Lake Charles Civic Ballet

Archive for the ‘ballet’ Category

LCCB Profiles: Adelaide Saucier

LCCB Principal Dancer

Photo by Cameron Durham  / Adelaide Saucier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


LCCB PROFILES — Adelaide Saucier from Lake Charles Civic Ballet on Vimeo.

In the studio with Adelaide Saucier and Elizabeth Gates.

Elizabeth ‘Lizy’ Gates, a former student of Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance the official school of LCCB, is not a stranger to our studios—she’s part of our history. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has collaborated with artists and arts organizations since its beginning. Talented artists such as Lizy are always welcomed and appreciated. This is not the first time Lizy has worked with LCCB dancers as a choreographer. For the 2008 Spring Performance, Lizy created Nocturne in memory of her father, Keith Gates.

LCCB’s 2012 Spring Performance will again feature a work by Elizabeth Gates entitled Psalm of Spring. In this second interview in her series, Karen Wink features LCCB Principal Adelaide Saucier during one of Lizy’s rehearsals for Psalm of Spring.

LCCB Profiles: Ashley Eaves

                    LCCB Principal
Photo by Cameron Durham / Ashley Eaves


LCCB PROFILES — Ashley Eaves from Lake Charles Civic Ballet on Vimeo.

In the studio with Ashley Eaves and Elizabeth Gates.

Karen Wink caught up with choreographer Elizabeth Gates and three LCCB princpal dancers in the studio. Karen interviewed each of the members during a rehearsal for “Psalm of Spring” created for LCCB by choreographer Elizabeth Gates for our “Season Sneak Preview & Behind the Scenes with LCCB.” The complete piece was performed on Sunday, November 13, 2011. The evening was presented by L’Auberge Lake Charles and hosted by Heather Ieyoub of KVHP Fox29.

The first interview features Principal Ashley Eaves. LCCB looks forward to performing “Psalm of Spring” at our 2012 Spring Performance in May.

A Rudolph Review

Photo by Cameron Durham


Guest Writer: Angie Dilmore

It’s crunch time at the North Pole. Santa and his elves scurry to finish making toys and load the sleigh before their Christmas Eve deadline.

So begins the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s thoroughly delightful production last weekend.  I’ve been to several of this company’s performances, and this show was my favorite so far. The elaborate sets and colorful lavish costumes make the stage pop, but it’s the talented dancers who entertain, amuse, and bring the show to life. LCCB performs only original productions. No stale nuts at our Rosa Hart Theater. The company has been thrilling audiences with the Rudolph production every few years since the late 1960s.

The opening scene pays homage to the true nature of the Christmas season with a beautiful dance of Mary, with the Christ child in the manger. Then ballet director Lady Holly introduces Santa Claus. Santa and Mrs. Claus guide the elves through a fun frolicking scene at the North Pole. These young performers enthusiastically dance around the stage with wrapped presents and a myriad of toys. Humor is at the forefront here. The elves then take Santa’s list around the world and we see dancers, veiled in gauzy shadows behind a screen, represent exotic places such as Russia, Hawaii, Scotland, Switzerland, Mexico, Arabia, Holland, and Japan.

We finally have the pleasure of meeting Rudolph when Santa checks to see if the reindeer are ready for their annual trip. He discovers Rudolph feeling sad and alone. The other reindeer shove, snub, or completely ignore Rudolph and her blinking bright red nose. They believably paw at the ground, strut, swagger, and point their noses haughtily in the air. Rudolph tries so hard to make friends with the other reindeer, to no avail. Santa brushes off Rudolph’s woes. Despondent, the little reindeer runs off into the forest. Magical pine trees comfort Rudolph and Eskimo children encourage and lift her spirits.

Then it’s Christmas Eve and we all know the story. Snow and fog threaten Santa’s trek ‘round the world. Here we meet the exquisite Snow Queen, shimmering in a sparkling blue tutu, accompanied by a flurry of graceful snowflakes.

Back at the reindeer stable, Santa realizes Rudolph’s shiny nose can save Christmas. Through the magic of theatrics, the audience sees only the beacon and imagines Santa and his sleigh passing through the rows of seats, up into the balcony, and back towards the stage. The grand finale brings the entire jubilant cast out on stage for bows and a much deserved standing ovation.

Photo by Cameron Durham

Congratulations to the LCCB on an awesome performance! I can’t wait to see Sleeping Beauty in March 2012!

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Takes Rudolph Around the World: A total educational experience

Photo by Cameron Durham



Guest Writer: Erica Guillory

As I watched my son practice for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Ballet, I was drawn to the educational experience it provides for children of all ages.  I am a teacher who thrives on creative opportunities that will broaden the minds of my students beyond the realm of the everyday learning routine.  
The history of Christmas as it relates to many cultures, countries, and traditions are embedded within the amazing ballet pieces presented. Santa discusses the rituals of countries such as Russia, China, and Switzerland. This ballet experience can provide many avenues for culture awareness development. Also, it can provide a plethora of in depth research that will challenge the mind of students across the parish. Teachers could use this opportunity for writing, comparing and contrasting the American culture to those of the countries discussed in the Ballet.  State benchmarks and GLE’s definitely can be met on a higher level, which is the goal of all teachers.  Students will also be able to develop a love for ballet, theatre, and telling a story through the art of dance. 
Opportunities like this are those in which education should thrive upon.  This total experience could cover a multitude of subject areas and student work.  It is a great learning opportunity presented in a creative way. As educators and parents we must take advantage of those opportunities that will broaden the minds of our children. The Lake Charles Civic Ballet can provide that opportunity. Take advantage.
Pictured in photo from “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer‘ Around the World, Russian dance:  
Adrian Durham; Julia Basone

Dance, Conversation, and a Party with Friends

                                       Photo by Romero & Romero Photography


Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB President

Lake Charles Civic Ballet took the opportunity to say thank you to sponsors, arts organization leaders, city officials, and special guests on Sunday, November 13, 2011 at Central School Theatre. The event, Sneak Preview & Behind the Scenes with LCCB, hosted by Heather Ieyoub of KVHP Fox29, gave the audience an inside look at the coming season and an opportunity to get to know the choreographers and principal dancers of LCCB as Ms. Ieyoub put them all in the “hot seat” on stage. Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough stated that LCCB’s ambitious season, which includes the Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in December 2011 as well as The Sleeping Beauty in March 2012 with the Lake Charles Symphony, would not be possible without the continued support from the community. It was a wonderfully intimate gathering of special friends of LCCB who where treated to pre and post performance fare. We all had so much fun and look forward to our next opportunity to interact with our supporters: our Costume Preview Party for Patron Sponsors on March 2, 2012 at L’Auberge Lake Charles. If you aren’t a sponsor yet, it’s not too late to join and be a part of all the fun!

Pictured in photo: Adelaide Saucier, Drew Anderson

PASA’s Backstage Pass

Yesterday, Performing Arts Society of Acadiana, with the generosity of Capital One and Chevron, presented a daytime performance of Complexions Contemporary Ballet at Angelle Hall UL Lafayette. Louisiana students were entertained and educated during the hour long look into the life of this company and its dancers.
Students were shown a condensed version of a professional dancer’s day—from morning until night on the day of a performance. The glimpse lasting 60 minutes carried our students through morning warm up—consisting of barre and center work, on to the daytime rehearsals, and ending with the nighttime show. Complexions male dancers were greeted with hoots and snickers by our audience of middle school and high school students, but were soon awarded cheers and applause. The young audience quickly gained an appreciation for the skills and talents of these artistic athletes. The PASA daytime performance ended after a Q & A session between the Complexions dancers and the students.
“to dance is to move on a level far beyond athleticism. Yes, there are speed, power, balance, and endurance—all the things that define athlete. But then there are grace, beauty, form, emotion, and the power of communication. There is art.” __DanceMagazine, February 2002
Later that evening, UL Lafayette provided the location for a Complexions Dance master class taught by Assistant Ballet Mistress Sabra Perry. A master class provides ballet students with the opportunity to build their dance knowledge. 
The class of approximately 50 dancers was given a brief introduction of the company and its artistic staff then went straight into a barre warm up. Sabra was very personable and gave great analogies to help the dancers learn some of the movements from two of the company’s ballets. All the movements were ballet based, with the upper-body lines lengthened to create the contemporary style. After the class, Ms. Perry answered questions and visited with the dancers. Lake Charles Civic Ballet members in attendance included Elizabeth Gates, Drew Anderson, Ashley Eaves, and Katelyn Chargois.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet will be performing tonight at Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayetteat 7:30PM. From New York City, Complexions Contemporary Ballet is an artistic treat everyone must see.
Pictured in bottom photo left to right:
Katelyn Chargois, Sabra Perry, Ashley Eaves, Drew Anderson, Elizabeth Gates

Frozen Talents

Photo from Lois Greenfield website

Photography and ballet are both skilled arts that take years of training to develop. If you ask a ballerina when she mastered her skill of ballet, she will tell you that a dancer is alwaysworking to master the art of ballet. Photography is the same. Combining these art forms can be challenging, but truly exciting.
The relationship of photographer and artistic director is not unlike the relationship of the choreographer and the dancer. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has had the privilege of collaborating with several photographers—professional and amateur.
For a photographer’s camera to successfully capture a dancer’s motion, the dancer must possess the physique and technique to display the movements and shapes selected by the artistic director, and the photographer must possess the talent and timing to capture the precise moment of the movement. The resulting photograph represents many layers of talent. Years of training, dedication, and skill—for everyone involved—frozen for all time.
LCCB is a pre-professional ballet company. On opening night of Resonating Fields at Historic City Hall, LCCB dancers, choreographers, photographer, and artistic director viewed the exhibit as guests, as well as teachers and students of the art of ballet.  Thank you to Lois Greenfield for sharing her talent with the city of Lake Charles. ‘Like’ Lois Greenfield on Facebook at Lois Greenfield Dance Photography Workshops.

50 is the New 30

by Rhonda K. Chargois


Southwest Louisiana doesn’t have a professional ballet company to claim as their own. The closest thing we have is a visit from the Moscow Ballet and their Nutcracker sponsored by a local ballet studio. We are fortunate to have our own civic ballet—Lake Charles Civic Ballet. LCCB dancers are students. For the most part, they are middle school and high school students, with a few college students and professional dancers that participate regularly in class and in performances.
Our company dancers are connected. Not that they come to class every afternoon and visit with everyone face to face. They’re connected online. They interact with friends, family, teachers and brands through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube; they read and create blogs like Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress. Smart businesses will meet these younger consumers where they hang out if they expect to be noticed by them and have an impact. Most ballet companies are smart. LCCB wants to connect. We may be over 40, but we’re acting much younger. I guess you could say we’re fighting our age. 
In our efforts to stay young and connect with new ballet fans, we have become much more social. No, we don’t visit in class, but we are connected with people and businesses through social media outlets. We are a nonprofit arts organization which means we are supported by a limited budget. We depend on the support of grants, sponsors, and volunteers. And just in case you didn’t notice—social media is cheap, but it isn’t easy.
Facebook should be fairly easy, right? Twitter is different and may take more time to understand if you’ve never tweeted. Blogging moves into more work. Flickr, YouTube, Foursquare, they all have something fun to offer to a company looking to ‘get social’ on a budget. It’s like an addiction. You add one social account, and the next thing you know you’re adding another and another. But remember, every account has to be updated, monitored, and actively used, or you may as well remove the word ‘social’.
I’ll admit. When my own children were younger I was against social media, but once my children were old enough to become ‘social’ it became my job as a parent to monitor their activity. As I monitored, we learned together the best ways to connect with the good and stay away from the bad content online. Now that I’m 50 which we all know is the new 30, I can connect with the younger generation. Connecting for LCCB means sharing what’s happening inside The Ballet and what’s happening in ballet outside our community. The Nutcracker is great Christmas fun, but ballet is so much more.
Our Social Media Team has a mission to track down the most current online ballet information and discussions. We want to share that information with our dancers and anyone else who may be interested. We want to share the links to our favorite blogs and Facebook Pages on The Ballet blog soon (just as soon as I learn how to do that—Jjk). Some ballet companies have beautiful websites, informative blogs loaded with eye catching photos, and they’re connected with social media in every way imaginable. Other companies are stuck back in a time warp before there was social media.
Last week I heard a mature woman exclaim she would be coloring her hair until the age of 100. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has a group of volunteers who believe our company is a valuable addition to our community and the world of ballet. Connect with us, and let’s be social. We’ll be the elderly women with colored hair staring at our smart phones and clicking away on our laptops.

Inside the Wardrobe: Part II

The Houston Ballet Wardrobe Department occupies a good portion of the second floor in the new downtown Center for Dance. Bolts of fabric, costume accessories, and racks of ballet costumes are just a few of the staging areas inside the wardrobe. Wardrobe Manager Laura Lynch moved our small group of visiting moms past the ballet bibles to an office space reserved for guest designers and local artisans. This area provides their guests with ample office space complete with desks, work surfaces, and plenty of storage space to work side by side with HB wardrobe staff.
Just past the guest office space in the northeast corner of the wardrobe is the Spray Room and the Dye Room. Where some tutus are designed to be spray painted to give them a distinctive color and shape many times the fabrics are dyed. The Dye Room houses several washer/dryer sets with one set reserved just for dying fabrics. In the corner of the room stands a restaurant grade food vat used to heat the dyes to a higher temperature for those hard to dye fabrics. There is a separate hot water tank to serve the high demands of this room. Laura explained the multiple techniques used to clean ballet costumes. The techniques include hand wash, machine wash, dry clean, and ozone treatment. Dry cleaning is the hardest on costumes because the chemicals break down the structure of a costume and the fabric. Ozone treatment is more costume friendly. Houston Ballet has plans to install an ozone facility on the premises. Costumes are routinely spot cleaned with a fine mist of straight vodka. Most of the moms had never heard of this technique.

the thread wall in ‘notions central’

Anyone in Houston would love to have the views designed into this building. Walls of windows surround this end of the department. One of the most colorful spots in the costume area is called ‘notions central.’ Here you will find trimmings, buttons, beads, and spools of thread in every color imaginable. ‘Onie’ White, wardrobe volunteer, shared her bead story with our group. During a rehearsal for Marie one small area of beading broke loose from one of the costumes scattering the beads across the stage floor—a potential safety hazard for the dancers. Onie was given the job of removing all the beading from the costume so the beads could be reattached in a more secure manner. By the time she finished her job, the beads filled a large hat box. Everything on stage is larger than life.
Cutting and sewing requires light and power. The wardrobe department has power brought into the room from the floor and the ceiling. Several outlet locations are necessary to run the commercial sewing machines and irons. Here is where Laura says the design could have been improved. If the electrical outlets in the ceiling had been installed on tracks, the space would be more versatile. I don’t think anyone is complaining about that one small error in design. Scraps of thread and run away pins are always a safety concern so no slippery floor tiles in the wardrobe—concrete floors throughout. AFA Code requires one dressing room be handicap accessible, and fatigue mats are standard equipment in every dressing room since dancers can’t stand still for 
longer than 15 minutes per fitting. That must be a union rule.

 theatrical wardrobe cabinet


Only costumes for the current jobs are housed inside the wardrobe and the Academy Summer Showcase was on the books the day of our visit. The wardrobe department has moved three times over the years, but the bulk of the costume and prop inventory remains at HB’s warehouse location. The warehouse offers some climate controlled space and houses costumes, props and scenery for the company’s extensive repertoire.
One table in the wardrobe held two partially constructed costumes for Cincinnati Ballet’s all new Nutcracker. Laura’s department is one of only a few professional ballet companies that ‘job out’ work in the off season. This generates income for their department and work for local artisans. Laura shared her complex system for scheduling contract workers around a ballet season. It is extremely important to stay on budget, but also to provide enough work to attract the local artisans. Laura answered all our questions and shared many helpful tips such as where to buy practice tutus, how to clean and care for our purchases, and career opportunities in the arts.
Just a few days later Laura Lynch was seen entering the dance lab to attend one of the performances of the Academy Summer Showcase. She was just another guest—to most, but a few of us seated in the audience knew differently. Our small group of moms will forever remember the day we were invited inside the wardrobe.
Many thanks to Houston Ballet, Laura Lynch, Onie White, and Debby Brown for inviting us inside their new home at the Center for Dance in downtown Houston, Texas.

The Dancers and the Maestro Meet

Photo by Cameron Durham

It’s not easy to enter the Rosa Hart Theatre via the loading dock door during a July deluge, but somehow, photography equipment, costumes, dancers, Lady Holly and Bohuslav Rattay, the charming new conductor of the Lake Charles Symphony, made it. The purpose? A publicity photo shoot for the March 2012 production of The Sleeping BeautyMaestro Rattay kindly took time out of his busy Summer Pops schedule do the shoot with LCCB principal dancers. Bohuslav  (Bo Hu slav, dancers discovered it is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable) is, as Katelyn Chargois put it, “cool.” He is at ease in front of the camera and jokes around on the set. The dancers enjoyed getting to know our new conductor. 
And what about those yellow sneakers? To honor Bohuslav, the girls showed up in colored Converse All Stars, only to discover that the Maestro’s famous footwear is actually a brand called Diesel. He says they are very comfortable.

Photo by Cameron Durham

While on set, Maestro Rattay told me that he is excited about conducting the Tchaikovsky score. Although he has worked with ballet companies in the past, this will be his first time conducting The Sleeping Beauty.
Talk about a busy schedule! Conducting the Lake Charles Symphony is not the Maestro’s only job. He is currently the music director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Ball State University and has a busy guest conducting schedule. Rattay is originally from Prague, Czech Republic, so he also spends time in Europe. Bohuslav has said many times that he loves the people and the culture of Southwest Louisiana, and is most happy to be here. In a recent email conversation he shares, “I am eagerly looking forward to working with the young dance talents of Southwest Louisiana and foreseeing that this production of The Sleeping Beauty will awaken the Lake Charles arts community….. “ All involved believe that when combined, the talents of these two distinct organizations create an electrifying synergy greater than the sum of its parts and will add to an already lively arts season in Southwest Louisiana.

LCCB can’t wait to meet with Bohuslav and the rest of the Lake Charles Symphony orchestra in March. Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 7:00 PM. You won’t be disappointed!

Kelley Saucier
2011-2012 LCCB Board President

LCCB Season Sponsorships are available now, and include tickets to The Sleeping Beauty. Call Kelley Saucier at 337-513-5808 for more information. You may also visit the website at www.lakecharlescivicballet.com.

Lake Charles Symphony Season Memberships are also available now. For more information call their ticket hotline at 337-433-1611 or visit their website at www.lcsymphony.org.