Lake Charles Civic Ballet

Posts Tagged ‘student’

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 Annabelle Bang

Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB President

     Annabelle Bang is a cheerleader, honor student, and now, I think she will definitely call herself a ballerina. The 15 year old sophomore at St. Louis Catholic High School plays the roles of the Fairy of the Woodland Glade and Red Riding Hood in the upcoming LCCB production of The Sleeping Beauty. Annabelle says “I never expected to be a fairy, and never thought I would have the opportunity for two solo parts in such a big production.”

     In the beginning of the summer, Annabelle says she was frustrated with the choreography of the Woodland Fairy. “I really wasn’t sure I would get it, but I kept working hard. I am more confident now, and a better dancer. The choreography [of the Woodland Fairy] is not too soft and not too sharp. She feels the music, calling to the forest creatures. I really connect with nature from the choreography and the music.”
     Annabelle says that the role of Red Riding Hood is challenging because of the acting. “I have been working in the mirror at home to be afraid of the wolf. Joel is the nicest guy and such a sweet person, that it’s hard to be afraid of him,” she says of Joel Sanchez, one of the guest artists from Austin, Texas. Annabelle also says that working with Joel has improved her partnering skills, an opportunity she would not have without The Sleeping Beauty production.
     When asked about Annabelle Kisler Hathaway Whitworth, assistant rehearsal director says, “It has been my pleasure to work with Annabelle, individually over the past few months, in preparation for her role in Sleeping Beauty.  As we worked together, she not only accepted and executed the corrections that were given to her, but she also asked questions pertaining to various steps within her piece to solidify that she was doing them correctly.  It is that enthusiasm and willingness to learn, that has propelled her to the level of dance that Lake Charles Civic Ballet expects from its dancers.  Annabelle has such a sweet spirit, and she does a beautiful job conveying that through her solo.
     So what does Annabelle think about the performance now that it is right around the corner? “I am super excited and grateful for the chance to work with the Lake Charles Symphony. I am honored to have the roles I have; it’s weird to think about it now.” Hard work does pay off.
     Annabelle is the 15 year old daughter of Kay and Irvin Bang. She is a sophomore at St. Louis Catholic High School, where she also enjoys being a cheerleader. Annabelle has studied ballet for 10 years with Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance and Lake Charles Civic Ballet. She has enjoyed many LCCB productions, and especially remembers being a puppet in Rudolph 2009. She has also been featured in Daguerreotype as one of the twins and in Rudolph 2011 as a Scottish dancer. 

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



Interview with Margaret Lie

Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB President

There seems to be no end to the talents of Margaret Lie. This 16 year old junior at St. Louis Catholic High School is serious. Serious about school. Serious about music. And serious about ballet. She is so focused that if you aren’t paying close attention you will miss out on her wry sense of humor, and side-bar jokes. So make no mistake, although she is always the dancer with her books in the dressing room getting all of her homework done, or rushing from Youth Orchestra to Ballet to Student Council, Margaret likes to laugh and have fun!
     So what about playing 3 instruments? Piano, Violin, Flute – she plays them all well. I asked Margaret how that came about. “When I was three, my parents took me to a piano sale and I told them I wanted one, so they bought it and I started lessons. When I was four, I asked for a violin. I had a tiny violin and began taking lessons. Then in fifth grade I joined the school band. The band director told me I needed to play either drums or flute, I said no to the drums, and wasn’t suited for trumpet blowing or anything else, so it was the Flute.”
     Margaret is an honor student with a rigorous academic course load, playing multiple instruments and juggling extracurricular activities besides ballet rehearsals, so I asked her if she sleeps. The answer: “Oh yes. Bedtime is 10:30 PM sharp. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, if its 10:30 PM, I am falling asleep.”
     When I asked Margaret about the upcoming Sleeping Beauty performance with the Lake Charles Symphony, she described the first time she heard the music in the studio, “It really spoke to me. All of the instruments are showcased individually, it’s beautiful. I was in rapture watching the recent showing of the Bolshoi version at Cinemark.”
     Margaret plays the role of the Fairy of the Golden Vine in the prologue of the LCCB production. She says she was “instantly drawn to it because of the combination of intricate footwork and lots of motion. [The Golden Vine Fairy] uses the entire stage.”
     Margaret will also share the stage with Ashley Eaves and Elizabeth (Lizy) Gates as one of the Jeweled Fairies in the finale; Margaret is gold. She says Ashley and Lizy both have great feet and she works hard to synchronize her steps with theirs. The same goes for the Friends of Aurora segment in Act I with Julia Basone, Gabrielle Saucier, and Marissa White. Margaret says that part “requires so much control and lots of unison. It’s tough.”
     So, is the juggling act worth it? Absolutely. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to dance with the Lake Charles Symphony. Live music is very inspiring.”
     Margaret Lie is the 16 year of daughter of Stephanie and Albert Lie of Lake Charles. She is a junior at St. Louis Catholic High School. Margaret has trained for 14 years at the Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance and with Lake Charles Civic Ballet. She has performed feature roles in many LCCB productions including Miss Peacock in Clue, Reflection in Debut, Russian and Swiss in Rudolph. She also was a member of the 2004 LCCB cast of Petrushka with the Lake Charles Symphony.


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

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

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.