Lake Charles Civic Ballet

Posts Tagged ‘career’

Interview with Marissa White

Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB President

     Books, barista, ballerina, bed.  Put another way: school, work, studio, sleep. That is how our busy Fairy of the Crystal Fountain, Marissa White, spends her time. As the manager of Joe Muggs coffee shop in Books-A-Million she works about 45 hours per week. Add to that 12 hours of class at McNeese, plus rehearsals at the ballet studio, there is no doubt that Marissa is an expert in time management!
     Marissa’s family has been a part of LCCB from the beginning. Her grandmother, Debi Buras White, founded the company with Lady Leah Lafargue Hathaway in 1968. Over the years the legacy has included many members of the White family; Marissa’s parents, aunt, uncle, sister and cousins have all performed in LCCB productions. Only her brother escaped the stage – it seems Marissa had no choice and lucky us, because she is beautiful!
     I sat down with Marissa to talk about her upcoming roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Fairy of the Crystal Fountain in the Prologue and Princess Florine in the Finale. First, we talked about Fairy of the Crystal Fountain in the Prologue. “The challenge for me is to remain fluid with my arms and continuing the movement. The arms are doing something completely different from the feet. It’s like a river, moving water and fluidity. My costume represents water. I really wanted the part of the Crystal Fountain.”
     Marissa then explained the role of Princess Florine. “Princess Florine is Prince Desire’s sister. She had been trapped in a tower and a blue bird freed her by teaching her to fly away. I imagine that while I’m dancing.” Playing the role of Marissa’s blue bird is David Sanders of Dallas, Texas. David and Marissa danced together in 2008 when David spent a summer here in Lake Charles working with Les Jordan of North Central Ballet.  That connection is the reason David will be joining the LCCB cast of Sleeping Beauty. Marissa says the partnership is going well. “David really works to make me look good, and gives me a lot of security. He’s a big actor and has a big personality. I have to work to match that, so that’s the challenge for me. Also, he’s 6’3” and I’m 5’4”, so I have to dance big. It’s been fun and really nice to reconnect.” In the finale, the beautiful Princess Florine and Blue Bird are guests at the wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Desire. They dance a beautiful and difficult pas de deux.
     So is Marissa showing any signs of fatigue with her hectic schedule and the big performance looming? No, not at all; as she says, “I stay organized and have my routine.” And now, if you need a good latte, you know where to go!
     Marissa White is the 21 year old daughter of Judy and Mike White. She is a junior accounting major at McNeese State University and manager of Joe Muggs coffee shop. Marissa has trained for 16 years with Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance and Lake Charles Civic Ballet. She has been a featured performer in many LCCB productions including Spinster in Daguerreotype, Snow Queen, Reindeer, and Arabain in Rudolph, and Colinda in Louisiana Saturday Night. Marissa hopes to own her own coffee shop one day.

Profile photo by Cameron Durham / Dance photo by Romero & Romero Photography

Interview with Anne Veillon

Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB President

Anne has studied ballet at Lady Leah Lafargue Schoolof the Dance for 11 years, where, since last year, she also teaches younger students ballet. She says that the transition from student to teacher has been challenging and has caused her to really examine her own dancing and technique.
     Even though Lady Leah is no longer teaching at the studio daily, her presence is still felt. Anne remembers her instruction well, “eyebrows up!” She says that Lady Leah really stressed being expressive and playing to the audience. That lesson obviously took root as Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough, current director of Lady Leah’s dance studio and artistic director of LCCB, says that “Anne consistently projects to the audience and maintains her character throughout a role. She performs the entire time she is on stage.” Of Lady Holly, Anne says that she is “one of the kindest, most sincere people I have ever met. She has such love and fire about her, in all areas of life. She is a busy mom and teacher, and I really admire that about her.”
     In Act I of The Sleeping Beauty Anne plays the role of The Village Girl opposite Joel Sanchez of Austin, Texas. Although her partner is out of town, they had the chance to meet this summer, and recently spent a weekend rehearsing here in Lake Charles. She doesn’t foresee any problems getting the choreography perfected for the performance. “[Joel] is a hard worker and he’s the sweetest guy,” Anne said. They are prepared to get the job done.
     Anne says that it is very exciting to be a part of a big ballet and the studio is very alive right now: “We have been working on this since mid-June, so finally, after nine months it is upon us! There is a great deal of fine tuning happening now, some tension and stress too, but that all comes with the anticipation and excitement. It’s really cool to be a part of this big production with the Lake Charles Symphony.”
     Anne is a junior at McNeese State University majoring in Animal Science. The 21 year old daughter of Darlene and the late Eddie Veillon of Lake Charles hopes to work at a zoo one day. She is looking forward to getting some experience this summer as a volunteer at the Baton Rouge Zoo. Anne has performed in many LCCB productions including Daguerreotype, Clue, Rudolph, Little Drummer Boy, and in ACTS Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast. She is an accomplished singer as well.

Profile photo by Cameron Durham / Dance photo by Romero & Romero Photography

Elastic and Tulle

Photos by Cameron Durham

LCCB performed The Sleeping Beauty ballet in 1995 with new costumes and sets. The costume creator for the performance was Costume Designer Ray Delle Robbins. Recently our company returned to Houston—back to Ray Delle so she could revive her creations to their beautiful beginnings. With help from Bobbie Grizzle who has labored beside Ray Delle for over 20 years, the women silently measured and pinned and wrote notes on small tan cards. Many alterations will be needed for over fifty costumes worn by the lead characters in the ballet.

Ray Delle recalled our original order for The Sleeping Beauty ballet as clearly as if it were yesterday. During her inspection of the costumes on this visit, she found the fabrics and designs still fresh and beautiful, but the tulle skirts and the elastic shows were in need of repair. While she worked with each dancer she answered our questions about her career and her job at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars.

She began her education as an art and drama major, but quickly realized she liked to eat more than she liked to perform so she earned her teaching certificate. After teaching school for seven years, she worked for 17 years with Houston Ballet in the wardrobe department. For the last 25 years, Ray Delle has been the Costume Shop Manager at TUTS; although her title may change from show to show. Ray Delle manages three shows for TUTS theatre each season. Traveling shows featured at TUTS and her own contract work, fill in her free time. During our fittings, Ray Delle received a visit from her prop man and set man. It was quickly apparent they are a close theatre family as they greeted each other with bright smiles and hugs.

Ray Delle spoke of her ‘spells’ with certain colors and explained how her costumes show her love for a color during certain periods in her career. She easily recognizes her creations by the fabrics and her stitching. Ray Delle Robbins will be adding to LCCB’s The Sleeping Beauty extensive costume collection with new costumes for King Florestan XXIV and the Queen, Prince Désiré, Bluebird and many, many more. We are now accepting Sponsor memberships, and individual ticket sales will begin later in the year. Visit our website at www.lakecharlescivicballet.com to reserve your seat at the ballet and witness the splendor of Ray Delle’s work up close and personal.

Talents to Share

July 17, 2011
Photo by Cameron Durham / Houston Ballet Center for Dance at dusk

Do you have talent? Some people have multiple talents, and they don’t even have to work for them—they come naturally. Others may search their entire lives for a talent and may never discover it. An arts organization is filled with talented people. A nonprofit arts organization depends on talented people for survival. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has always had its fair share of talent. We have artists, accountants, educators, lawyers, writers—you name it, we’ve got it. But the really special part about these talented behind-the-scenes people is the fact that they are all volunteers.

Some of our volunteers are here for only a short time while others stay for the long haul. Some are young and others older. The older ones may have children active in The Ballet today or adult children who were in the past; the volunteer may have danced as a child. Everyone volunteers for different reasons. Some people are involved because they share a love for the arts, and others just because they want to share their talent with someone else. Their talents, ages, and reasons may vary greatly from one to the other, but The Ballet appreciates all our behind-the-scene volunteers.

The photograph above was taken by one of our youngest volunteers. Cameron Durham has served Lake Charles Civic Ballet in several roles over the last five years. His younger brother, Adrian, is a member of LCCB. Cameron is studying and developing his photography and cinematography skills. On occasion he works with professional photographers documenting weddings around Louisiana and is working on expanding his portrait portfolio. The Ballet looks forward to sharing Cameron’s talents with our Facebook fans and on The Ballet Blog.

More Than Ballet

Photo by Brad Puckett / American Press

Lake Charles Civic Ballet has always offered its company members more. More than just an end of the year recital, the dancers enjoy precious opportunities to perform on the stage for the audience. In addition, LCCB provides dance students with a six-week summer intensive workshop taught by professional instructors from around the country. The workshop provides outstanding training for the serious ballet student. Dancers know how easy it can be to settle into comfortable surroundings—your regular studio, normal classes, that favorite instructor. For a dancer to gain full value from their ballet study they must stay connected. They must feel connected. Summer workshop can help the dancer reconnect. They walk into the studio like it’s new, try a different style of dance, and learn from instructors with different teaching methods. It’s exciting! It’s sort of like a metabolism boost for their dance study—infusing energy and excitement. Summer workshop for ballet students can provide hands on training into the world beyond dance. Lake Charles Civic Ballet dancers experience the big stage. They present full-length story ballets to large audiences, but that’s not all. Company members perform and work behind scenes in ways vital to the success of the performance. Everything imaginable from setup to cleanup becomes part of the dancers’ experience. The training, not always glamorous, develops the dancer. Not all dancers will become the principle ballerina in a professional company, but some may. Others may choose a career path they discovered while training in the company. The audience will eagerly embrace the talented professional ballerina and they will also need someone to design her fabulous costumes, run the complicated sound board, and plan that strategic marketing campaign to connect the audience to the arts.

Every year some of our company dancers attend summer workshops away from home. This summer a few of our members will attend Houston Ballet’s Summer Intensive program. Some of those Level 8 students can participate in career studies courses. Read what Jaclyn Youngblood, Academy Intern, shares about these students’ classwork.

http://houstonballet.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/developing-a-dancer%e2%80%99s-toolbox-the-world-of-wardrobe/