Thursday, September 17, 2015

Interview with Arielle Martin

Photo by Isaac Aoki

Arielle Martin received her early and pre-professional ballet training from the Ballet Academy of Central Florida under direction of Vasile Petrutiu, Vladimir Bykov, and Heather Sanders-Fryxell. She also studied with scholarships at Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, and Miami City Ballet. In 2009, she received the Silver Medal in the Pre-Professional Category (ages 14-17) at the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida.

In 2010, Arielle was the only American dancer to represent Florida at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. After her participation she joined the Professional Division of Pacific Northwest Ballet on full scholarship until her graduation. Arielle performed in many productions such as Don Quixote, A Midsummer's Night Dream, and Nutcracker with the company. After graduation she joined the Teatrul de Balet Sibiu in Sibiu, Romania and also performed as a guest apprentice in Dresden Semperopera Ballet (Germany) in La Bayadere and Harmensdamen. She then joined the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada for the following season and is currently in her 2nd season with the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin in Germany.

We caught up with Arielle where she reminisced on her past and gave insight into life as a professional dancer.
At what age did you start training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida (BACF)?
6 years old

Who were your primary teachers during your years training at BACF? 

Vladimir Bykov, Vasile Petrutiu, and Heather Fryxell

You won several prestigious awards in competitions, what tips do you give to dancers to be successful in competitions?
Try to find a good head space, have fun, and don't stop striving for the top.

 Arielle performs a contemporary solo at the 2009 World Ballet Competition in Orlando, where she received the Silver Medal in the Pre-Professional Category. Photo by Virginia Trudeau and Deedee Sherman

What performances did you enjoy dancing the most with the Central Florida Ballet and why?
Butterfly in Nutcracker, because it was a challenge but yet such a beautiful part.
How was the transition from BACF to Pacific Northwest Ballet? Was it tough to leave your family and friends? How did you keep in contact with them?  
The transition was exciting and scary but ended up being a great time and I learned so much. I missed my family but thank god for Skype.   

 Arielle at the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Photo by Isaac Aoki.

You have been a member of several companies - describe some of the differences between the companies.     
In each company you start in the morning with classes and continue with rehearsals. The difference between each company was the repertoire and also the city in size and development. But Berlin is the best place I have ever lived and do not see myself leaving anytime soon. 

Arielle performs with the Teatrul de Ballet Sibiu in Romania. 

   Arielle poses with fellow company members at the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada

 What did you learn from the Ballet Academy of Central Florida that has helped you as a professional dancer?
I learned to always work hard and try to be the best dancer I can be.

*For information on classes at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida, please visit or call 407.849.9942 ext 10.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Vacation Pics: Academy Students

From sightseeing in Europe to Disney adventures, our Academy students and alumni took the world by storm!

 Academy Students: Taimane Tevaga, Tua Tevaga, and Jasmine Jasper strike a pose in Arizona!

CFB Alumna, Meredith Harrill, stuns with a high-flying leap at the Shenjing Theatre in China!

Academy Student, Elizabeth Petrutiu, takes a trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

CFB Alumna, JoAnna Schmidt, runs through fields in Europe!

 CFB Alumna, Arielle Martin (right) takes a majestic leap in Marjorca, Spain.

Academy Student, Jasmine Jasper, finds and adds to art in Arizona.

CFB Alumna, Annette Rivera, at La Cueva Del indio en Arecibo in Puerto Rico.

Academy Student, Ellexis Hatch, exemplifies grace in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Academy Student, Ashton Gordon (2nd from right) stands in front of a Museum in Canada.

Academy Student, Aurora Naatjes, gets buried in the sand.

Academy Student, Desiree Nguyen, takes a daring pose in Vienna, Austria.

 Gabriella Costa creatively sight-sees in Washington, DC.

Remember, Fall Academy Classes begin August 17, 2015! For details on registering. please call 407.849.9948 ext 10 or visit

Central Florida Ballet's Studios are located at 3306 Maggie Blvd., Suite B, Orlando, FL 32811. Just minutes away from Holy Land and I4 Conroy Exit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Auditions Jan 10 for Summer Intensive 2015

The Central Florida Ballet will be holding auditions this Saturday, January 10th for its 2015 Summer Intensive Dance Program (July 6-31, 2015).

Audition Times on Saturday, January 10:

Age 8-14 (Not on pointe)
Registration: 12:30pm, Audition: 1pm

Age 10 and Up (On pointe for 2+ years)
Registration: 2pm, Audition: 2:30pm

Audition Fee: $25 payable to Central Florida Ballet

Studio Location: 3306 Maggie Blvd., Suite B, Orlando, FL 32811  

Central Florida Ballet’s Summer Intensive Dance Program offers professional ballet training in the Russian Method and the program is designed to both challenge and encourage young dance students. CFB's esteemed faculty provide intensive study in ballet, pointe, and variations. Additional classes in styles such as jazz, modern, contemporary, character, tap, pilates, repertoire is also offered among seminars in choreography and acting for dancers along with studies in dance-related topics including dance history, music theory, injury prevention and nutrition. 

Academy Student: Courtnee Newsome, 
Photo by Tyler Mark Photography © Copyright 2014

Classes are held in the Central Florida Ballet’s 5,000 square foot facility with three studios; all studios are equipped with a sprung floor. 

Central Florida Ballet's faculty includes:  Vasile Petrutiu – Co-Founder/Executive Director of Central Florida Ballet and the World Ballet Competition, Vladimir Bykov – Artistic Director - Central Florida Ballet and the World Ballet Competition, Natalya Bashkatova (former Bolshoi Ballet Ballerina), Gina Hatch, Shayna Tevaga, Christye Alan, Dawhone PerryDawn Branch, Lorraine Spack and Internationally recognized guest master teachers will be invited.

Summer Intensive Program Tuition

2 Weeks              $660
3 Weeks              $880
4 Weeks              $1,050

All Students will receive the Official Central Florida Ballet t-shirt. Students attending the last 2 weeks are eligible to participate in the final performance.

Lunches provided by Crispers are available for purchase at $8/day or $35 for the week. Lunches are delivered daily to the studios.

Please Call 407 849-9948 or 407 849 9942 for more information or visit our website at

Academy Student: Ashton Gordon,
Photo by Tyler Mark Photography © Copyright  2014

The Central Florida Ballet is located in Orlando, just minutes away from Central Florida’s famous attractions including Universal Studios, Seaworld, Cirque Du Soleil, and Disney World.  You can now spend your summer studying dance in the United States’ number one tourist destination with some of the artists who make ‘Magic’ in our world-famous entertainment venues.  Orlando is one of the fastest growing arts communities in the nation.  Join us and enjoy the welcoming Southern hospitality which draws thousands of visitors from all over the world. 

The Company
Central Florida Ballet annually presents its innovative “Nutcracker” which has received glowing international recognition - on CNN as "one of five outstanding productions in the nation" named "the pyrotechnic Nutcracker" by USA Today, featured by the Wall Street Journal for "mini-explosion and aerial acrobatics", and most recently filmed by ABC News! In 2007, the World Ballet Competition was launched and has since become a premier international ballet competition that is ruled by fairness and innovation. Led by acclaimed Director and Choreographer Vasile Petrutiu, the Company’s mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire through the universal art form of dance. With a diverse repertoire of dance productions and programs from classical to contemporary and beyond, each attendee is to be culturally enriched while developing an appreciation for the arts.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Companies Nationwide Support the CFB Nutcracker Silent Auction

The Central Florida Ballet is gearing up for its annual Nutcracker Silent Auction, which is a 100% fundraising activity where all monies raised go towards bringing the arts to school's who lack funding for the arts.

The silent auctions will be held before performances of The Nutcracker on December 13 and 14 at the Orange County Convention Center.

Companies nationwide have stepped up to support these educational and outreach programs including 1) FREE In-School performances for students in Orange County serving 1,000+ students per year, 2) highly reduced or free ticket admission for Title-1 Schools and disadvantaged youth groups within the Orlando area to attend a performance at the Orange County Convention Center, and 3) the Children's Ballet Series created specially for our youngest audiences in the Central Florida area.

 Pictured: A group of students meet characters during the Central Florida Ballet's school performance of The Nutcracker.

Companies donating items to the 2014 Nutcracker Silent Auction include:

Arnold Palmer
Atlantis Resort & Casino Reno, NV
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Christopher Anthony Salon & Spa
Cirque du Soleil
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Dance Wear Corner
Euro Day Spa
Family Vacation Trust
First Watch
Garden Theatre
Glazer Children's Museum
Kennedy Space Center
Orlando City Soccer Club
Orlando Science Center
Pier 39
Pink Calyx
Portrait Innovations
Premier Cancun Vacations
PRP Wine International
Ranger's Pet Outpost & Retreat
Southwest Orlando Eye Care
Thirty-One Gifts
Tiny Prints
Whole Foods Market
WonderWorks Orlando
Xtreme Bowling & Karting
Yoga Private Lesson by Shata Ben-Avari
More To Be Announced

The deadline to receive item donations is November 17, 2014. Businesses wishing to donate can do so by downloading the Auction Donation form here and the official letter. Please direct any questions to: Kailey Klopfenstein at or please call 407.849.9948, ext 10.

Plus be sure to mark your calendar for the Central Florida Ballet's auction and performances.

Nutcracker Performances: 
Held at Linda Chapin Theater, Orange County Convention Center (Tickets $24-80)
Ticket link:
Event page: Nutcracker performance page
Saturday, December 13 @ 2pm
Saturday, December 13 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, December 14 @ 2pm

Nutcracker Auctions:
Held in lobby beside the Linda Chapin Theater (free admission)
Event page: Nutcracker auction page
Saturday, December 13 @ 6:30pm
Saturday, December 14 @ 1pm

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 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.