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:





Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Natalia Bashkatova shares thoughts on Teaching and Performing

We are so excited to share a little bit about our 
Academy faculty member: Natalia Bashkatova!

We asked her a few questions and here is what she had to say:

Pictured: Natalia Bashkatova

1. What do you enjoy most about teaching?
The enjoyment of teaching begins where you start to see your students improving their skills! Ambitiously to say, but I love when my kids want to be in your class and their parents appreciate you for your involvement into their child's life! Every single student has a talent and it feels just right to be able to recognize it, work on bringing this talent to the maximum level! At the end of the day when they are standing on stage and bowing to the audience who is shouting Bravo!; it's my moment of satisfaction as a teacher and mentor!

Natalia Bashkatova teaching at the Central Florida Ballet

2. Do you pre-plan your combinations for class?
Of course I prepare my class in advance, not all of it, but the structure of it. Ballet class is all about the placement and logic.

3. Tell us about your dancing background; your school and companies you worked for. Who are some of the teachers that have inspired you?
My background starts in Moscow, Russia when at the age of ten I got accepted to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. I graduated in the Summer of 1989 and was accepted to the Bolshoi Theatre Grigorovich Ballet Company.  During my school years, I had five amazing ballet teachers, but during the last two years I was in a class of ELENA Ryabinkina legendary Russian ballerina who also danced alongside Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya and Ekaterina Maximova! She continued to work with me in the Bolshoi Ballet and prepared me for my first Swan Lake principal role at age 20! I was very fortunate to start dancing principal roles at such a young age. I was touring around the world very intensively these years and was recognized as the Best Ballerina in 1993 at the Spoletto Festival in Italy. The major input into my professional career I would give to Mr. Yuri Grigorovich who choreographed semi-classical ballet repertoire for the Bolshoi. I was extremely lucky to work privately with this iconic choreographer!

Natalia Bashkatova performs the White Swan pas de deux in Swan Lake with the
Bolshoi Theatre Grigorovich Ballet Company

The next phase of my career falls on guest artist period! New York City Ballet tour probably most recognizable, I shared the stage with names like Heather Watts, Wendy Whelan, Valentina Kozlova, Jack Soto and of course partnering with those incredible male dancers like Damian Woetzel, Ben Huys and Igor Zelensky!

In the present time I am still performing full time as a ballet artist with worldwide known Cirque Du Soleil here in Orlando. Come to see La Nouba and you see me perform! I have been with Cirque since 1997. It's my second production which I started back in 1998.


Natalia Bashkatova in full costume for Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba

4. What do you work on in class?
In my class I mainly work on the classical form of ballet! I am representing Vaganova Style and very much follow the major roles and requirements of this style.

5. If you could describe your ballet classes in three words, what would they be?
Form - Style - Discipline

6. You recently choreographed a contemporary piece for the World Ballet Competition, did you enjoy the process? Was it difficult to think of original choreography?
I choreographed before, but not for the professional ballet stage. It was my debut as a choreographer to expose my work for a professional dance auditorium. I think the most important for a choreographer is their signature unique style. I was very surprised that many dancers already recognized my style.  My inspiration always is music! And I was very fortunate to work with this talented girl Jasmine Jasper who was at the time a student of the Central Florida Ballet's Academy. In September of this year she continued her ballet studies at the American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York City.

Contemporary piece choreographed by Natalia at the 2016 World Ballet Competition
(performed by Academy student: Jasmine Jasper)


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






Friday, September 9, 2016

Dancer Pays Tribute to Friend who Died at Pulse

The Central Florida Ballet will commemorate the 15th Anniversary attack on the World Trade Center with its stirring performance "9/11 An American Moment” to be held at Northland, A Church Distributed this Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 2:00pm.

David William Scott will be a featured performer and sat down to share his thoughts on the production - and the personal impact of the Pulse attack in Orlando.

 
Where were you when you heard about the 9/11 attack?
I was in school in between two classes. They made an announcement that school was cancelled for the rest of the day and to go straight home.

What does dancing in this tribute performance mean to you?
It's a honor to be asked to perform in this show. I previously had been living in NYC that summer and I knew a couple of friends who had lost a loved one. I always dedicate my performance to them.

In the performance, you will be dancing a pas de deux titled "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. It's a very emotional piece with lots of lifts. What do you think about when you perform the piece? How do you connect with your partner emotionally?
Jenna is a beautiful dancer and I feel as if we have a great chemistry together. As I perform this piece I try to emote the beauty and emotion this piece requires. It is a little difficult with all of the lifts but Jenna is great and is very dedicated.

Do you know anyone affected by the Pulse attack? If so, tell us more.
I lost a very dear friend in the Pulse attack: Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado ❤️. He was an amazing dancer, father and most of all friend . I've been to the nightclub on numerous times growing up. It was very hard for me when I first found out because I was supposed to be there that night but decided I should stay in instead. It has made me a stronger person and reminds me to tell my friends and family how much I love them everyday. 


Pictured: Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, a victim of the Pulse attack.

Have you been to New York and if so, what is your most memorable experience there?
I had the opportunity to dance with the School of American Ballet for their year-long program. I absolutely loved it. My most memorable experience was being asked to do a dance photo shoot in Central Park!

Do you have any pre-performance rituals and how do you prepare?
I always review my choreography before I go out and dedicate my performance to someone (usually my mom!)

Anything special we should know about your performance on Sunday?
It's hard to believe that it's been 15 years since this has happened. I am so thankful for the opportunity to perform and this performance will be dedicated to those who have lost a loved one at Pulse.

Pictured: David William Scott


To purchase tickets for the 9/11 Tribute Performance visit: http://www.myboxoffice.us/program/911-an-american-moment-784 or call the Central Florida Ballet at 407-849-9948 ext 10

Use code: northland for 50% off your ticket order (valid for tickets up to $30)


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Israel Rodriguez Talks 9/11 and Upcoming Tribute Performance

The Central Florida Ballet will commemorate the 15th Anniversary attack on the World Trade Center with its stirring performance "9/11 An American Moment” to be held at Northland, A Church Distributed this Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 2:00pm.

Audience favorite, Israel Rodriguez, will be a featured performer and sat down to share his thoughts on the production.

Where were you when you heard about the 9/11 attack?
I was in my apartment when my wife, Katia Garza, woke me up. At that point we thought it was just a fatal airplane accident.

What does dancing in this tribute performance mean to you?
It does mean a lot to me. I can't imagine what those families go through every year at this time. I wish I could do more. It is an honor to be part of this tribute to them.

In the performance, you will be dancing a solo titled "That's Life" sung by Frank Sinatra. It's a very New York piece. Who choreographed the piece and what is the inspiration behind the choreography?

The choreographer is the talented Terrance Henderson. We all know we live in a life full of “ups and down”. When I dance this piece, I don't think only of my own "ups and downs" I have gone through but also my friend's and family's. That is my inspiration!!

Have you been to New York and if so, what is your most memorable experience there?
Yes I have and I love New York. I remember one day I was running late for an audition for the “Dirty Dancing“ Broadway show. Then I got there and they told me I had to sing to get the part Haa! and nope I cannot sing to save my life.

What NY tourist spot would you recommend to visit?
I would say all of them but I would recommend the New York Public Library.


Pictured: The New York Public Library

Do you have any pre-performance rituals and how do you prepare?
I always thank God for the opportunity given and then pray for my and everyone's health and success on the show then, I listen to music.

The way I prepare may be a bit different. Besides my daily classes and rehearsals, I practice and train a lot of Martial arts, boxing and running like if I will fight for a title :)

Anything special we should know about your performance on Sunday?
We all will be dancing from our heart. We will be celebrating the life of those who left us, we will dance for Orlando.

To purchase tickets for the performance visit: http://www.myboxoffice.us/program/911-an-american-moment-784 or call the Central Florida Ballet at 407-849-9948 ext 10

Use code: northland for 50% off your ticket order (valid for tickets up to $30 and expires 9.9.2016)



Thursday, September 1, 2016

9/11 Tribute Performance Announced

The Central Florida Ballet will commemorate the 15th Anniversary attack on the World Trade Center with its’ stirring performance entitled “9/11 An American Moment” - to be held at Northland, A Church Distributed on Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 2:00pm.

Created in 2006, “9/11 An American Moment” is an original production that pays tribute to the victims of 9/11 and to the first responders, armed forces, fire fighters, and law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily to protect our country. The production captures the poignancy of tested and proven American patriotism; her courage, faith, resolve and pride in response to the World Trade Center attack.


During the hour-long performance various types of dance are featured and take you through a storyline of scenes describing the before, during, and after the attack. It gets “very real” with the inclusion of news-broadcast sound bites and a depiction of a child praying on the loss of her father after the disaster.

“With the recent Pulse tragedy, this performance has an even greater impact on our community." says Vasile Petrutiu, Founder and Executive Director of the Central Florida Ballet. "We hope to use this performance to continue uniting our community and a portion of proceeds will benefit the One Orlando Fund. We are also giving veterans, first responders, and family members of a Pulse/9-11 victim or survivor a free ticket."

New for the 15th Anniversary tribute will be audience favorites: Israel Rodriguez and David William Scott who are featured among a cast of local talent. Furthermore, the Boone High School Choir was selected to open the performance.

CFB's production received national recognition in 2007 by the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. The Honorable Tom Feeney recognized Central Florida Ballet as “the only company in the Nation to have choreographed a ballet based on this fateful day.”

 Photo from Central Florida Ballet's 9/11 An American Moment production

Tickets are $20 standard viewing area, $30 prime viewing area, or $50 VIP Donation (and is tax-deductible). Tickets can be purchased online or be made by calling the Central Florida Ballet – Box Office at 407.849.9948.

ORDER TICKETS FOR THE PERFORMANCE HERE

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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ashton Gordon talks moving and life in Canada

Ashton Gordon at the National Ballet School of Canada

We recently sat down with Ashton Gordon to discuss her move last fall to the National Ballet School of Canada and reminisce on her time training at the Central Florida Ballet.

Ashton Gordon came to the Central Florida Ballet (CFB) from a local competition studio. Her teacher recognized a deeper focus in ballet at age 8 and recommended her to join CFB's official school: The Ballet Academy of Central Florida. She progressed quickly, going on pointe at age 9 then competed in the World Ballet Competition the following year and took the Bronze medal in the Introductory Category. Ashton also received scholarships to Ballet West and Valentina Koslova's Dance Conservatory of New York. She was a student company member through her years at Central Florida Ballet and performed featured roles in many performances: including Maria (Clara), Spanish Lead, and Doll in The Nutcracker.

At what age did you start training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida?
I started training at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida when I was eight years old.

What have been some of your favorite performances or experiences with the Central Florida Ballet (CFB)?
One of the best experiences I've ever had with CFB was performing Maria/Clara in The Nutcracker in Romania. It was an amazing performance opportunity, but it was also just a fun trip with the whole studio, like going on a not so relaxing vacation with all your best friends.

Ashton performing the role of Maria in the Central Florida Ballet's The Nutcracker.
Photo by: Deedee Sherman and Virginia Trudeau

How did you receive admission into the National Ballet School of Canada?
Describe a typical day.

I was accepted into the National Ballet School of Canada after attending their four week summer program in July of 2016. The whole four weeks was an audition for the year round program, but I also had to send in a video audition for the summer intensive.

In a typical day for senior students, academics run from 8:15 to 12. Ballet class is at 1, and takes an hour and forty five minutes. Then we have a fifteen minute break to put our pointe shoes on and pointe class is usually an hour and fifteen or an hour and thirty depending on if we have rehearsal afterwards. If there's no rehearsal then we will have an hour and a half of modern or yoga, ending the day at 6:30. Then we go back to residence to eat dinner and do homework until it's time for bed, then we get up and do it again!

How do you keep in touch with family and friends?

This sounds really bad but I don't really keep in touch hahaha. I've always been awful at replying to messages and I prefer to be with people in the moment. Thankfully I have friends who understand that about me and when I come home, it's like I never left. On a whim I'll just call a friend, or check in to see how they're doing and we'll talk for hours, but I'm not sure that'd be good for my grades or my social life if I did that all the time. As for my family, we just send messages randomly of things we find funny or what we think they might like, and we have a group chat that's always open for encouragement and conversation.

Have you visited any landmarks or exciting places? What is popular among locals?

The great thing about living in a big city is that there's always something to do or explore. I've been to almost all of Toronto's attractions like the CN tower, Toronto islands, Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery Ontario, and Casa Loma. Coffee shops are really popular with locals, but most of the students just go to the grocery store as an outing because it's only a block away and there's food there.

Ashton at Sorry Coffee Co. with a view of in Canada the background.   

Ashton (2nd from right) stands in front of a Museum in Canada. 

How are the classes different from CFB?

Classes here are much slower than at CFB. Mr. Vladimir and Mr. Vasile have taught me all of the ballet curriculum, and the NBS staff has been refining the movements and developing all that I learned at CFB. We also tend to keep the same class for days, even weeks, at a time to work on technique; whereas I always got fresh combinations everyday at CFB which is an essential skill for auditioning.

What did you learn from CFB that has helped you during your time there?

CFB has always encouraged me to work to my fullest potential everyday. I received positive feedback from the administration of NBS on my hard working attitude and teachability, which was a major factor in my acceptance to the school. A piece of advice I received from Mr. Vasile has stayed with me, as I know it has with many other CFB  students, to not just work hard but to work smart; and I feel like that has had a huge impact on my training.

Ashton Gordon during her time training at Central Florida Ballet.

What has surprised you most?
Well for one, the weather came as a bit of a shock, even though I knew it was coming. And the building, as well as studios, are so much more beautiful in person than pictures, but other than that nothing has taken me by surprise in the best way possible. All of my expectations were met, and exceeded as far as the quality of the training, and all the students are extremely supportive of one another.

What are you looking forward to the final days in the Spring Semester and what are your summer plans?
What I'm most excited about in the spring semester is the spring showcase performance that features grades 10, 11 and 12. We will be performing Yondering by John Neumeier, which was choreographed on NBS students, as well as Balanchine's Serenade that is both challenging and incredibly beautiful. It could be anything though honestly, I just love performing!

*For information on classes at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida, please visit http://www.centralfloridaballet.com or call 407.849.9942 ext 10.