Lake Charles Civic Ballet

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: Tricia Lundy Barrow, “Jolie Blonde” (1996)

This is the eighth installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series. Tricia Lundy Barrow (original cast member of Louisiana Saturday Night) shares her memories from the original production and leaves a great message to all dancers. We are thrilled to have her help this year! Tickets are now on sale and are available at the Civic Center Box Office or www.ticketmaster.com See Assemblé 2014 March 22 and 23 at Rosa Hart Theatre!

By Tricia Lundy Barrow

Returning to Lake Charles Civic Ballet as an instructor for the 2013-2014 season continues to fill my heart with joy, as I have the opportunity to give back to a studio that helped bring my dream to fruition many years ago.  Part of that joyful experience is the opportunity to assist talented young dancers in staging Louisiana Saturday Night for Assemble 2014, a unique ballet full of Louisiana culture and character, originally choreographed by Lady Holly in 1996, in which I performed a leading role, Jolie IMG_6854-2Blonde, in the original cast.

First, I must comment on the idea and opportunity for young dancers to participate in a performance such as Assemble 2014Assemble truly brings the complete theatre experience to the dancers of LCCB, an experience few dancers have in a community the size of Lake Charles.  LCCB dancers perform to live music, with not only the Lake Charles Symphony, but also a live Cajun band, teaching the dancers to adapt on stage to various tempos in music.  They also collaborate with other community artists and choreographers, exposing them to musical theatre and other dance styles, which helps broadens their skill set for a possible professional dance career in the future.  Having danced professionally for a ballet company, I saw first-hand the benefit of not “putting all your eggs in one basket” and learning to adapt to many avenues in the theatre, whether it be classical ballet, modern, jazz, tap, or musical theatre.  Having a range of skills will set one apart in a very small, competitive world.

In my approximate 20 years dancing, no other ballet fills my heart with quite as much excitement as Louisiana Saturday Night.  I was a junior in high school when Holly, once again, out did herself choreographing Louisiana Saturday Night. This was a crucial time during my ballet life, as I was auditioning for college dance programs and summer intensive programs, building my dance resume and technical ability.  Preparing for Louisiana Saturday Night assisted my leap forward.  The stamina required to perform the ballet might be comparable to running a marathon, except with pointed feet, turned-out legs, beautiful extension, and of course, beautiful grand jetés and pirouettes.  The ballet required excellent technique but with the freedom to characterize your arms and head, non-traditional of classical ballet, and the freedom to laugh, flirt, and dance on stage like one was attending a party with friends.  Perhaps that’s one explanation for a heart filled with excitement,
LA Sat Night022because I simultaneously enjoyed three of my favorite things – classical ballet, socializing, and dancing to live music.  The unique partnering exposure and experience in the piece helped build my skill set and technical strength.  As I watch the original videos, teaching the choreography to the present day LCCB dancers, I am flooded with many fond memories, but I also recognize how blessed I was to have Holly, such a young talented choreographer, who could truly take each person’s strengths and personality, magnifying them on stage through dance to create a beautiful ballet.  The Gala finale placement of the piece both at the Southwest Regional Ballet Association Festival in 1996 and the National Festival in 1997 confirmed the unique choreography as well as the technical strength of the LCCB Company.  The last piece placed on the Gala performance is considered the highest honor at Festival, and Louisiana Saturday Night performed last at Gala for the National performance in 1997.  What a great honor to have the best placement in the nation!

I am so honored to share such a ballet with the LCCB dancers.  I encourage each dancer to have fun rehearsing and performing Louisiana Saturday Night and to take advantage of all rehearsal time, pushing yourselves to perform the piece to the best of your ability, so that it, too, can help you leap forward, enhancing your ballet opportunities and dreams.  Thank you, LCCB, for allowing me to be a part of your production!

 

Head shot by Danley Romero

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: A House with Two Dancers

This seventh installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series shows the true meaning of “Assemblé”- to come together. Heather Ieyoub tells us how it has been having her husband and daughter “come together” to perform in Cinderella for Assemblé 2014. Tickets are now on sale and are available at the Civic Center Box Office or www.ticketmaster.com . See Assemblé 2014 March 22 and 23 at Rosa Hart Theatre!

By Heather Ieyoub
family-1Since my daughter was 3 years old, I’ve driven her to ballet every week. I’ve watched her grow from a cute little toddler who always looked for her “x” on the stage before she’d start dancing to being a graceful young lady who gets lost in the music when she performs. I have been the only other person in our house who has shared her love of ballet, but now that has changed. I thought the highlight of this year would be Gambrelle getting her pointe shoes, but it was something much more special! Her biggest fan (after me, of course) will be sharing the stage with her in Assemble’ 2014 Cinderella. Gambrelle’s daddy will play one of the ugly step-sisters. Now, anyone who knows John KNOWS there is NOTHING ugly about him! He is more comfortable dressed as Elvis than surrounded by ballerinas. It took quite a few promises of guilt-free golf, back rubs, and controlling the remote to get him to agree BUT he did! Surprisingly, he has enjoyed every minute.

Now I watch my husband and daughter drive off together on their way to ballet rehearsal. She is all smiles, and when they return they have a new secret language that only members of the Cinderella cast are privy to. They laugh at things that happened during rehearsal, and she gives him pointers on how to be more “lady-like”. My heart swells because I know this is something she will remember forever!

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I’ll be honest: my husband “appreciates” the ballet and he always attends our daughter’s performances, but he has never been a “fan” until now. He comes home sore from lengthy rehearsals and laments that he never knew how tough dancing could be. He marvels at Lady Holly’s passion and vision. He is amazed at how many people on stage and behind the scenes must come together to make a project of this size possible. It’s been fun to watch him arrive at this realization.

When you watch Cinderella this spring keep this in mind: A father and his daughter are sharing the stage and making memories of a lifetime. More people than you can imagine have worked countless hours so that you can get lost in the beauty that is ballet. Many children have given up hours of playing outside, watching television, or playing video games to learn and rehearse steps until they are perfect. And, a man who never thought much of ballet bought his first pair of dance shoes and learned how to do a “perfect” pirouette!

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Heather Ieyoub is a Lake Charles native. She is News Director, Anchor & Writer of FOX29 News Express.  
John Ieyoub is a native of Lake Charles and is the son of Kalil Ieyoub and Julie Ann Miller. He is the COO of Workforce Medical Center.

 

 

 

 

 

Headshot by Danley Romero

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: Work

This is the sixth installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series. Tickets are available at the Civic Center Box Office or www.ticketmaster.com . See Assemblé 2014 March 22 and 23 at Rosa Hart Theatre!

By Rhonda K. Chargois

LCCB Assemblé 2014 Cinderella

Last Saturday, Raye Delle Robbins and her husband, Jerry Grizzle, arrived at the studio packed with luggage for their Florida vacation and with Raye Delle’s work—a stack of pancake tutus for Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s Cinderella. With the March performances of Assemblé 2014 fast approaching, the additions to Cinderella’s living images fell to our good friend Raye Delle.

As the new fairy costumes were unpacked, we oohed and ahhed over the beautiful creations. It was like opening packages at Christmas, only better. The finished tutus will bring to life the character and compliment the movement of each ballerina. Nearly completed, the costumes require only minor alterations. Marking chalk, pins, and a few simple tips to dancers were all that was needed during this fitting. Our visit with Raye Delle included a trip through Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s history, an education in costume construction, and a glimpse into her exciting career as a Costume Designer.

LCCB Assemblé 2014 Cinderella

Raye Delle created the costumes for Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s 1988 Cinderella, but Lady Holly has commissioned several new pieces for this season’s performances including new fairy costumes. These new costumes were necessary to update the theme and style of the ballet. The tutus were custom made for each dancer. Raye Delle explained that when the tulle is sewn together the tutu portion resembles a ball of fluff. Then each each layer of tulle is hand-tied to the layer below to form the tutu’s pancake style. The fairy costumes are classical, ballet style tutus—not the animated story version from television. With beautiful fabrics from Houston and New York City, her finished designs are built to grace the stage for years.

LCCB Assemblé 2014 Cinderella

Her husband, Jerry, supports her passion and always with a smile. He acts as her shipping department, takes the occasional message, and can glue sequins, if needed. On shopping trips, he is her chauffeur and the assistant who carries bolts of fabric to the cutter’s table with Raye Delle’s yardage requirements. They work as a team and packing for a trip means packing Raye Delle’s work first.

Raye Delle was a theatre major so she didn’t construct her first tutu until after college. Years ago that lucky first client was her 3 year old daughter. Currently, Raye Delle works as Costume Shop Manager at TUTS in Houston, Texas. When asked about plans for retirement Raye Delle replied—Never! Why would I? Jerry smiled.

Purchase Your Tickets Today for Assemblé 2014 and witness Raye Delle Robbins’ spectacular creations as part of Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s Cinderella.

Visit our website at www.lakecharlescivicballet for more details and for more about other guest artists featured as part of Assemblé 2014.

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: Cinderella Returns

Overheard as principal dancers Gabby Saucier and Annabelle Bang were leaving the studio: “Nancy is so awesome!” “She really is.” When asked why, they answered: “She is so supportive and empathetic. She gives great corrections and is really nice about it. She understands. She always says things like, ‘I remember what it was like,’ and ‘that was hard for me too when I first started learning it.’ She makes you feel good. She’s just great!”

This fifth installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series describes why Cinderella is a labor of love for Nancy Sensat Higginbotham and why LCCB is lucky to have her back. Tickets go on sale February 11 and are available at the Civic Center Box Office or www.ticketmaster.com . See Assemblé 2014 March 22 and 23 at Rosa Hart Theatre!

 

By Nancy Sensat Higginbotham

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Helping Lady Holly stage Cinderella has been one of the most amazing things I have done in the theater.  I started taking ballet in 1969 with Lady Leah, and my mother started making many of the costumes.  Some of those costumes are the same ones we use today.   Because of that, I was always exposed to many of the behind-the-scenes activities associated with LCCB.  I can remember watching Ms. White and Lady Leah as they discussed how the costumes needed to be put together and trying them on the dancers to see how they moved before the final decisions were made.  Not only was I privy to the costumes, my mother also sewed the drops before Ms. White would paint them.  I was there for nearly everything that was needed to execute a performance.  I was lucky enough to be around at the inception of many of the major ballets that are in LCCB’s repertoire.

As I grew up, I worked very hard and tried to absorb everything Lady Leah and our summer workshop teachers told me.  By the age of 14, I had landed my first lead role as Rudolph and loved it.  I felt as if I had wings when I was on stage.  There were so many people who helped me and I was one lucky girl.  I performed many of the lead roles during my time with LCCB.   My time on stage lasted until my final performance in Lake Charles which was our Christmas production of Cinderella in 1997 where I performed the role of Cinderella opposite Billy Ward.  My late brother was one of my ugly step sisters, and my two wonderful children were also on stage with me.  It was truly a magical performance.

I stayed away from the studio for several years after that.  It hurt my heart not to be on the stage performing.  It had been such a major part of my life.  A few years ago, Lady Holly asked me to teach beginning pointe, and I loved working with these girls.  They worked so very hard and made a tremendous amount of growth their first year in toe shoes.  It was very rewarding.  My work schedule prevented me from teaching the next year.  Those little girls are now performing with the company.

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This summer, Lady Holly asked me to teach again.  But this time, it was teaching a company class.  I had changed careers and my schedule was much more flexible.  I was a little reluctant to teach the company class, because I didn’t know if I could offer them what they needed until I saw something very familiar in the eyes of the dancers:  desire and love for ballet.

Putting Cinderella back together has brought back many fun memories.  These dancers are working very hard on every detail at every rehearsal to be prepared and offer a beautiful performance.  They have been putting in extra time before and after class with me to perfect every detail.   I understand what it is like to be on the stage performing these roles and having someone to take that personal interest to make it a memorable event.   The dancers are putting their whole heart into their choreography, both technically and artistically.  It is amazing to see the progress that is being made and the smiles on their face when I tell them how amazing they look.  I am so honored to be giving back to the company that gave me so much.

 

Nancy Sensat Higginbotham is married to Ronald Higginbotham and mother of Matthew and Christopher. She is currently an instructor with Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance and a court reporter.

Photos by Danley Romero (www.romeroandromerophotography.com)

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: The Fosse Medley

LCCB is thrilled to welcome back to Lake Charles the dynamic duo of Amanda Edge and Billy Ward. After the overwhelming success of their staging of Symphonic Dances from West Side Story for Assemblé 2013, we simply had to have them back for another high impact number. Our dancers have eagerly anticipated Amanda and Billy’s arrival this week to continue the work they began on the Fosse Medley this summer.

This fourth installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series gives a little background about the Fosse Medley. Catch Assemblé 2014 March 22 and 23 at Rosa Hart Theatre! 

By Amanda Edge and Billy Ward

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The great American choreographer, Bob Fosse, gained great posthumous success when a 1996 revival of his show, “Chicago,” ignited Broadway audiences, swept the Tony awards, and inspired the 2002 hit movie (The show is still on Broadway!). Ironically, although “Chicago” is the reason Fosse is such a recognizable name today, he never really liked it very much!

Fosse had a wonderfully prolific career, and was the only person to ever win a Tony award (“Pippin”), an Academy award (“Cabaret”), and an Emmy award (“Liza with a Z”) all in the same year (1973), winning Best Director for each. In fact, he received many awards in his relatively brief lifetime (he died of a heart attack at the age of 60).

Fosse was a dancer and performer at a young age, like the kids at Lake Charles Civic Ballet! He couldn’t get enough of it, and it wasn’t long before he was choreographing for other dancers. He developed a style that was immediately recognizable: the use of turned-in knees, sideways shuffling, rolled shoulders, and “jazz hands.” With Fred Astaire as an influence, he used props such as bowler hats, canes, gloves and chairs. (Michael Jackson was, in turn, hugely influenced by both of them!) Fosse’s trademark use of hats was influenced by his own self-consciousness, as he began losing his hair at a young age. He took what he felt to be a negative attribute and found a way to turn it into a unique asset. What a great lesson for all of us, as dancers and as people!
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For this medley/tribute, Billy and I wanted to show the many sides of Bob Fosse using our own understanding of his style, and highlighting the assets of the Lake Charles Civic Ballet dancers and guests. So much of his work was cynical and dark, and choreographers usually home in on these qualities; but he had so much more going on! For a program like Assemblé, we wanted to celebrate the variety of his shows, his versatility, and some wonderful music. We begin with “All that Jazz” from “Chicago.” It’s so familiar to audiences, and it features the older students. Next is “Who’s Got the Pain” from the musical “Damn Yankees.” It’s a quirky little vaudeville-type number, and while it looks like a simple, animated dance, it’s deceptively tricky! Then, there’s a balletic transition to “Cool Hand Luke,” which he actually choreographed for a Bob Hope special in 1968. It’s an intimate, haunting and sensual piece, with subtleties that are difficult to execute. It’s followed by “Something Better Than This,” a vibrant number from “Sweet Charity,” in which a group of girls longing for a better life share a spirited, sassy dance. “Mr. Bojangles” from “Dancin'” is next, and it’s a number just for the men, featuring Colten singing this bittersweet song. The finale is a section of Benny Goodman’s version of the great jazz piece, “Sing Sing Sing.” It has a driving, pulsing beat, and it features the full cast. Every time I hear the music, a huge smile spreads across my face and I just want to get up and dance. The audience should be bouncing in their seats!”

PS: Bob Fosse’s only child, his daughter Nicole, was Billy’s classmate at North Carolina School of the Arts and at the School of American Ballet! She went on to dance in Phantom of the Opera, among other things, and they’re still in touch today…

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Austin, TX native, Amanda Edge has an extensive professional resume including 15 years performing with New York City Ballet as well as performing in Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away and Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Ms. Edge holds a BA in Arts Administration from Fordham University. 

William “Billy” Ward began his dance training with LCCB. His professional career led him to become a solo dancer with New York City Opera for 26 years. He has also appeared in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Billy is a licensed massage therapist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: The Author’s Perspective

This is the third installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series. The performance opens March 22 and includes Cinderella with the Lake Charles Symphony as well new work, The Tortoise and His Hair.

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By Eloise Huber

I started writing The Tortoise and His Hair almost three years ago. Never once throughout the whole process did I think about ballet, choreography or music composition. Why would I have? So when I found myself sitting in Lady Holly’s living room over the Christmas holidays, I was completely unprepared for what walked through her door.

Three talented musicians sat across from me and picked up their instruments: a guitar, a cello, and a mandolin.

The magic began. The experience of listening to an original music composition while Lady Holly read my book aloud was insanely surreal. I wanted to cry, but I could barely breathe!

Lady Holly, Theresa, Thomas, Danley Jr. and Danley Sr. worked well together. I couldn’t believe I was surrounded by such artistic talent, and by some miracle, I was actually involved. I watched them create music right before my eyes as they made adjustments to fit the mood of every page. It looked effortless and sounded amazing.

I can’t wait to see it all come together in March!

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Weezy Huber lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana with her husband and three sons. She is a member of the Southwest Louisiana Children’s Book Writers’ and Illustrators’ Guild. With the support of the guild and her friends and family she continues to write for children.

The Tortoise and His Hair is currently available for purchase at the following SWLA locations:

Accessory Zone
Caraway’s Pharmacy in Westlake
Expressions
Emily’s Children’s Store
Gordon’s
Papersmith
Paisley Peach in Moss Buff
Teci’s
Mae Mae’s–7th and Hodges
Sulphur Shell Station

Photo by Danley Romero – www.romeroandromerophotography.com

 

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: Transition from Cellist to Composer

This is the second installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series. Performances are March 22 & 23 at the Rosa Hart Theatre. Watch for tickets sales information coming soon!

By Danley Romero, Jr.

LCCB Assemblé 2014 Danley Romero, Jr.The majority of my training as a cellist has involved performing pieces composed by others.  Creating music for the ballet, music that will accompany the narration of The Tortoise and His Hair, was a little outside of my comfort zone — but was also really cool.  Composing music spontaneously with others is not my element, as anyone who has seen me at “jam sessions” undoubtedly knows.  When I got stuck composing my share of the ballet’s piece, my sister/co-performer Theresa Romero, co-performer Thomas Townsley and my Dad all helped me pull through, and to them I’m very grateful.  Once my part began to take shape I felt much better about the whole piece.

My Dad had written the melody of the piece a few years ago and thought it would be a good fit for the book. After teaching me the basic melody, Theresa and Thomas joined in and came up with their own parts.  I’d love to boast that I came up with my own part in the wink of an eye, but in truth it was a group effort. LCCB Assemblé 2014 Theresa Romero

Theresa and Thomas are both students at Loyola University in New Orleans, so finding the time to practice was difficult.  Over their Thanksgiving break we met with Lady Holly and Eloise Huber and performed our piece while Lady Holly narrated The Tortoise and His Hair.  Lady Holly had a few suggestions and the piece needed slight adjustments and some additions, but by the end of our meeting everything was mixing together beautifully.  LCCB Assemblé 2014 Thomas TownsleyWe were all pleased with our progress and it was a really enjoyable experience.  Over the Christmas break we recorded the piece for the ballerinas to practice with, and we’re all really excited to get to perform alongside them this spring.  It will be amazing: music, dance, and literature all coming together to create one spectacular event.

Danley Romero Jr, Theresa Romero and Thomas Townsley by Romero and Romero Photography

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Assemblé 2014: New Work

By Evette Ange

Assemble 2014 hits the stage March 22 and 23! Here’s the first installment in a blog series previewing the rich offerings of this year’s production.

LCCB Assemblé 2014

Holding true to its name, Assemblé 2014 will unite not only the classic ballet of Cinderella and the broadway medley of Fosse, but will also debut the children’s tale The Tortoise and His Hair. Lake Charles author, Eloise Huber, created the story as a gift to her three sons, who will now have the opportunity to see their story come to life on stage under the choreography and direction of Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough.  A twist on the Aesop fable, this delightful story celebrates the uniqueness and individuality of each person.

LCCB Assemblé 2014 New Work

The entire piece is set in motion by an original score composed by Danley Romero, Sr. (also LCCB’s photographer) and arranged by Theresa Romero, Thomas Townsley, and Danley Romero, Jr. Theresa is a music composition major at Loyola University in New Orleans; Thomas is majoring in marketing at Loyola; and Danley, Jr. performs with the Bulber Youth Orchestra. The trio will be performing the music live on stage during the production. Adding to the visual richness will be sets created by Fred Stark. This collaborative new work is sure to entertain all and add to the extensive repertoire of Lake Charles Civic Ballet.

Photo features Sarah Beth Stewart, LCCB Demi-Soloist, by Romero and Romero Photography

Back in the Studio

by Evette Ange

Lady Leah Lafargue students

Excitement fills the studio as eager dancers start back to class this week.  This year four new instructors will be preparing the students for the much anticipated LCCB season.  Each of these instructors are former students of Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance and principal performers with Lake Charles Civic Ballet in some of the very roles that company dancers will be performing this season.

Lady Leah Lafargue students

Lady Holly along with everyone at the studio would like to welcome Baylee Gifford who will be instructing the younger level dancers.  Tricia Lundy Barrow and Christy Daigle, who will be instructing Level 3 Ballet and Nancy Higginbotham who will be instructing Level 3 Ballet and Level 2 Pointe.  Each of these talented, homegrown instructors bring to the students of ballet a new perspective and opportunity for growth, as well as nurturing their poise, grace, self-discipline and self-motivation. Upholding a standard of excellence and continuing the highest quality of classical ballet training has truly become a generational endeavor for those associated with LLL School of the Dance.

Photos by Colten Miller

Cinderella Photo Shoot

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“Once Upon A Time” …the phrase we all relate to as part of our childhood.  What wonderful memories of reading fairy tales and dreaming of being the characters portrayed in “happily ever after”.  For Lake Charles Civic Ballet dancers, the characters WILL come to life as LCCB brings back to the stage an LCCB original production, Cinderella.  Plans are underway to bring this fairy tale to life not only for the dancers but also for the audience as they experience this fairy tale live March 22 & 23,  2014.  LCCB’s set designer, Fred Stark, worked his magic rejuvenating the pumpkin carriage for last months photo shoot.  His artistic ability to translate the beauty of a fairy tale carriage to one set for the stage is amazing.  The carriage is just one of the many projects Fred has in store for the production.

As a former Cinderella of LCCB, last month’s photo shoot brought back wonderful memories.  What a blessing it is to have a local classical ballet non-profit company whose mission is “To provide a complete theatre experience with a emphasis on classical dance training and performance in Louisiana, as a creative outlet for Louisiana choreographers, composers and artists, and as a means of building the audience for dance in our region.”  LCCB truly lives up to its mission!  I watched in amazement as the carriage was positioned and Artistic Director, Lady Holly Hathaway, began directing the dancers for the photos.  She imitated what she wanted them to do and she talked them through each frame.  The dancers had a blast!  Danley Romero of Romero & Romero Photography, LCCB photographer, captured the fairy tale! Danley walked the entire property with Lady Holly exploring each angle..stooping…standing…what an artistic talent Danley is working hard to capture both his and Lady Holly’s artistic style through a single snap shot.

Special thanks to Lisa and Dwaine Ellender of Chateau de Bon Reve for graciously allowing LCCB on their beautiful property.  Chatau de Bon Reve is not only their home but also includes a banquet hall complete with a commercial sized kitchen, bride and groom dressing areas, restrooms, etc.  This was no doubt the best place to capture the fairy tale, Cinderella, as produced by LCCB.

Donita Helms