Lake Charles Civic Ballet

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Posts Tagged ‘Robbins’

Interview with Gabrielle Saucier

Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB President

      Well, I might seem a bit biased with this interview, because as you all know by now, I am a proud ballet mom. Even if she didn’t belong to me, I would think Gabby Saucier is pretty special.
     This has been a fabulous year of growth and progress for Gabby in ballet. She played the lead in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in December, 2011. This is a pretty big deal because age 13 at that time and in the 8th grade, she is the youngest lead for Rudolph ever cast. In addition to that, Gabby is the youngest main dancer in the production of The Sleeping Beauty. She plays Fairy of the Enchanted Garden in the prologue, friend to Aurora in Act I and The White Cat in the finale opposite Lake Charles native turned New Yorker William “Billy” Ward who performed for 26 years with the New York City Opera. Gabby is a couple of years younger than her fellow fairies.
     Gabby and I talked about her upcoming roles in The Sleeping Beauty. Being a fairy is quite different from the character roles she is used to, “[Fairy of the Enchanted Garden] is pleasant and graceful. The changes in her character are not as overt, she is more consistent.” Gabby says that being a fairy is fun and she is close friends with her fellow fairies. Although the role has been challenging it is all coming together, “I’ve grown as a dancer and gotten better.”
     The role of The White Cat is one that Gabby really wanted especially because her favorite part about dancing with LCCB is portraying a character. “When we went to Houston Ballet last year to watch their Sleeping Beauty I said, ‘I want that part!’” The pas de deux of The White Cat and Puss in Boots is always a crowd favorite because it is full of comedy. This is Gabby’s first time partnering. She had the opportunity to work with Billy Ward, LCCB’s Puss in Boots, a little bit this summer, which was great. “He is so nice and funny, and really tries to make me feel comfortable. The lift is challenging for me because I have a hard time remembering to lean back, but I’m getting it.” It’s also nice that Billy is finally here in Lake Charles for performance week, “It is fun to act with someone because you can feed off of the other person, and Billy is good actor.” I asked Billy if he has anything to say about working with Gabby, “I’m excited to dance with Gabby; her playful charm and talent match her sweet nature, and she’s a perfect White Cat! Gabby also has the ‘adorable factor,’ that would make any guy in his right mind want to share this role with her. She’s attentive and eager to take advice and apply it quickly to our partnership. It’s a great gift to me when a dancer has no ego and rehearsals flow and become what dance really should be: shared joy. I think when this is all over I’m going to feel a little sad..”
     I think we all will feel a little sad too, Billy. 
     Gabby is the 14 year old daughter of Kelley and Luke Saucier of Lake Charles. She is in the 8th grade at Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School. Gabby has performed in numerous LCCB productions, and fondly remembers her debut performance in 2001 as Raggedy Ann in Rudolph. Gabby recently starred in the title role of Rudolph in the 2011 LCCB Christmas performance. She has studied ballet for 12 years, the last 10 at Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance and Lake Charles Civic Ballet. Gabby also participated in summer workshop at Dallas Metropolitan Ballet in 2010.

Top photo (with Ray Delle Robbins) by Cameron Durham / Dance photo by Romero & Romero Photography

Interview with Katelyn Chargois

Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB President

    Some people are born to dance – that is so true for Katelyn Chargois aka Princess Aurora! This 16 year old home-schooled junior has recently been accepted to the School of American Ballet 2012 Summer Course. The opportunity is a dream come true for dedicated ballerinas across the globe, and the opportunity of a lifetime to get even better training for our local star. So, I asked her what her goals are. “Right now I’m looking at college programs. I would love to be a part of a professional company. I see myself having my own studio and helping other kids with the art of ballet.”
     Or, could it be that she has a future in costume design? One of the most fascinating things about Katelyn to me is that she is curious about every single part of a ballet production. When we visited costume designer Ray Delle Robbins at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, Katelyn wasn’t just interested in how her Aurora costumes were going to fit; she wanted to know all about how tutus are made and got detailed instructions on how to make her own. She is also known for the being the best at sewing pointe shoes, “She’s the fastest and you can’t even see her stitches,” according to Adelaide Saucier.
featuring Ashley Eaves as Carabosse
     Perhaps her future will be in marketing? In her spare time, Katelyn has created most of the ads you have seen on our social media sites. I may be biased, but I think they are all beautiful and LCCB could not ask for better work from a “professional!” Again, she has taken the time to figure out most every aspect of marketing our organization.    
     With regards to the current production of The Sleeping Beauty, Katelyn and I discussed the role of Princess Aurora and how it is different from her previous roles with LCCB. “Usually I have a character with distinct emotion, but with Aurora I am not really sure. Is she flirty or like a little kid? Or like an adult? She’s majestic, but it’s complicated. In 2012 a 16 year old is definitely different from a 16 year old in the 16thcentury. Today you don’t get boys for your 16th birthday,” she says in reference to the suitors who come to Aurora’s 16th birthday party in Act I. “In Act I Aurora is young; she is royal but not snooty. In the finale, she is getting married, and is happy because the love of her life has found her.” Despite the pressure of having the title role, Katelyn is calm, relaxed, and very much looking forward to taking the stage next week.
   I am quite certain that no matter what direction this talented young lady pursues, she will be extremely successful!
     Katelyn Chargois is the 16 year old daughter of Von and Rhonda Chargois. She is a Home School Junior. Katelyn has trained for 10 years with Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance and Lake Charles Civic Ballet. She attended Houston Ballet Academy’s Summer Intensive in 2009 and 2011. She has been accepted to School of American Ballet (SAB) 20 12 Summer Course and Houston Ballet Academy’s 2012 Summer Intensive. Katelyn has been featured in many LCCB productions including The Flirt and Little Brother in Daguerreotype, Little Sister in Debut, Swiss and Mary in Rudolph. She will attend the SAB Course in New York City this summer.

On the lake photo by Cameron Durham / The Sleeping Beauty 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.

Costumes Set the Stage

In just a few weeks, our company members will travel to Houston for costume fittings in preparation for this season’s The Sleeping Beauty. That kind of trip for our pre-professional company members, especially in today’s economy, represents a commitment to provide the best for our dancers and our community. For most of our dancers, this will be their first experience working with a professional costume designer. Lake Charles Civic Ballet, on the other hand, has a long history with the woman who created many of the costumes living in our attic.

New costumes for TSB will be created and old ones altered by their original designer, Ray Delle Robbins from Houston Ballet and Houston’s Theatre under the Stars.  Although you may not hear her name mentioned with the same regularity as those who perform on the stage, Ray Delle’s talent is just as valuable to the success of the performance. Her beautiful costumes have made many appearances in LCCB performances over the years and are a lasting testimony to her talent. Those who have been around The Ballet mention her name as if she is one of the family. It will be exciting to introduce our young dancers to this woman. She and the dancers together transform the stage into the world of the character.