Thursday, October 19, 2017

Central Florida Ballet Announces 2017 Nutcracker Season

Central Florida Ballet Executive Director Vasile Petrutiu announced today that CFB will present their nationally-renowned Nutcracker performance this holiday season at the Orange County Convention Center’s Linda Chapin Theater on December 16 and 17, 2017.

Central Florida Ballet expertly merges a classic fairytale with stimulating pyrotechnics and aerial acrobatics offering attendees an unparalleled Nutcracker experience. The performance has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. It was also named “one of five outstanding productions in the entire nation” by CNN Headline News.

Director Vasile Petrutiu is proud to continue providing residents and guests of Central Florida with this exceptional holiday performance for the 17th year. “I am enthusiastic about the audience viewing our newly-designed sets that were custom built in Russia," said Petrutiu. "They are beautifully crafted, measure 50 feet in height by 25 feet in width and were hand painted by expert artists in traditional classical ballet style."

There are three Nutcracker performances scheduled this year: December 16 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm and December 17 at 2:00pm. The two-hour event includes a fifteen minute intermission and tickets can be purchased at centralfloridaballet.com. Special offers are being extended to orange, seminole, osceola and lake county teachers and local civic organizations. Groups are encouraged to contact CFB office manager, Kailey Klopfenstein for more information.

Tickets are available for purchase at http://www.centralfloridaballet.com or by calling 407.849.9948 ext 10.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Madison Spack talks college auditions and her decision to attend Butler University

During the past few months, Academy Student, Madison Spack (age 18) has traveled across the United States to audition for prestigious college programs. She was awarded scholarships to the Boston Conservatory and Butler University.

In our interview below, Madison shares her audition experiences and why she chose to attend Butler University this Fall.

 Academy Student: Madison Spack

When did you start classes at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida and what do you want your college major to be? 
I started dancing at Central Florida Ballet when I was two and a half years and came back when I was eleven. Now leaving CFB, I will be majoring in dance performance and a possible second major in kinesiology.

What colleges have you applied to?
I applied/auditioned for eight schools. Florida State University, University of South Florida, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Butler University, New York University, SUNY Purchase, Boston Conservatory and Juilliard.

What is your dream college to be accepted to (or have already been accepted to)?
My original dream school for dance was Juilliard, because who wouldn't want to dance at Juilliard, as well as NYU. But I couldn't be happier with my decision to attend Butler.

Pictured: Academy Student, Madison Spack (right),
during partnering class at the Washington Ballet's Summer Intensive.
 
Why did you choose Butler University?
I chose Butler University because they have an amazing dance department and the academics of the University. Dancing at Butler will allow me to further my training and gain new perspectives to improve my technique and have many performance opportunities. At the same time I will also be able to get a college education with another major in kinesiology so I can go to physical therapy school in the future.

How have you auditioned for the colleges? Video submissions or in-person auditions?
I attended live auditions for all eight schools. Some of the schools travel and hold auditions all around so it is more convenient but for most of them I went to the schools themselves to audition. This also helps you get a good idea of the possible atmosphere you would be dancing in.

 Academy Student, Madison Spack, strikes a stunning arabesque 
in front of the David Koch Theater in New York City.

Is each school's application process similar?
Each school's application process was pretty similar. First I would do the application to be accepted into the school academically, then I would fill out the dance application. As for the auditions, you start with a typical ballet class and then depending on the school you might have a modern or contemporary class and then perform a solo of our choice for them.

What would be your best tip for someone applying to college for dance?
 My advice for college auditions is to be smart. Simple enough, but really focus on dancing your best and being clean in everything you do instead of trying to impress them but end up with sloppy technique. Another thing to remember is that they aren't just auditioning you, you are auditioning the school to see if it would be a right fit for you and if you could really see yourself dancing and improving there.

 Academy Student, Madison Spack, in various roles
of Central Florida Ballet's The Nutcracker

What have you learned from Central Florida Ballet that has helped you in your auditions?
Training at Central Florida Ballet has taught me to pick up combinations quickly, which is really important in auditions. I have also learned to be both technical and artistic while dancing. The teachers here have really prepared me to be a strong and consistent dancer.

What has surprised you most about applying to colleges? And do you have a funny/interesting story to tell from your audition travels?
One of the most surprising things for me was seeing how small the dance world can be while being big at the same time. I would always recognize people at my auditions or had maybe danced with them in the past at a summer intensive. Even before the classes began everyone was so friendly and I made friends at all my auditions. One in particular, I met a girl while warming up for class and we stuck together for the rest of the day. When we got out of class apparently our moms had done the same thing and we didn't even know it! Complete coincidence.

Academy Student: Madison Spack

For more information about the Central Florida Ballet & Academy, please visit www.centralfloridaballet.com or call 407-849-9948. 

***New Students dance for free in August***
Book your spot by emailing mrivera@centralfloridaballet.com

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jenna Latham: The Road to Butler University


Jenna Latham, age 17, is in the process of transitioning from Academy student to joining a college dance program this Fall. Read our interview below to learn about Jenna's experience auditioning for colleges across the country and her decision to attend Butler University!

Pictured: Academy Student, Jenna Latham  

When did you start classes at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida and what do you want your college major to be?
I officially became a student at BACF when I was a sophomore in high school, but I participated in the summer intensives prior to enrolling in the full program. I’m going to college to major in dance and hopefully minor in environmental studies.

What colleges have you applied to?
I applied to the University of Arizona, Butler University, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Boston Conservatory, Pointpark University, and Dominican University of California (Alonzo King LINES BFA program).

Pictured: Academy Student, Jenna Latham

 What is your dream college to be accepted to?
It’s hard for me to choose one school that I love the most. Each of them have different strengths, my top schools are Butler University and Dominican University. Butler has great classical ballet training, and Dominican is known for a more contemporary approach to ballet.

How have you auditioned for the colleges? Video submissions or in-person auditions?
For all my auditions I chose to do in-person auditions. I found that my best experiences and results came when I auditioned at the school.

 Pictured: Academy Student, Jenna Latham, warms up at the barre

Is each school's application process similar?
A lot of the schools use the common app which makes it really easy to apply for a bunch of schools at once. Within each university the dance programs require a completely separate application from the academic application. Most do not require videos, but a few do.

What would be your best tip for someone applying to college for dance?
Do your research. Finding the right college was difficult because I wanted to keep training vigorously while also learning new things. There are some seriously incredible programs out there that still provide the same training and performance opportunities as working companies, but finding them takes a lot of time on the internet.

Pictured: Academy Student, Jenna Latham

What have you learned from Central Florida Ballet that has helped you in your auditions?
CFB has helped me become a better dancer technically, but beyond that I have learned how to keep cool headed and light hearted in auditions. I learned that little mistakes aren’t deal breakers and that showing off your style and personality is what the judges really want to see.

What has surprised you most about applying to colleges? And do you have a funny/interesting story to tell from your audition travels?
Until this year the concept of dancing in college seemed pointless because I didn’t realize there were so many good programs out there. What surprised me most was how wonderful the class auditions were. My skepticism of college dance has completely fallen away after my experiences. So, there was one weekend where I had both my NYU and Boston audition within 24 hours of each other, and unfortunately, I left my ballet shoes in New York. I went into my Boston audition with as much confidence as a barefoot ballerina could. Fortunately the teachers were extremely kind and considerate of the situation. Right as I was losing hope for the rest of class my mom was able to discretely slip me a brand new pair of shoes before center began.

For more information about the Central Florida Ballet & Academy, please visit www.centralfloridaballet.com or call 407-849-9948. 

***New Students dance for free in August***
Book your spot by emailing mrivera@centralfloridaballet.com

 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Central Florida Ballet Awarded Highest Score of an Orange County Organization in the State of Florida's 2017-18 DCA Grant


March 9, 2017 - Orlando, FL, USA - The Central Florida Ballet recently scored very high on the State of Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs General Program Support grant for 2017-18 Season:

Placing 17th Overall (out of 492 applications) with a score of 95.833 and earning the highest score of an Orange County organization. 

Rankings for other top scoring organizations include: Orlando Repertory Theatre ranked #29, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra #31, Orlando Science Center #37, Orlando Ballet #42, The Winter Park Playhouse #58, and Orlando Museum of Art #65. A total of 492 applications were reviewed for the 2017-18 cycle. Funding for the grant is awaiting legislator approval.

Central Florida Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo by Lisbet Photography)

The Central Florida Ballet (CFB) credits its tourist-drawing, high caliber dance programs for receiving the top score. Central Florida Ballet applied for their 2017-18 Season which includes the 2017 Nutcracker production, 2018 World Ballet Competition, 2017 Summer Intensive Dance Program, and outreach programs benefiting Title 1 Schools in the Orlando area. The Central Florida Ballet's venue for all public performances is the Linda Chapin Theater in the Orange County Convention Center. CFB is the only local arts organization to be performing in the theater.

A full list of the grant scores can be viewed at http://dos.florida-arts.org/grants/ranked-lists/2018.scp-ranked-list.cfm.

Next up for the Central Florida Ballet is the presentation of the 2017 World Ballet Competition with Daily Competition Rounds held June 19-23 and concluding with a star-studded Gala performance on June 24 at 7:30pm.

 The World Ballet Competition,
an event produced and presented by the Central Florida Ballet
(Photo by Virginia Trudeau)

For information on the Central Florida Ballet and its events, please visit www.centralfloridaballet.com / www.worldballetcompetition.com or call 407.849.9948.

About the Central Florida Ballet: Innovative ballet productions, educational programs, and international partnerships are the keystones of the Central Florida Ballet with glowing recognition from ABC News, CNN, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. House of Representatives. The Central Florida Ballet is a not-for-profit organization.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Desiree Nguyen talks life in Delaware

Desiree Nguyen made the big transition from Academy student to professional dancer this past Fall when she joined the First State Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in Wilmington, Delaware. We caught up with Desiree to talk about her experience as a professional dancer....

Desiree in First State Ballet Theatre's Season Opening performance.

At what age did you start training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida?
I started training at Ballet Academy of Central Florida at age twelve.

What have been some of your favorite performances or experiences with the Central Florida Ballet (CFB)?
One of my favorite experiences I’ve had with CFB has been the outreach performances. I love being able to share my art form with others that usually don’t have the access to the classical arts on a regular basis.

How did you land your job at the First State Ballet Theatre?
I received a contract after participating in the Job Fair at the World Ballet Competition this past June.

Describe a typical day.
A typical work day for me, starts at 9 which is when I usually get to the studio giving me time to change, stretch, and have a morning chat with friends before our warmup class starts at 10. Class most of the time is about an hour and a half long which prepares us for the rehearsals to follow. Rehearsals usually run from 11:30 to 2 with no breaks between. Sometimes after rehearsals a couple of people will go out and grab a coffee before heading home. Then it all happens again the next day!


Desiree practices in the studio at First State Ballet Theatre.

How do you keep in touch with family and friends?
To keep in touch with friends, I try to call them once a week to keep up to date on current events in each others' lives. With that being said, I do have friends I don't talk to while away, but we still have a great friendship when we're back in the same place. While with family I usually talk to them every couple of days to keep them up to date on on things going on here in Wilmington.

What is your city like? What is popular among locals?
A popular place with the company dancers is a coffee shop less than half a block away from the studios called Brew-Haha! Another place you can often find us would be at a restaurant called Mikimotos which serves some of my favorite sushi in town. Wilmington is a fairly small city, so small that almost nothing is open on the weekends, but that’s just okay with me seeing that Philadelphia, Newark, and New York are all so close.

Desiree takes a striking photo in front of the Grand Opera House in downtown Wilmington where the First State Ballet Theatre's performances are held.

How are the classes/atmosphere/life different from CFB?
Company warmup is very different from student classes because you get artistic freedom with the movements, and there are very few corrections given during the class. The atmosphere is also completely different from being in a pre-professional setting. In a pre-professional setting you can work up to 5 months on a single production, where as in a company you can have as little time as 2 weeks to put an entire production together!


Desiree in First State Ballet Theatre's production of Swan Lake.

What did you learn from CFB that has helped you during your time there?
The most important thing I've learned from my time with CFB is dance etiquette. It's one of the most important things when working in a professional setting. Whether that be, how to be respectful to not only your directors but also your fellow dancers, to keeping your things neat while at the studio so it's not in the way of others.

What has surprised you most?
The major thing that surprised me, was how much our whole company genuinely cares about each other. It's been such a positive environment that I couldn't be more thankful for this to be my first company.

Desiree in First State Ballet Theatre's production of Swan Lake.

What are you looking forward to this Spring and what are your summer plans?
What I'm most excited for this spring is being a part of Elegant Souls: A Triple Bill. The program includes Walpurgis Night from the Opera Faust, Elegant Souls, a choreographed piece by Viktor Plotnikov, and the Grand Pas from Raymonda. Each of these pieces has such a different style compared to the other, which is going to push me artistically in ways I haven't been before.

After my season ends with the company, I hope to return to CFB and continue to take classes to keep improving my technique. Later on in the summer, I plan on attending New Jersey Ballet's Summer Intensive on a full scholarship.

Want to push yourself to the next level? Start classes at the Central Florida Ballet's official school by visiting our website for information on Spring Enrollment and our Summer Programs. http://www.centralfloridaballet.com




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Preview of New Sets for Central Florida Ballet's The Nutcracker

Central Florida Ballet's The Nutcracker will take center stage in the Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center on December 17 at 2pm & 7:30pm, and December 18 at 2pm.

The 16th annual production will see the debut of new set backdrops, which replace the originals made in 2001. A company in Russia was commissioned to hand-paint the backdrops measuring a massive 25 feet wide and 50 feet tall.

Here's a Preview of the new set backdrops:

Drawing of the "Party Scene" for Central Florida Ballet's The Nutcracker
Design by Dorin Gal 

Drawing of the "Snow Scene" for Central Florida Ballet's The Nutcracker
Design by Dorin Gal 


"I am excited for our audiences to see our new set backdrops." says CFB Founder and Executive Director, Vasile Petrutiu. "It will be the perfect holiday surprise!"

While staying true to the traditional classic story of The Nutcracker, the Central Florida Ballet's production is unique to the nation for its: thrilling pyrotechnics, fiber-optic special effects, and aerial acrobatics.

The production reached national attention from major news organizations:
•    USA Today "the pyrotechnic Nutcracker"
•    CNN Headline News "one of the top five productions in the nation"
•    Wall Street Journal "mini-explosions and aerial acrobatics"

Two popular events complementing the ‘Nutcracker experience’ are: The Nutcracker Boutique filled with popular gift items, and the Nutcracker Raffle & Silent Auction which will raise funds for the 2016/17 season. Both events will open forty-five minutes before each performance and during intermission.

Tickets are priced at $80 for “VIP” package, $64 for “Gold Circle”, $48 for Section A, $38 for Section B and $24 for Section C and may be purchased at centralfloridaballet.com.


Here's a preview of the production:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Four Moms Share Opinions on the Nutcracker

Since The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition for many families around the world, we decided to get a mom's perspective on the beloved classic. 

We chatted with four moms who reveal which Nutcracker character they would like to be and much more! Enjoy!

ALEXIS SPADE

Pictured: Alexis with husband, Philip

1. Which dance do you enjoy most in The Nutcracker?

My favorite dance by far is the "Waltz of the Snowflakes" 🙂

2. What is your favorite part about attending The Nutcracker? 

My favorite part is how it has become a wonderful family tradition for the Holiday Season to watch the Nutcracker. This is our 8th year and can't wait to see it again!

3. Have you visited CFB's Nutcracker Boutique or the Nutcracker Raffle/Silent Auction? Did you buy or win any items?
We always visit the boutique every year to get a special Nutcracker for that year!

4. If you were to be a Nutcracker character, who would you like to play?

Snow Queen! Because it is my favorite scene and I love the tutu and the part where she comes out with the snow king holding her with one hand.. That would be so neat to do that!


SHARITA JACKSON

Pictured: Sharita Jackson

1. Which dance do you enjoy most in The Nutcracker?
I loved watching the very last Grande Pas de Deux.

2. What is your favorite part about attending The Nutcracker? 
Celebrating the holiday season is always exciting when you take part in traditions that are celebrated world wide.  My most favorite part about attending the Nutcracker ballet is seeing all the dancers pour their heart and souls into perfecting the historical choreography of their artistic director...especially the younger dancers.

3. Have you visited CFB's Nutcracker Boutique or the Nutcracker Raffle/Silent Auction? Did you buy or win any items?
Yes, the silent auction added a bit of fun and a shopping opportunity for everyone in attendance.  Last year was my first year purchasing a Nutcracker doll for my 7 year old daughter.  I anticipate adding one doll to our newly started collection each year.  While purchasing the doll, I also purchased straws for the raffle.  I am very pleased to say that I walked away with 3 nice auction items!!!  Hoping for good fortune next time around.

4. If you were to be a Nutcracker character, who would you like to play?
Maria of course!!  LOL! 


LISA HEADLEY

Pictured: Lisa with husband, Tom

1. Which dance do you enjoy most in The Nutcracker?
That's a really hard question because the wonderful thing about Nutcracker is that the dances are so varied. You have the ethereal Waltz of the Snow Flakes, the fun of the jig, and the grandeur of the Sugar Plum Fairy!  Oh! And the snap of the fantastic Spanish dance!  If I have to pick one it's probably the Snow Waltz.

2. What is your favorite part about attending The Nutcracker? 
The Nutcracker was the first ballet I ever attended as a child and a tradition my mother gave me each year and one I now give to my children and will give my grandchildren someday. I love that the Nutcracker is a timeless classic that is part of our family's tradition.

3. Have you visited CFB's Nutcracker Boutique or the Nutcracker Raffle/Silent Auction? Did you buy or win any items?
We bid and won a bowling excursion.

4. If you were to be a Nutcracker character, who would you like to play?
I would love to be the Snow Queen so I could dance in all of the snow!


CHRISTY LERETTE

Pictured: Christy with daughters, Erica and Cassandra

1. Which dance do you enjoy most in The Nutcracker?  
The pas de deux where Maria dances with the Prince in the first act. It's beautiful!

2. What is your favorite part about attending The Nutcracker? 

The first part of the show when the "party scene" begins because everything is so colorful and beautiful!

3. Have you visited CFB's Nutcracker Boutique or the Nutcracker Raffle/Silent Auction? Did you buy or win any items?  

I have bought some awesome nutcrackers at the boutique (they have the BEST selection!). I also bought some raffle tickets that weren't winners, but maybe this will be my lucky year!

4. If you were to be a Nutcracker character, who would you like to play?

Maria - she dances a lot and gets to watch almost everything when she's not dancing!


For tickets and more information on attending 
the Central Florida Ballet's Nutcracker, 
please click the following link:
http://www.myboxoffice.us/program/the-nutcracker-778

Also be sure to check out our video preview: