Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hunter Finnegan talks life at Tulsa Ballet

We caught up with Hunter Finnegan to discuss his move to a new city, dancing professionally with The Tulsa Ballet and take a look back at his training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida (the official school of Central Florida Ballet).

Hunter training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida in 2010.

#1 At what age did you start training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida (BACF)?
I started at BACF at the age of 9 right after I quit gymnastics.

#2 What are some of your most memorable highlights during your years training at BACF?
I have to say the highlights for me were the rehearsals for The Nutcracker and recitals. They were very fun and pretty crazy. I always had a great time working with Vladimir Bykov, because he is a really fun person even though it may seem like he is yelling at you all the time.

A flashback to Hunter participating in the World Ballet Competition USA 2010 - where he won the Silver Medal in the Preparatory Category (ages 12-13).
#3 What featured roles did you enjoy dancing the most with the Central Florida Ballet professional company and the Studio Company? 
I have to say my favorite roles were Fritz from The Nutcracker and The Wolf from Peter and The Wolf.

#4 How was the transition to Tulsa? Was it tough to leave your family and friends? How do you keep in contact with them? 
The transition to Tulsa was surprisingly very easy. I have been away from home for the past 3 years in Pittsburgh, PA (training at The School of Pittsburgh Ballet Theater) so I'm used to being away from home. I call, text, email and Skype with my family. Thank goodness for technology!

#5 What is a typical day like at Tulsa Ballet?
I have company class from 9:30 - 11 Monday - Thursday and on Friday it's until 10:45. We then get a 15 minute break from class to rehearsals. At every hour we get a 5 minute break due to the requirements of the AGMA union. We have an hour for lunch from 2:15 - 3:15. Then we finish the day at exactly 6:10 except for Friday which we end at 5:55.

Hunter's Selfie sitting in the auditorium for Tulsa Ballet's rehearsal week.
#6 What did you learn from the Ballet Academy of Central Florida that has helped you at Tulsa Ballet?
I've learned my technique and discipline at BACF and the ability to learn things quickly.

#7 What surprised you most about dancing at Tulsa Ballet?
The classes are very Russian based. Also, the amount of time to learn ballets is not very long. 

#8 What do you think about your accomplishment of receiving a contract with Tulsa Ballet?
I think it is an honor for me to get hired at Tulsa Ballet. They pick their dancers very carefully so even if I believe that I don't deserve to dance here there is something they see in me that they want for the company.

#9 What is your dream role to dance at Tulsa Ballet? 
I don't have a dream role but I would happy with any principal role or as long as I am performing I will be fine.

The dancing never stops! Hunter in Tulsa - dancing with a friend and famous statue.

ABOUT HUNTER: Hunter Finnegan began his ballet training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida at age nine. Originally training in gymnastics, he transferred his focus to ballet while also studying Irish dancing. He appeared as Fritz in the Central Florida Ballet's Nutcracker as well as being featured in many soloist roles of CFB productions including those in Peter and the Wolf, 9/11 An American Moment, The Toy Shop, La Vivandiere, and The Ugly Duckling.

He won the Silver Medal in the Preparatory Category at the World Ballet Competition USA in 2010 and was later spotted by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School. He then moved to Pittsburgh in August of 2011 and continued his training for the next three years where he just graduated in May of this year (2014). He then participated in the World Ballet Competition's 2014 International Job Fair in June and was awarded a contract for the Tulsa Ballet's 2014-15 Season.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Six Academy Students Chosen for World Ballet Competition

Six students of the Central Florida Ballet Academy are set to compete in the prestigious World Ballet Competition's annual finals held in Orlando, Florida, USA at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center from June 9 - 14, 2014.

Selected from applicants spanning the entire world, CFB students will be competing in the following categories:  Introductory (age 9-11), Preparatory (ages 12-13), Professional (age 18-24), and Choreography (age 9-24).

The six students selected from the Central Florida Ballet Academy include:

Starting from Top Left:
Elizabeth Cotter of Windermere, age 12
Jasmine Jasper of Orlando, age 13
Aurora Naatjes of Orlando, age 12

Starting from Bottom Left:
Tua Tevaga of Orlando, age 11
Cassandra LeRette of Casselberry, age 16
Kailey Withee of Winter Springs, age 18

The World Ballet Competition is one of the largest and most popular international ballet competitions. For the 2014 finals held in Orlando, participants will be representing Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Serbia, South Korea, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Taiwan, United States of America, and Ukraine!

All competition rounds are open to the public and held at 5pm daily (June 9-13). The electrifying All Stars of Dance Gala concludes the week-long event on Saturday, June 14 at 7:30pm. This one-night-only performance features international dance celebrities and winners from the competition.  

For information and tickets, visit http://www.WorldBalletCompetition.com or call 407-849-4669.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Central Florida Ballet Remodels Studio Location, Sets Open House Dates

The Central Florida Ballet (CFB) has remodeled its studio location at 3306 Maggie Blvd., Ste B, Orlando, FL 32811 and is set to host an Open House on Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31.

 Photo by: David McKee, Graphic Design: Eva de Luigi

The Open House will offer studio tours, opportunity to view Academy classes, and prize giveaways including tickets to the upcoming World Ballet Competition and it's thrilling All Stars of Dance gala performance - enter to win simply by taking a tour of the studios. Plus everyone will receive exclusive discounts on registration! Find more information on the official website by clicking here.

CFB has resided in their current location since 2008, however the recent remodel makes the studio feel like a new home. "I am very pleased with the results. Dancers will have more space to relax before and in between classes, plus we have more space to house our costumes and props during the year" says CFB Founder and Executive Director, Vasile Petrutiu. "It makes the location feel more open and inviting".

The plan for remodel included:

1) Building a loft space to house costumes and props
2) Building an additional dancer's lounge area
3) Tiling and adding new fixtures in all of its dressing room areas and bathrooms
4) Expanding the men's dressing room

"I love the new renovations, I think it makes the studio more complete. Now the other students and I have more room to relax, and I love the floors! I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. Thank you to everyone that helped and made it possible." - CFBA Student, Jasmine Jasper.

"I'm very impressed, fantastic job" - Adult student

"The dancers are really enjoying the new space, its brought renewed energy to the atmosphere" - Vladimir Bykov, Artistic Director

"It feels more open and inviting, and dancers have more space to chill out between classes" - Vasile Petrutiu, Founder & Executive Director

View Select Photos of the Central Florida Ballet 
Academy's remodeled facility here:

Women's Dressing Room Area after the remodel (with new tile and benches)

Remodeled Hallway leading to Dancer's Lounge and Studio 3

New Lounge for Dancers (brand new space)

 Men's Dressing Room after remodel

Studio 1 

Studio 2

Studio 3

The Central Florida Ballet is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire through the universal art form of dance. Innovative ballet productions and educational programs are the keystones of the Central Florida Ballet, with national recognition from CNN Headline News, USA Today, and the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Each year, this professional ballet company presents the highly acclaimed World Ballet Competition and All Stars of Dance. It's affiliate school, the Central Florida Ballet Academy, is an award-winning school with students annually winning top titles at area competitions and receiving scholarships worldwide.

Monday, March 24, 2014

CFB Student, Aurora Naatjes, Receives Special Mention from WBC OPEN in Romania

Photo by: Ovidiu Matiu, Aurora Naatjes performing Variation from Flames of Paris

March 24, 2014 - Aurora Naatjes, age 12, traveled to Sibiu, Romania to compete in the World Ballet Competition OPEN 2014 from March 20-23. A student of the Central Florida Ballet Academy, she was the only competitor in her age category representing the United States of America!

She placed 4th in the first day of qualifying rounds and was selected to compete on the finals day at the: WBC OPEN Excellence Award Contest.

At the Award Ceremony, she received an "Honorable Mention" in the Introductory Category - the largest category in the competition.

She ended her trip to Romania with a feature in the WBC OPEN's Gala of the Stars where Aurora performed her contemporary "Empire State Of Mind" to a full house!

View Aurora's award and other winning competitors at http://www.worldballetcompetition.com/wbc-open/winners/2014-winners.html 

For information or to schedule a trial class at the CFB Academy, please call 407-849-9948, ext 10 or visit http://www.centralfloridaballet.com

Monday, February 10, 2014

CFB Hosts Auditions for Harid Conservatory and Hartt School

We are pleased to announce that The Central Florida Ballet will be hosting auditions this month for the following schools below. Each audition will be held at CFB Studios located at 3306 Maggie Blvd., Suite B, Orlando, Florida 32811.

Hartt School's Summer Intensive Audition
"From Studio to Stage" led by Angel Corella
Registration begins at: 1:30pm
Auditions begins at: 2pm


The Harid Conservatory's Summer Intensive Audition
Registration begins at: 11am
Audition begins at: 11:30am

Location of Auditions:
Central Florida Ballet Studios, 3306 Maggie Blvd, Suite B, Orlando, FL 32811 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What are the Benefits of Dance for your Child?

Photo by: Virginia Trudeau & Deedee Sherman

Now is the time to choose dance...the benefits are endless and let's face it...dancing is FUN!

Benefits of Dance:

Physical Health Benefits - Dancing is highly physical; meaning your child will increase their stamina, flexibility, and strength. Not to mention, improving their balance and coordination while building good posture. Studies also show "children who exercise benefit from a deeper and more restful sleep and improved appetite".

Academic Benefits - Both sides of the brain are used simultaneously while you dance; one half is controlling the artistic and creative expression, the other controlling the physicality and movement. This means your child will improve their memory, spatial awareness, and listening ability. Another benefit? Studies show children who dance have higher scores in mathematics and science.

Social Benefits - If you have a shy child, dance can be a good way of allowing her/him to interact with other children and improve her social confidence. Building and enhancing self-esteem is another key outcome from dancing. Above all, through hard work and performances, children can feel a strong sense of achievement, learn about responsibility, and prepare themselves for a successful career; regardless if it involves dance or not.

Want to experience these benefits with small class sizes and individualized attention? We invite you to join us for the 2013/14 school year at the Central Florida Ballet Academy. Our world-class faculty provides Vaganova (Russian method) ballet training, which has proven to create the strongest and most versatile dancer. Students may enroll from age 3-18 and the Academy also offers open adult classes. Save $25 by registering by June 8 for the 2013/14 school year and receive a guaranteed spot in all of your level's classes. Please call 407.849.9942 for more information and/or to set up a trial class. You can also find information on our official website at http://www.centralfloridaballet.com 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Central Florida Ballet presents ‘The Fairy Doll’ from its Children’s Ballet Series

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 (Orlando, FL, USA) - The Central Florida Ballet’s Studio Company will be performing “The Fairy Doll” as part of its Children’s Ballet Series this Sunday, April 28 at 2pm. Held at the Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, this family friendly performance is geared towards young audiences and will be just under an hour to keep children's interest at its peak.

The Fairy Doll is the story of a Can Can doll who lives in a Toy Shop with other magical toys who come to life at night. The magical toys are heartbroken when one day, the Shop Keeper sells the beloved Fairy Doll to one family while her Cavalier is sold to another. The toys try to prevent the two Can Can dolls from being separated by causing chaos in the Top Shop.

“The Fairy Doll” performed by the Central Florida Ballet’s Studio Company 
Photo By: Virginia Trudeau & Deedee Sherman

A bake sale will be held before the performance to raise funds for the Central Florida Ballet’s Studio Company. All proceeds will benefit the Central Florida Ballet, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, and all donations $25 and above are tax-deductible.

All attendees will enjoy FREE parking for the performance. You can also save buy purchasing in advance; Advance tickets are only $5 (Children 12 & Under) and $8 Adults.  Tickets are available by calling 407.849.9948.

For those purchasing tickets at the door, tickets will be $8 (Children 12 & Under) and $10 Adults. Cash only is accepted at the theater on the day of the performance.

For more information, visit http://www.CentralFloridaBallet.com or please call 407.849.9948.