to performing in the classic holiday production on one of Providence’s most beautiful stages every year. We sat down with them to hear a little more about how they help each other overcome backstage jitters and what it’s like to dance with one of your best friends…
So girls, I think the whole audience must be wondering: What does the energy backstage at PPAC before a performance of The Nutcracker feel like?
Sami: I get very excited but try to stay calm so I don’t mess up on stage. When I am with Gabby, I feel better because she makes me so happy and less jittery.
Gabby: It is a happy feeling backstage. I like being with Sami backstage because she is my friend. She is my special friend. We stretch together. Sami helped me with my makeup. Sami helps me on stage. We take fun pictures together in our costumes.
Do you have any special rituals or things that you like to do together before you go on stage?
Gabby: I like to eat my snack with Sami. We read books. I like to hug Sami. She helps me pay attention. We do thumbs up.
Sami: We either give each other a thumbs up or a high-five. I say to Gabby, “You got this!”
What makes performing The Nutcracker alongside your friend so special to you?
Gabby: She is my friend. I like to be silly with Sami.
Sami: It is very cool that Gabby is accepted in the dance world because she is super sweet and deserves to shine like the rest of us. Having her on stage is just so much fun.
This year, Sami, you are dancing the role of Clara! How exciting!Have the two of you done anything special to prepare for this new role?
Sami: I still cannot believe that I am Clara this year. I’ve looked up to all of the Clara’s since my first Nutcracker over 7 years ago. To learn more about the role and find more ways to express Clara’s emotions, I’ve enjoyed watching Live Streams of The Royal Ballet rehearsing their Nutcracker. I also communicated with a former Clara, Olivia Luciano, for additional insights and moral support.
Gabby: I love Sami. Clara is my favorite in the Nutcracker. I was Clara for Halloween last year.
Gabriella’s mom, Tabitha: Gabriella said “ I have good news, Sami is Clara!” This was one day after a rehearsal. She truly is so thrilled that Sami is Clara. All I have to say if Gabriella is having a tough time transitioning to rehearsal is, “Gabriella, you are going to see Sami and Gabi (Sami’s sister) today at dance!” Gabriella gets right up and is motivated and focused to go to rehearsal. She can’t wait to be with them. I love to watch Sami dance.
How has your friendship helped shape the way you dance?
Gabby: I can’t wait to go to dance to see Sami. Sami helps me. Sami is my friend. Sami help me to do my Nutcracker moves.
Sami: When I am dancing and I need to express happiness, I think about Gabby and it instantly makes my dancing more cheery!
Festival Ballet runs on…Seven Stars Bakery, of course! We’re kicking off a new series to help you get to know the FBP dancers- join us for a quick coffee break between rehearsals!
First up, we caught up with Company Dancer, Beth Mochizuki, and her sweet, silly son Stefen for a chat and and afternoon pick-me-up.
Beth’s drink order: Hot decaf coffee
Stefan’s drink order: Apple juice
Treat of choice: Soppressata sandwich
When we last checked in with Beth, she was preparing to dance Maid Marian in Mary Ellen Beadreau’s “Robin Hood”, a role the whole family was looking forward to seeing her portray.
“Stefen’s very excited to see the show! We checked out the picture book of Robin Hood from the library and we’ve been making our way through the story at home, so he’ll be fully prepared when he comes to the ballet.”
Born in California, Beth came to New England to study at Tufts University in Boston. While earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies, Beth managed to also begin her professional dancing career with an Apprenticeship at Festival Ballet. Talk about multitasking!
Stay tuned on our Instagram for more coffee chats with the dancers of FBP and Seven Stars Bakery!
The Providence audience met former Límon Dance Company dancer Kurt Douglas last season at FBP’s Spring Up Close On Hopeprogram. In the next Up Close installment – which opens November 9 in the Black Box – the inventive choreographer behind Thrust offers a fresh new piece entitled, Sojourn. We sat down with Douglas to learn a bit more about his latest creation for FBP…
Kurt, can you tell us about the style of your newest premiere for FBP?
My style of movement has always been rooted in the use of momentum, weight, gravity and risk taking. I am fascinated by crafting and creating patterns that manipulate the space to create different visual textures. I pushed the dancers to explore their use of falling into the floor. This idea is not always utilized in ballet dancing so it was a challenge. I enjoy introducing and trying different ideas that may not always work. I believe trying many different options until I find the one that flows and make sense. My new work is called “Sojourn” and I am truly proud of what the dancers and I have created together.
Tell us about the beautiful music the dancers will be reacting to. Did you find the music before you began working on the movement?
Yes! I have been wanting to work with this piece of music for a while now. The minimalist style of music inspires me and allows my imagination to soar in a multitude of different directions. The music is truly magical.
It really is. So once you have the music, where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from many different places. I am particularly inspired by the environments I come in contact with and the diversity of different people around me. I love the outdoors and the unpredictability of nature. The dancers bring inspiration to me by just bringing their vulnerability into the rehearsal process.
I love how you keep mentioning this partnership between you and the dancers in the creation process. What has the experience been like?
The dancers at FBP are truly stellar artists in every way. The community here at FBP is super supportive in and out of the studio. The energy in a room is incredibly important during my creative process. The dancers bring their A game every time we work together, and for that I am truly grateful to them.
“Their commitment to artistic excellence, creativity and courage always invigorates me.”
That’s so inspiring. Hopefully the audience can feel that as well! How do you think the Providence audiences will respond to this piece?
I think the Providence audiences will enjoy watching the beautiful dancers of FBP move in a contemporary way. They will enjoy the opportunity to get lost in the beautiful score and of the intricate visual patterns that the dancers create. The dancers truly make this piece their own and tell their own stories through the movement. I think that anyone who comes to see Up Close on Hope: Program 1 will not be disappointed.
This is an entire program of premieres! How do you think people will react to seeing Sojourn in the Black Box Theatre?
The audience will accompany the dancers as they journey a from one unknown place to another. I hope that after seeing this work in the Black Box Theatre the audience’s imaginations will be sparked in a new and creative way. Hopefully they will reflect and celebrate their own journey’s after experiencing the work.
Up Close really is a special kind of performance, isn’t it? Does the Black Box present any challenges or unique opportunities choreographically?
One aspect about making a work in the Black Box Theatre is the intimacy of the space. The relationship between the dancers and the audience is special because the audience sits extremely close to the action happening on stage.
“You can hear the dancers breathing, see their sweat, and feel their raw and honest expressions of emotion. It’s truly a rare and memorably special opportunity to watch dance in such a close proximity to the stage. Come out and experience FBP for yourself.”
Festival Ballet Providence’s 41st season is about to be underway as the chatterBOXtheatre opens with Robin Hood this weekend. Just like this world premiere production of a classic tale, so much of this season mixes the familiar and beloved with the fresh and new. Our programs feature treasured classical ballets alongside daring contemporary works and bold new creations from our audiences’ favorite choreographers. We are also celebrating artistic director Misha Djuric’s 20th year at the helm (complete with an exciting evening of dance planned for November 3), while also welcoming nine new dancers making their debut with the company this season!
Get to know the newest members of the FBP family before you spot them on stage:
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ Previous Schools: Master Ballet Academy, San Francisco Ballet School Previous Companies: Ballet Arizona, Los Angeles Ballet What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I look forward most to the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ program in February and Swan Lake in the spring.”
Hometown: Seattle, WA Previous Schools: Pacific Northwest Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School Previous Companies: Houston Ballet, BalletMet What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I’m looking forward to performing Serenade because I love dancing Balanchine ballets.”
Hometown: Três Rios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Previous Schools: Núcleo de Dança, Carlos Henrique Bonforte Balletarrj School of Dance Previous Companies: Tulsa Ballet What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I’m excited for the chance to learn Balanchine’s Serenade–it’s sure to help me get through the cold New England winter!”
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ Previous Schools: Master Ballet Academy Previous Companies: commercial dancer with Bloc LA What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I am most excited to perform in Swan Lake and Serenade for this season.”
Hometown: Racine, WI Previous Schools: The Studio of Classical Dance Arts (WI), Milwaukee Ballet II, BalletMet Trainee Program Previous Companies: Nevada Ballet Theatre What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I’m looking forward to so many things this season! Dancing Serenade (with NBT in 2017) is one of my favorite memories and I can’t wait to revisit it! I love Swan Lake and am really excited to be part of the company all coming together on this iconic ballet. I’m also really excited to explore the contemporary rep and challenge myself in that facet of my dancing!”
Hometown: Hadley, MA Previous Schools: East Street Ballet, Massachusetts Academy of Ballet What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I’m most excited to continue developing myself as an artist through the diverse repertoire Festival Ballet Providence has to offer.”
Hometown: Cambridge, MA. Previous Schools: Fresh Pond Ballet, Boston Ballet School, Orlando Ballet School Previous Companies: American Repertory Ballet. What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “This season I am most excited for the opportunities I will have to meet and learn from new dancers, teachers and choreographers. The repertoire here is very diverse, and I am looking forward to being exposed to so many different styles!”
Hometown: Vernon, CT Previous Schools: Connecticut Concert Ballet, Mercyhurst University Previous Companies: dancEnlight, Lake Erie Ballet What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I am excited to be joining a company with such a vast repertoire so I can explore different movement vocabularies and expand my artistry. I’m also excited to dance a Balanchine work for the first time and to dance in Swan Lake”
Hometown: Madison, NJ Previous Schools: Studio Allegro School of Ballet, Butler University What are you looking forward to this season with FBP?: “I am looking forward to working with lots of new choreographers as they create and set their work on the company. I’m also excited to get to know, dance with and learn from the other FBP dancers!”
Our Summer Dance Intensive 2018 Senior and Junior Programs are packed with a wide range of talented, diverse faculty bringing unique perspectives and styles to this one of a kind program! We’re thrilled to announce this season’s lineup of faculty! Below, bios and headshots for each of the members of the team!
Ballet, Pas de deux, Men’s Classes
Ivaylo Alexiev was born in Varna, Bulgaria. He started his ballet training with the Vaganova Method at the National Ballet School in Sofia. Mr. Alexiev than earned a scholarship from “UNESCO” to join the prestigious Academy of Ballet in Monte Carlo directed by Madame Marika Besobrasova where he graduated with a Diploma for a professional ballet dancer.
From 2001-2004 Ivaylo was a member of Le Ballet de L’Opera National de Bordeaux, France where he danced for three seasons participating in every production and world tours with the company. In 2004 Mr. Alexiev moved to Germany and worked with several contemporary companies. For two seasons under the direction of James Sutherland, Ivaylo was a soloist with Pforzheim Ballett where he danced in several modern productions such as- Carmen, Pink Floyd, Swan Lake and others. Mr. Alexiev took part in many Dance Galas in Europe and has been invited as a guest artist in France, Germany, Russia, Malta, Japan, USA and others. His repertory includes ballets such as Raymonda, Divertimento #15, Symphony in D, The Prodigal Son, Suite en Blanc, Sleeping Beaty, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella and others. Ivaylo has worked with some of the biggest names in European ballet including Elisabeth Platel, Charles Jude, Irek Mukhamedov, Roland Vogel, Attilo Labis, Eva Evdokimova.
Ivaylo Alexiev speaks five languages and obtained a diploma in dance pedagogy and history of ballet from L’Academie de danse classique Princesse Grace de Monte Carlo. In 2010 Mr. Alexiev moved to US joining Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer. In 2012 Ivaylo was invited to be a member of the faculty of Ballet Theatre of Boston. Part time faculty member at Boston Ballet School since 2014. North Atlantic Dance Theatre company coach since 2015. Ballet Master for Festival Ballet Providence from 2015-2017.
Faculty at Greater Boston School of Dance.
Ballet, Pas de deux, Variations
Assaf Benchetrit began his dance and music studies at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem, Israel. Upon graduation, he danced with the Jerusalem Dance Theater, the Panov Ballet, and later with The Israeli National Ballet Company. During his military service, Assaf received the “Remarkable Dancer” prize from the Israeli government which allowed him to continue dancing while serving. After completing his military service, he arrived to United States to dance with companies such as The Joffrey, Metropolitan Classical Ballet, Alabama Ballet, and Gelsey Kirkland Ballet.
Throughout his career, Assaf toured through England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and numerous other countries. He performed lead roles in the majority of renowned ballet productions such as Swan Lake as Siegfried, Don Quixote as Basilio, La Corsaire as Ali, La Bayadere as Solar, Coppelia as Franz, Sleeping Beauty as the Prince, the title-role in Petrushka, and a number of George Balanchine works including Apolloin the title-role, Donizetti Variations and the Nutcracker as Cavalier. Assaf holds a joint B.S in computer science and B.F.A in dance degrees with academic honors from Montclair State University, and an M.F.A degree with academic honors in dance from Hollins/ADF/Frankfurt. He was a faculty member at Columbia University (Barnard College), Rutgers University, Montclair State University, and Raritan Valley Community College, where he taught ballet, mens’ class, pas de deux, variations, and modern dance. He is currently Assistant Professor of Dance at UNH.
Jennifer has been practicing outpatient physical therapy on the East Side of Providence since 2004, she joined University Orthopedics at the Butler campus in the spring of 2016. A former professional ballet dancer, Jennifer specializes in Dance Injury Rehabilitation and prevention. Jennifer enjoyed 18 years of performing dance all over the United States, Europe and China before retiring as a soloist from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1996, she went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Dance from Empire State College, S.U.N.Y and a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy from The University of Rhode Island in 2001.
Jennifer developed and implemented an Injury Prevention program for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre school and company where she worked closely with Physicians and Physical Therapists at the University of Pittsburgh Sports Medicine. Jennifer has treated the cast of “A Chorus Line” and “Hairspray” backstage at the Providence Performing Arts Center and has worked with countless student and professional dancers from local studios including Festival Ballet Providence. She has been certified in Pilates exercise training and utilizes Pilates equipment and principals in conjunction with manual therapy for physical therapy assessment and treatment. Currently Jennifer is involved in a certification program with North American Institute for Manual Orthopedic Therapy and has most recently been trained as an instructor in Pilates Suspension exercise with Pilates Academy International in New York City. She is a longtime member of International Association for Dance Medicine and Science and serves on the board of the Dance Alliance of Rhode Island. She is most proud of her daughter Olivia and loves to swim, dance and sail during her free time. In 2016 Jennifer became Festival Ballet Providence’s resident physical therapist.
Senior Program Modern (Limón)
Kurt Douglas joined the Boston Conservatory faculty in 2015 and is an instructor of technique, repertory, and pedagogy for modern dance. Kurt also serves as artistic director for the Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Summer Dance Intensive.
A graduate of New York’s LaGuardia High School of Music art and the performing Arts and originally from Guyana, Douglas earned a B.F.A. in dance from Boston Conservatory and an M.F.A. in dance from Hollins University.
After graduating from the Conservatory in 2001, he joined the Limón Dance Company, where he performed in many of Limón’s most influential works. He received a 2002 Princess Grace Award and was honored by an invitation to perform for the royal family of Monaco. In 2007, Douglas became the first African American to portray Iago in The Moor’s Pavane, José Limón’s most famous work. Douglas was named one of Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 to Watch” in the January 2006 issue. He danced from 2002 to 2007 in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and joined Ballet Hispanico from 2005 to 2006 under the direction of Tina Ramirez. In 2009 he joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company during their 40th anniversary season, touring throughout the United States and Asia. In 2011 he began touring with the Tony Award-winning musical “A Chorus Line” throughout the United States, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. In 2017 Kurt was invited to perform for the Boston Conservatory’s 150 anniversary gala at Symphony Hall hosted by Alan Cummings. Some guest artist credits include Aszure Barton & Artists, Prometheus Dance Company, Thang Dao Dance Company, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Dzul Dance, and the Sean Curran Dance Company.
Douglas remains invested in his teaching practices, conducting Limón Dance workshops in Boston, South Dakota, New York, Oregon,Texas, Pennsylvania, Haiti, France, England, Australia, and at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, Southern Methodist University, the Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Brockport, Skidmore College, Festival Ballet Providence and Boston Conservatory. Kurt is currently a reconstructor with the Limón Foundation. In 2017 Kurt re-stage Jose Limón’s “A Choreographic Offering” for the Limón Company’s 71st Anniversary season. Douglas continues to serve as faculty with the Limón for Kids Program and the Limón Institute in New York City, the official school of the Limón Dance Foundation.
Originally from Massachusetts, Ms. Evans began training in the FBP School at age 11. She performed as a member of FBP’s Junior Company for 5 years before joining the main company as a trainee in 2010. Ms. Evans has attended summer intensives with Bolshoi Ballet Academy, The Nutmeg Conservatory, and was a member of the Jacob’s Pillow Summer Dance Festival in 2009. Ms. Evans was a two-time finalist in the Youth American Grand Prix Ballet Competition in New York City, where she was awarded several scholarships as well as a traineeship with Ballet West in Utah. Previous roles with FBP include Wendy in Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan, the title role in Winthrop Corey’s Cinderella, Pas de Trois, Big Swans, and Cygnets in Swan Lake, Princess Tsarevna in Mihailo Djuric’s The Firebird, the roles of Sugarplum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy, Clara, Spanish, and Marzipan in The Nutcracker, and principal in Etudes, as well as principal roles in George Balanchine’s Apollo, Allegro Brilliante, Agon, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Kirsten has also been featured in contemporary works by Viktor Plotnikov, Dominic Walsh, Ilya Kozadayev, Joseph Morrissey, and others. Kirsten works as the PR and Communications Assistant for FBP and is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts/Journalism at Providence College. This is Ms. Evans’ eighth season with the company.
Lindsay Guarino is an educator, scholar and choreographer. In her current role at Salve Regina University, she is the director of the dance program and artistic director and founder of Extensions Dance Company. A native of Buffalo, NY, Lindsay has taught master classes and choreographed in a wide range of jazz styles at colleges, dance studios and festivals across the country. Her jazz research has been presented at conferences throughout the New England region and also in Chicago, Arizona, New York, and Texas. Lindsay reaches dance educators around the globe as a professor for the National Dance Education Organization’s nationally regarded Online Professional Development Institute, where she teaches Jazz Dance Theory and Practice. Her passion for preserving and elevating jazz dance led her to publish Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches in 2014; the textbook inspired a national conference in the summer of 2016 which Lindsay planned and hosted at Salve Regina. Her greatest professional accomplishment to date is the growth of the dance program at Salve Regina University and her work with Extensions Dance Company. Lindsay holds a BFA in dance from the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and an MFA in dance from the University of Arizona.
A native of Venezuela, Ms. Guerrero received her early training at the Keyla Ermecheo Ballet School in Caracas. She has performed with numerous companies including Ballet Nuevo Mundo de Caracas, Metropolitan Ballet of Caracas, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Michigan Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theatre, Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre and Cadence Dance Project. She has created leading roles in ballets in Gianni Dimarco’s El Amor Brujo, Schéhérazade and Azucar, Plotnikov’s Carmen, The Widow’s Broom, Loofand Let Dime and Coma, De Bouteiller’s Romeo and Juliet and FBP’s 2006 premiere of Don Quixote. Other leading roles include Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Rubies, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Tarantella, Who Cares?, Pelzig’s The Princess and the Pea, Swan Lake and Eldar Aliev’s A Thousand and One Nights. Ms. Guerrero also participated in the 2004 Venezuela Del Mundo Gala and was recognized for representing Venezuela internationally with high standards and “projection, dignity and beauty.” In addition Providence Mayor David Cicilline awarded a Citizens Citation for her “exceptional and wholehearted devotion for the art of dance.”
After her retirement from the stage in May 2012, she transitioned into her new role as Ballet Mistress with the Company, and as a faculty member with FBP School where she continues to pass on her knowledge to a new generation of dancers.
JEREMY RUTH HOWES
Jeremy Ruth is a professional dancer, choreographer and educator in the Boston area. She graduated from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Dance with a BFA in Dance Performance. While at Hartt she performed soloist roles in La Bayadere, Guernsey Fields, Martha Graham’s Steps in the Street and numerous other classical and contemporary works. She has danced professionally with Northern Ballet Theatre and Virginia Ballet Theatre dancing soloist roles in The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and George Balanchine’s Serenade. Currently she is a principal dancer with Anna Myer and Dancers creating roles in Myer’s original choreography. Jeremy Ruth is on faculty at Dean College teaching ballet and dance composition. She also has choreographed for the Dean College Dance Company for the past five years. She has created ten original works for the company. Jeremy Ruth teaches at Walker’s Dance in Lowell and this is her tenth year with Northeast School of Ballet. Jeremy Ruth is also currently pursuing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College.
Senior & Junior Programs
Character, Men’s Class, Pas de Deux
Alex Lantz began his dance training at age seven at the Rockford Dance Company in his home town of Rockford, Illinois and was accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 2006 at age 17. Mr. Lantz joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet company as an apprentice in 2010. He performed with the company in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Moulin Rouge – The Ballet, Dracula, Wonderland, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, Svengali and Giselle. Mr. Lantz also joined the company in 2010 on a three-city tour of Israel part of the RWB’s 70th Anniversary tour. Lantz joined Festival Ballet Providence in 2012. He has performed the roles of Spanish, Snow King and Sugarplum Cavalier in The Nutcraker, has been featured in Dominic Walsh’s Afternoon of the Faun, Ilya Kozadayev’s Moonlight Pas De Deux, and has also performed leading roles in Victor Plotnikov’s Orchis and Coma as well as principal roles in George Balanchine’s Agon and Tchaikovky Pas de Deux. Mr. Lantz also has performed a number of character roles including Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, The Witch in Hansel & Gretel, Kastchai in The Firebird, Smee in Jordan Morris’ Peter Pan and Herr Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker.
Marissa Masson is a New England based dancer and choreographer. As a student at Salve Regina University, she is minoring in dance and is currently a member of Extensions Dance Company, where she has had the opportunity to perform in pieces by artists such as Kat Pantos, Joe Celej, Joshua Blake Carter, John Lehrer, Rich Ashworth, Melanie George, Spencer Gavin Hering, and Kirsten Harvey. She has performed at the American College Dance Association’s adjudicated concert in Potsdam, NY (2017) and presented her piece, “Weight of the World” in their adjudicated concert in Boston, MA (2018). This piece was also chosen to perform at the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival (2017). This summer, it will perform again at The Southern Vermont Dance Festival. Marissa has performed in other events throughout the New England region, including Urbanity Dance’s Liberty Hotel New Year’s Eve Party. She has completed intensives with Pantos Project (2014, 2016, 2017) and the National Dance Education Organization’s Jazz Dance: Roots and Branches in Practice Conference in Newport, RI (2016), where she performed and was a student host. She has also had the honor of being the rehearsal assistant for Jessica Pearson and Melanie George. In the summer and winter of 2017, she was the business operations and company intern for Urbanity Dance in Boston. She is currently the Operations Manager Intern for Pantos Project Dance.
Ms. Mayer has been affiliated with Festival Ballet Providence since 1976. As a founding member of Festival Ballet Providence, Ms. Mayer performed in many company productions while earning a BA from the University of Rhode Island. Following her performing career, she worked as stage manager for the company for several seasons before turning her focus to teaching and training young dancers. She attended several teaching programs at the National Ballet School of Canada, and in New York and Philadelphia with David Howard and Jurgen Schneider. From 1991 to 1996 she served as teacher, choreographer and Acting Director of Dance at the Performing Arts School of Worcester; returning to Festival Ballet Providence as a teacher in 1998.
In 2004, Ms. Mayer became Festival Ballet Providence’s School Director. Over the past several years the school has continued to grow under the guidance of Ms. Mayer and the artistic vision of Misha Djuric. Together they have taken the school to a place that boasts a distinguished international faculty, an outstanding young children’s program, a trainee program for the serious advanced level student, an extensive financial aid program, engaging summer programs, and an open enrollment feature that provides the community access to this art form through a variety of classes and workshops. Ms. Mayer’s students have gone on to dance with professional companies and to study at prestigious schools and universities throughout the country.
FBP School Faculty
Dina Ternullo Melley received a BFA in dance from the Boston Conservatory and received additional training from the Joffrey School in San Antonio and Gus Giordano in Chicago. Dina has performed master works by José Limón, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham and Donald McKayle and has toured and conducted workshops nationally and internationally with the Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble. Dina has had the pleasure of both choreographing works for and performing with the Baton Rouge Ballet Theater, Of Moving Colors, the Louisiana State University College of Music and Dramatic Arts, the Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Desert Dance Theatre, andUniversity of Louisiana at Lafayette’s State of LA Danse.Mrs. Melley was the choreographer for LSU Opera’s production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and has choreographed and performed for ASU’s season-opening Gala Concert. She has also performed withBaton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s Ballet for Children, AZDance Group, and Cadence Dance Project. Dina has been on faculty at Boston College, Regis College, Louisiana State University, and University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she was also the Artistic Director of the Dance Guild at UL Lafayette. She has also had the pleasure of working with our next generation of young dancers at numerous schools throughout the eastern, southern and southwestern United States. Mrs. Melley is excited to be living back in the Northeast with her husband and son and being apart of the Festival Ballet School faculty.
Director, Summer Dance Intensive
Senior & Junior Programs
Marissa Parmenter danced at Festival Ballet Providence from 2002-2006 and 2014-2017. Her most memorable FBP roles were Pingril, the witch in The Widow’s Broom, the Nurse and Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, Bernarda in House of Bernarda Alba and Saskia in For Saskia. In addition to FBP, she danced for Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater and BalletMet Columbus. In 2008, Ms. Parmenter was honored to participate in Paris’s prestigious L’Ete de la Danse with Les Grands Ballet. She has performed as a guest artist with many companies in the US including Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, and Boston Ballet. Ms. Parmenter has been fortunate enough to create works with leading choreographers, Ohad Naharin, James Kudelka, Mauro Bigonzetti, Edwaard Liang, Dominic Walsh and Viktor Plotnikov. She has also had the pleasure of performing works by icons such as Christopher Wheeldon, Jiri Kylian, Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano and Alejandro Cerrudo.
Ms. Parmenter was on faculty at BalletMet Academy and Passe Dance Center. She has been a guest teacher for Rice University, Sam Houston University, University of Houston, and Wheaton College. Ms. Parmenter has been awarded the Sono Osato and the Caroline H. Newhouse grants for dancer higher education. Her choreography has been performed at Hollins University and Wheaton College.
Ms.Parmenter received her MFA from Hollins University in collaboration with the Forsythe Company in 2014. She is an Associate Professor at Boston Conservatory at Berkeley College. She is on faculty at FBP School as well as Company Manager, Director of FBP School’s Summer Dance Intensive and Development Director.
Ballet, Pointe, Improv
Ty Parmenter returned to Festival Ballet Providence in 2014 after having been with the company from 2003-2006. His most memorable FBP roles were the Eunuch in Scherezade, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Faun in Afternoon of a Faun, andPrincipal Male in Rubies. He returned to FBP after having danced with Hubbard Street 2, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater and BalletMet Columbus. He has performed as a guest artist with many companies in the US including Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, New Choreographers Initiative, and Les Grands Ballet Canadiens. In 2006, he performed in the Mozart Sommer Festival in Wurzberg, Germany. Mr. Parmenter has been fortunate enough to create works with leading choreographers such as James Kudelka, Edwaard Liang, Dominic Walsh, Andrea Miller, Christian Spuck, Gabrielle Lamb and Viktor Plotnikov. He has also had the pleasure of performing works by Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Mauro Bigonzetti, Matthew Bourne, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano and Alejandro Cerrudo.
In 2012, Mr. Parmenter was awarded the Columbus Dances Fellowship from the Greater Columbus Arts Council for his piece There is Silence. He was on faculty at Passe Dance Center and has been a guest teacher at Rice University, Sam Houston University and the University of Houston. He is currently on faculty at FBP School as well as Digital Media Coordinator. Ty has choreographed four new works on the FBP company and seven new works for the FBP school.
Ruka Hatua-Saar was born in Aviano, Italy and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He received his training as a scholarship student with Miami City Ballet and was a a dancer in the training company. Upon graduating from the Dillard School of the Arts, he obtained a B.F.A and an M.F.A in Dance from Florida State University and Holllins University; respectively. He is an acclaimed national/ international dancer , having performed with companies such as: Dayton Contemporary; Philadanco; Armitage GONE!; and the Límon Dance Company. He has served as adjunct professor of dance at Wright State University; University of Dayton; Boston Conservatory; Tufts University and University of the Arts.
Here in the Creative Capital, art is constantly being imagined, created, and shared. One of the greatest gifts an artist can give is to inspire and educate developing young minds to dream up the next masterpiece. At FBP, we are dedicated to helping raise the next generation of artists in Providence with our extensive outreach program.
This season, FBP has brought enchanting dance experiences to hundreds of children in Rhode Island through our “Ballet in the Library” series, sparking the fire of passion in the hearts of countless youth along the way. In preparation for one of the most whimsical ballets the Company has ever taken on, Little Mermaid, a team of dancers led by Outreach Director Valerie Cookson-Botto will be popping up in libraries in Providence, Cranston, Jamestown, North Kingstown, and Peach Dale to perform an interactive reading of Little Mermaid. These fun events are the perfect way to get your littles excited for the ballet, while engaging in your community arts scene and exposing your children to art in a unique, approachable way.
Of course, community engagement is all about sharing the experience of dance with those around you, and dance is all about moving your body- so it wouldn’t be a proper FBP Outreach event without some dancing! FBP dancers will teach the children to move like they are underwater, practicing the movements of a variety of sea creatures to create an original ocean dance.
What’s a little pop-up party without a craft, right? Children will be invited to make their very own fish to take home with them- and then bring along to the theater to see FBP’s Little Mermaid live on stage April 27-29! Fin-tastic fun for the whole family!
For a schedule of FBP’s “Ballet in the Library” series, see below:
This post was written by Kirsten Evans. The author is in her eighth season as a Company Dancer with Festival Ballet Providence. She is also the Company PR & Communications Assistant, as well as the writer of a personal blog, Setting The Barre.