Welcome to HBC Backstage.

Join us here for the inside scoop on performances, personalities and details of what's happening at Huntsville Ballet Company. 

 

March 2017

Infamous outlaw featured in Huntsville Ballet Company Spring Repertory

Mar 7, 2017 3:00 PM
Add Comment

Dead or Alive...

Gambling gunslingers are not the most common subjects for ballet, but Billy the Kid (1936) features the danger and romance of the West’s wild history.

Huntsville Ballet Company’s choreography is inspired by the original ballet and principal dancer Jayson Pescasio portrays Billy. The short program features the meteoric career of one history’s most famous outlaws in two acts. A cast of characters made up of Huntsville Ballet Company dancers features denizens of the Wild West including saloon girls and cowpunchers. The action is quick and the death toll is high when the fighting and running starts. Although the ballet’s story is not strictly biography, it does capture feelings for the time and place in the hearts of many Americans, particularly those of the original audiences in 1936. Hit hard by the depression, the perceived freedom of the outlaw was a popular image in the art and movies of the time.

Aaron Copeland composed the beautiful and evocative score for the ballet. Notably, it also features American folk music and historic cowboy tunes that work to set the tone of the story as we follow young Billy from childhood adventure and tragedy to his untimely, but somewhat unsurprising death at the hands of Pat Garrett. Notable to history fans who like an Alabama tie-in, Garrett was born in Chambers County, AL.

Billy the Kid is featured as part of Huntsville Ballet Company’s Spring 2017 Repertory April 8 and 9 in the Von Braun Center Concert Hall. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. 

 

Tickets
 

Add Comment
  

February 2017


The Artistic Profiles behind Huntsville Ballet Company's Spring 2017 Mixed Repertory

Feb 8, 2017 12:15 PM
Add Comment

ABOUT GEORGE BALANCHINE 

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907-96), whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. At Balanchine's behest, Kirstein was also prepared to support the formation of an American academy of ballet that would eventually rival the long-established schools of Europe.

This was the School of American Ballet, founded in 1934, the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Several ballet companies directed by the two were created and dissolved in the years that followed, while Balanchine found other outlets for his choreography. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, the New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983.

Balanchine's more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco(1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamed Symphony in C (1947), Orpheus (1948), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), Ballo della Regina (1978), andMozartiana (1981). His final ballet, a new version of Stravinsky's Variations for Orchestra, was created in 1982.

He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. Among his best-known dances for the stage is Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, originally created for Broadway's On Your Toes (1936). The musical was later made into a movie.

A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. Taking classicism as his base, he heightened, quickened, expanded, streamlined, and even inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. This had an inestimable influence on the growth of dance in America. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world.

 

George Balanchine
George Balanchine Foundation
2002. Web. 19 Nov 2016
 

ABOUT PATRICIA BLAIR

Patricia Blair
Repetiteur, The George Balanchine Trust

Patricia Blair was born in New York City, began studying ballet at the age of 7, and launched her professional performing career at the age of 17. She trained in many schools including North Carolina School of the Arts and Harkness House for Ballet Arts, but attributes her summer at the School of American Ballet with igniting her love for and commitment to the Balanchine Technique®.  A fun fact - while a student at North Carolina School of the Arts, she was chosen to dance the role of "Myrtha" in Giselle alongside principal dancers Svea Ekloff  (Grande Théåtre de Genéve) and American Ballet Theatre’s Burton Taylor – a true honor. After leaving NCSA, she returned to NYC, studied with David Howard and Nanette Charisse, and subsequently joined the Eglevsky Ballet under the direction of NYCB former principal, Edward Villella.  Six years later, while still dancing full time with the company, she became one of the organization's Ballet Masters.

Ms. Blair performed as a guest artist developing new works with numerous NY choreographers, danced in musical theatre productions across the US and on Broadway, and briefly entered the LA motion picture world with Pavanne for a Dying Princess, a solo dance film created especially for her.

Ms. Blair is highly committed to the artistic education and personal well-being of young dancers. She began working with children when she was only 15 years old, and to this day, her love and respect of classical ballet and passing that on to young artists is one of her greatest passions.  She was an active teacher in New York City at both Harkness House for Ballet Arts and Steps NY.  Additionally, she volunteered to teach at-risk youth in churches and community centers.

She went to Chicago in September 1987, at the invitation of former NYCB Principal dancer Daniel Duell, to stage ballets for Chicago City Ballet's fall season.  After working together for only three weeks, Duell invited her to relocate to Chicago and join his artistic team. From 1988-1997, she was Ballet Master for the newly established Ballet Chicago.  For a brief period, she even filled in as the organization’s Interim Executive Director. In 1995 Duell and Blair formed The School of Ballet Chicago where she serves as School Director and Associate Artistic Director of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company.  In addition to her work with Ballet Chicago, she has been a guest teacher for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, the National Dance Institute and New Mexico School of the Arts in Santa Fe, and Indiana University in Bloomington.  She has also had the honor of teaching at The School of American Ballet in New York City.

 Ms. Blair has a lifelong love for the ballets of George Balanchine, and values both the privilege of having performed so many of them, as well as the joy of passing them on to today’s dancers.  As a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, she is responsible for staging and maintaining a large body of work for Ballet Chicago.  She has also staged Mr. Balanchine’s ballets for St. Louis Ballet and Indiana University in Bloomington.  This is her first time working with Huntsville Ballet. 

Daniel Duell
Founder and Artistic Director, Ballet Chicago
Repetiteur, The George Balanchine Trust

Ballet Chicago Artistic Director Daniel Duell is a force in the development of American Classicism, and is passionate about the advancement of ballet technique in its purest and most energetic form. As a dancer with the New York City Ballet from 1972-1987, he was taught and coached daily by George Balanchine. Quickly rising through the ranks, Duell was promoted to Soloist in 1977, and then Principal Dancer in 1979. He performed a wide-ranging repertoire, dancing leading roles in the ballets of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and Jacques d'Ambois, among others, including multiple works that were created for him. A Ford Foundation Scholarship recipient from the age of 13, he trained with the Dayton Civic Ballet, then at The School of American Ballet, and at the age of 19 was invited to join NYCB. In addition to his fifteen years at NYCB, he was a featured guest artist for numerous companies nationwide and performed for several PBS Dance in America public television programs. Duell has been choreographing since 1980 and has created works for Ballet Chicago, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Dayton Ballet, Harkness Dance Theatre, The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and The School of American Ballet. He also collaborated with WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago to design two programs; the first, an Emmy Award winning special (outstanding cultural programming) on Ballet Chicago, and the second entitled "Love in Four Acts," a program showcasing four Chicago choreographers selected by Duell. He was also awarded the 2000 Ruth Page Award from the Chicago Dance Community for the Artistic Direction of The Ballet Chicago Studio Company. 


Duell is a frequent lecturer on ballet, music, and the arts, serves on several not-for-profit boards and advisory boards, and has been an adjudicator for the National Endowment for the Arts and The Illinois Arts Council. He is also a repetiteur for The George Balanchine Trust and stages ballets across the United States. He conducts master classes in both the United States and Europe, including repeated teaching engagements at The School of American Ballet, Indiana University at Bloomington, The University of Iowa, and the Bulgarian National Dance Academy in Sophia, Bulgaria. In Spring 2011, Duell worked with the Royal Danish Ballet, teaching and coaching the company in preparation for its New York season. Duell returned to The Royal Danish Ballet in Spring 2012 in preparation for the company's Copenhagen performances of Balanchine/Stravinsky masterworks. 

 

Phillip Otto
Huntsville Ballet Company Artistic Director

Mr. Otto has served as the Artistic Director for the Huntsville Ballet since 2008. Born in New York, Mr. Otto has trained at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre School, and the Joffrey School, among others. As a child Mr. Otto was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s children’s chorus and danced with New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, London’s Royal Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. As an adult Mr. Otto danced principal and soloists roles with Milwaukee Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. After retiring as a featured soloist from Pacific Northwest Ballet in 1996, Mr. Otto was the first company member ever to be asked to join the faculty of Pacific Northwest Ballet School and went on to direct Pacific Northwest Ballet’s student company as well as the companies outreach and educational programs for which he was nominated for the State of Washington’s Golden Apple award for excellence in education. Mr. Otto has worked and trained with such distinguished artists as George Balanchine, Peter Martins, Jerome Robins, Kent Stowell, Francia Russell, Bojan Spasoff, Robert Weiss and Lynn Taylor- Corbett, Violette Verdi, Richard Thomas, Alexandra Danilova, Lar Lubavitch, Andre Eglevsky and Ted Kivitt, among others. Mr. Otto’s dancing credits include principle roles in (George Balanchine’s)“Who Care’s”, The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, Concerto Borocco, La Valse, Symphony in C, Nutcracker, Prodical Son, Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, (Cranko’s) Romeo and Juliet, (Limons) Moor’s Pavane, (Forsythe’s) Love Songs, (Lynn Taylor- Corbett’s) Brahms Sonata’s, Code Of Silence, The Quilt, Tunes Great Galloping Gottschalk and Final Draft among others. In addition, Mr. Otto serves as permanent guest faculty for the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia and has taught master classes for Vassar College, Yale University, the Kennedy Center and the Edinburgh Festival among other schools and companies throughout the United States and Scotland

 
 
Keith Cross
Choreographer

Keith Cross

Keith Anthony R. Cross:  Artist in Residence Kinkaid Schools (18 years), Founder of Tendu Inc., Artistic Director of Texas Dance Theatre (1990-2000), Master Teacher for Cross Jazz Tours & Consultant for American Dance Convention, Residential Choreographer for Huntsville Ballet (AL).

Colleges & Universities he has worked for:

University of Houston, Sam Houston State University, Rice University, San Jacinto Jr. College, Louisiana State University, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Oklaloosa-Ft. Walton Community College, Pensacola Jr. College & Pensacola State College

Organizations he has worked for:

Frank Fuher International, Trevor Sorbie International, Texas Commission on the Arts, Ft. Bend Arts Council, Shreveport Regional Arts Council, The Jewish Community Center, Houston Parks & Recreation Dept., Young Audiences of Houston, Dorace Alais for Houston Center League, Dance St. Louis, Mississippi Dance Association, Dixie Association of Dance Masters, Dance Masters of America Inc., Dance Olympics of New York, Texas Association for Physical Education Recreation on Dance, Texas Association of Teachers of Dancing Inc. The Peoples Workshop & MECA.

Other Teaching Experiences:

The Jazz Dance World Congress, The International Ballet Competition & Festival, Tulsa Ballet, Ballet Met, Jazz Met, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, City Ballet of Houston, Western Arkansas Ballet, Metropolitan Ballet, Huntsville  Ballet (AL), Allegro Ballet, Southwest Jazz Ballet, Academy Lupec’s (Mexico), Berry Stephen’s Academy of Dance (Amsterdam), Claude Marchant Dance Theatre (Sweden), Dance Explosion Rick Odems’ (Paris), Opus One (The Netherlands), Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Delia Stewart Dance Company, Joseph Holmes’ Chicago Dance Theatre, Third Coast Jazz, Uptown Dance Center, Amy Blake’s Dance Academy, Dancescapes By Joyce, City Dance, Sun Country Dance Theatre, Pointstation Inc. & Images Dance Ensamble

Keith’s television credits include: The Sammy Awards, Houston Grand Opera’s “Tremonisa” The NBC Chicago Emmies & Star search 1990.

He has worked with such talents as: Mary Martha Lappe, Delia Stewart, Gilbert Rome, James Brown, Debbie Allen, Hinton Battle, Maurice Hines, Angela Lansbury, Robert Goulet, Luigi, Matt Matox, Frank Hatchett, Joe Tremain & Gus Giordano, Dorothy Lester, Al Gilbert, Alvin Ailey, Denise Jefferson, Ann Reinking, Anna Marie Holms, Bruce Marks, David Nixon, John McFall, April Berry, Patsy Swayze, Phillip Otto, Marcello Angelini, Rick Odems, Fredrick Franklin, Glen Hunsucker, Ben Stephenson, Ann & Nick Palijenko, Debra Quinnum, Janie Parker, Cleo Parker-Robinson, Leo & Solie, Tim & Daphne Reed, Carlos Acosta, Lauren Anderson, Sandra Organ, Dominic Walsh, Ed McMann, Dorell Martin, & Stephan Boyd.

 Mr. Cross has been called the ballet dancer’s Master Jazz Teacher.

KEITH CROSS believes great dancing is a blur of good training in all the elements of dance.  Together Ballet, Modern & jazz dance training has helped him create a new & fresh way of utilizing choreography.  By using these dance forms, it has given him the understanding of the versatility a dancer can have.  He believes that it is imperative that a dancer have the broad training with which the quality & level of dancing is endless.

 

Add Comment
  

Huntsville Ballet Company to perform George Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux

Feb 2, 2017 2:00 PM
Add Comment

Put a man and a girl on stage and there is already a story...

The Huntsville Ballet Company (HBC) is proud to announce the performance of George Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux in April 2017 as part of a dynamic mixed repertory program. The debut of this masterpiece in the Von Braun Center Concert Hall by HBC Principal Dancers Sarah Pautz and Jayson Pescasio is momentous for Huntsville and North Alabama. For a ballet company to perform a work by the noted choreographer George Balanchine requires the approval of the Balanchine Trust. The Balanchine Trust tightly controls performances of the pieces to maintain the integrity of Balanchine’s works and vets performers carefully. The piece features two dancers, male and female, and is a beautiful and energetic display of technique and stamina. It is legendary in the world of ballet.

An exciting work of this caliber, performed by dancers like Pautz and Pescasio will draw ballet lovers from beyond Alabama's borders. The preparation for the performance formally begins on February 20, when Pautz and Pescasio begin work with Patricia Blair a repetiteur from the Balanchine Trust. Ms. Blair will work with them on the choreography for the 10 minute long piece which features challenging elements for each of the dancers. It is performance often noted in the ballet world as demanding a great amount of stamina and technique. Pautz is excited for the challenge and intricacy of her role and Pescasio's gravity defying vertical power will be featured by the choreography.

We hope you will join us for this historic occasion. 

 

ABOUT GEORGE BALANCHINE

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907-96), whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. At Balanchine's behest, Kirstein was also prepared to support the formation of an American academy of ballet that would eventually rival the long-established schools of Europe.

This was the School of American Ballet, founded in 1934, the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Several ballet companies directed by the two were created and dissolved in the years that followed, while Balanchine found other outlets for his choreography. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, the New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983.

Balanchine's more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco(1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamed Symphony in C (1947), Orpheus (1948), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), Ballo della Regina (1978), andMozartiana (1981). His final ballet, a new version of Stravinsky's Variations for Orchestra, was created in 1982.

He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. Among his best-known dances for the stage is Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, originally created for Broadway's On Your Toes (1936). The musical was later made into a movie.

A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. Taking classicism as his base, he heightened, quickened, expanded, streamlined, and even inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. This had an inestimable influence on the growth of dance in America. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world.

 

George Balanchine
George Balanchine Foundation
2002. Web. 19 Nov 2016
 

ABOUT PATRICIA BLAIR

Patricia Blair
Repetiteur, The George Balanchine Trust

Patricia Blair was born in New York City, began studying ballet at the age of 7, and launched her professional performing career at the age of 17. She trained in many schools including North Carolina School of the Arts and Harkness House for Ballet Arts, but attributes her summer at the School of American Ballet with igniting her love for and commitment to the Balanchine Technique®.  A fun fact - while a student at North Carolina School of the Arts, she was chosen to dance the role of "Myrtha" in Giselle alongside principal dancers Svea Ekloff  (Grande Théåtre de Genéve) and American Ballet Theatre’s Burton Taylor – a true honor. After leaving NCSA, she returned to NYC, studied with David Howard and Nanette Charisse, and subsequently joined the Eglevsky Ballet under the direction of NYCB former principal, Edward Villella.  Six years later, while still dancing full time with the company, she became one of the organization's Ballet Masters.

Ms. Blair performed as a guest artist developing new works with numerous NY choreographers, danced in musical theatre productions across the US and on Broadway, and briefly entered the LA motion picture world with Pavanne for a Dying Princess, a solo dance film created especially for her.

Ms. Blair is highly committed to the artistic education and personal well-being of young dancers. She began working with children when she was only 15 years old, and to this day, her love and respect of classical ballet and passing that on to young artists is one of her greatest passions.  She was an active teacher in New York City at both Harkness House for Ballet Arts and Steps NY.  Additionally, she volunteered to teach at-risk youth in churches and community centers.

She went to Chicago in September 1987, at the invitation of former NYCB Principal dancer Daniel Duell, to stage ballets for Chicago City Ballet's fall season.  After working together for only three weeks, Duell invited her to relocate to Chicago and join his artistic team. From 1988-1997, she was Ballet Master for the newly established Ballet Chicago.  For a brief period, she even filled in as the organization’s Interim Executive Director. In 1995 Duell and Blair formed The School of Ballet Chicago where she serves as School Director and Associate Artistic Director of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company.  In addition to her work with Ballet Chicago, she has been a guest teacher for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, the National Dance Institute and New Mexico School of the Arts in Santa Fe, and Indiana University in Bloomington.  She has also had the honor of teaching at The School of American Ballet in New York City.

 Ms. Blair has a lifelong love for the ballets of George Balanchine, and values both the privilege of having performed so many of them, as well as the joy of passing them on to today’s dancers.  As a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, she is responsible for staging and maintaining a large body of work for Ballet Chicago.  She has also staged Mr. Balanchine’s ballets for St. Louis Ballet and Indiana University in Bloomington.  This is her first time working with Huntsville Ballet. 

Add Comment
  

July 2016


Auditions for Pre-Professional Company

Jul 18, 2016 2:41 PM
Add Comment

Tuesday 8/2, Wednesday 8/3, Thursday 8/4:           

Pre-Professional Company Audition classes  5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Office hours 12:00 pm until 7:00 pm

                                                                    Audition Details:      

Dancers interested in auditioning for Huntsville Ballet's Pre-Professional Company and Jr. Company are required to attend 2 audition classes.

A Pre-Professional Company Member is required to be at least 14 years of age and at the advanced pointe level.  

A Pre-Professional Apprentice is required to be at least 13 years of age and at the intermediate pointe level. 

A Junior Company Member must be of the Ballet 4x level or higher with a minimum of 1-year pointe work required.

Maintenance Week is open to non-HBS dancers who want to audition for pre-professional company or to take a drop-in class at the Huntsville Ballet School.

Class fees: $15.00 drop-in rate will apply. HBS Class cards accepted.

 

 

Add Comment
  

May 2016


Works @ The Mill

May 13, 2016 8:20 AM
Add Comment

Works @ The Mill takes ballet performance out of the traditional proscenium theater setting and into one of Huntsville’s most unique performance spaces. 

The Huntsville Ballet Company presents two modern pieces choreographed by Principal Dancer Jayson Pescasio. Concertto Grosso celebrates and interprets the beauty of Vivaldi’s music, and Caerimonia is inspired by the rituals of ethnic tribes of Southeast Asia. 

In the tradition of Lowe Mill A&E performances, audience members are welcome to bring in food and drink while they enjoy the show, and are encouraged to meet and talk with the artists at the end of the presentation. 

Some chairs will be provided, but blankets and chairs for picnic style seating are welcome. 

The performance is free, but donations are welcome and benefit both Lowe Mill A&E and the Huntsville Ballet Company.

Works @ The Mill is a modern ballet performance performed in the raw and beautiful First Floor Connector at Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment intended to engage a non-ballet audience who want a different experience of performance art. Abstract and beautiful, the pieces are perfect for the space and audiences at Lowe Mill. 

Learn more from the Interview with Beth Norwood with Mr. Pescasio on WLRH here

 

Add Comment
  

April 2016


Huntsville Ballet Company in the community

Apr 25, 2016 11:25 AM
Add Comment

 

Our season may have come to a close, but we’re not taking a break just yet.

Find us April 29 - May 1 at Panoply in our S.T.E.A.M. Interactive tent where we’ll be teaching the science of Mobiles through movement. We are so excited about this opportunity to use the art of dance to educate children about the science behind levers. Learn more at artshuntsville.org/mobiles-in-motion.

On May 5 and 6, look for us as a part of Lee High School’s Spring show where we will be performing Le Corsaire set by Artistic Director Phillip Otto on Principal Dancers Sarah Pautz and Jayson Pescasio and Concertto Grosso, a modern ballet piece choreographed by Mr. Pescasio.

On May 14 at 2 p.m. find us at Lowe Mill in the First Floor Connector. Works @ The Mill takes ballet performance out of the traditional proscenium theater setting and into one of Huntsville’s most unique performance spaces. The Huntsville Ballet Company presents two modern pieces choreographed by Mr. Pescasio. Concertto Grosso celebrates and interprets the beauty of Vivaldi’s music, and Caerimonia is inspired by the rituals of ethnic tribes of Southeast Asia.

In the tradition of Lowe Mill performances audience members are welcome to bring in food and drink while they enjoy the show and are encouraged to meet and talk with the artists at the end of the presentation. Some chairs will be provided, but blankets and chairs for picnic style seating are welcome.

The performance is free, but donations will benefit both Lowe Mill and the Huntsville Ballet Company.

Want to train with us? Enrollment is open for Summer at the Huntsville Ballet School. Learn more about Summer Intensives, Mini Week Intensives and our Summer Sessions at HuntsvilleBalletSchool.org/Summer

Stay tuned for more here and on our social media channels.

 

 

Add Comment
  

Behind the Scenes: 5 Questions about Peter Pan’s costuming with HBC Costume Mistress Lisa Ordway

Apr 8, 2016 9:59 AM
Add Comment

The choreography, the staging, the set design and the costuming all come together to make Peter Pan a magical experience. We chatted with Costume Mistress Lisa Ordway about here favorite characters and costuming for HBC’s original production.

 

What is your favorite costume that you have created for Peter Pan?

Without a doubt, Hook.  I wanted Hook to look as though he had lived in his costume for a very long time.  Shattered elegance.  His jacket, beautifully stitched by Carol Blair, is made from linen, which takes on a lovely rumpled look.  The lining, meant to look as though it had been patched with a castaway quilt, is actually made from an Indian kantha quilt I found...not knowing at the time what I would use it for but knowing it had to be something special. The pattern for the jacket is actually cut from an original pattern of Mr. Tygett's (HBC’s first Artistic Director) found in the bottom of a box of old patterns. We made a few adjustments, but it is pretty true to the original.  Hook’s boots are also pretty special.  One day, while digging through some old costumes, I unearthed a pair of beautiful boot covers in a dusty old box.  The originals were too small for Evan Ambrose who plays Hook, so we made a new pair by using the old as a pattern. 

 

What was your biggest challenge costuming this ballet?

For every ballet, the first challenge is your color story. The colors work and blend together to help tell the story. The most challenging aspect of costuming this ballet was trying to give each costume an individual look. We have about 14 pirates, but they all need to look a bit different, but blend together in a pleasing way.  It is the same with the lost boys!  Finding different hats for all of our girl lost boys was a journey.  Only the Indian Princesses are dressed basically the same.  However, each dress is a different color suede cloth, and the girls all beaded their own dresses! 

 

Do you have a favorite character?

Yes! No!  All of them! They each bring so much to the whole, I can't possibly choose.  Of course, I love Peter for his pure spirit and his devotion. I love Wendy for her tender heart and her abundant love for everyone, especially Peter. I love Tink for trying so hard to be bad and failing! I love Tiger Lily for her beautiful warrior princess spirit. Mrs. Darling's broken heart, longing for her missing babies, makes my momma’s heart ache, too.  I adore Nana dog because she is just fabulous in that hot costume.  And mostly...perhaps...I just love Hook.

 

Which costume are you most proud of?

Besides Hook, probably Tinker Belle.  She is a bad little steampunk fairy, and her costume was the first one I made for this ballet. I promised I would make her a little edgy, so it was fun to make a traditional ballet costume with a bad girl corset!  Sarah is a pleasure to costume, and she had a good bit of say so about her costume.  I try, when I can, to let the dancers help me figure out what the costume should be.  What flavor it should have.  The other thing I am proud of is the beading on Tiger Lily's skirt.  I had an appliqué for her bodice, but needed something for the skirt, so I copied part of the bodice beading.  It was quite a challenge, and it is staying put so far!

 

What inspired you most in your creation of the costumes?

The rich colors of fall foliage. The beautiful texture of linen.  My undying love for fairy tales, ballet, and making pretty things. 

 

Photo by Jim Kendall Photography

Add Comment
  

Behind the Scenes: HBC Stage Manager Melissa "Birdie" Jones on the magic of Peter Pan

Apr 4, 2016 11:44 AM
Add Comment

And now for a real peek behind the scenes… as the HBC tech crew moves in and creates the magic of Neverland on the Von Braun Center Concert Hall stage, it's the perfect time to chat with Melissa Birdie Jones on how it is all coming together and what she is most excited about.

Who is responsible for designing sets for Peter Pan?

If it stands up onstage but doesn't dance, Karl King made it. He is our Scenic Designer and our Technical Director, which means he designed all of our sets from scratch. He built them in some cases from things he repurposed from the warehouse, old sets and drops... things like that. If you look close and have a good memory, you can see what came from what. It's an old theatre designer skill.

All the props are Dannye Drake and Tammy Lynn. They have so many props to chase on this one... pirate swords, Lost Boy swords, and clubs... not to mention all the fiddly little hand props. I'm glad I don't have to keep up with all of it. I would lose something in the dark.

Also in on the magic is Cynthia Meyer, who does our lights when she's not in the studio office or hanging on the rigging in the (VBC) Playhouse. She and I have had a great working relationship from the very first time we did a show together. She gets me, and gets what I want to see onstage and knows with her years and years of experience how to make that happen.

 

 

What is your favorite part of working on Peter Pan?

My favorite part of the process so far has been envisioning and designing the lights. I've been brainstorming and researching since last summer. I'm actually kind of ridiculously passionate about the original J. M. Barrie novel, and in some places, his writing... okay look at this, from the chapter about Mermaid's Lagoon.

"If you shut your eyes and are a lucky one, you may see at times a shapeless pool of lovely pale colours suspended in the darkness; then if you squeeze your eyes tighter, the pool begins to take shape, and the colours become so vivid that with another squeeze they must go on fire. But just before they go on fire you see the lagoon. This is the nearest you ever get to it on the mainland, just one heavenly moment; if there could be two moments you might see the surf and hear the mermaids singing. "

Now if that doesn't read like instructions for a lighting designer, I don't know what would. Granted, the ballet doesn't actually go to the lagoon, but still I wanted to incorporate that vivid palette of colors into our language of Neverland. And thus, the lighting in the nursery will be very soft and pallid by comparison. And working with Cynthia to make this lighting "language" a reality has been so exciting. As I said before... she gets me (and she's as passionate about this story as I am) so it's really been an adventure to find how we're going to bring Neverland to vibrant life.

But... all that being said. I think my favorite part ultimately has yet to come. 

Flying.

I was sort of terrified at the prospect in the beginning, but I've done a lot of research and spent a lot of time talking to the flying director who is coming in. Between my own preparation, Karl's zen and experience with flying in the past, and the effervescent exuberance of all the dancers about getting to fly... I'm ready to give the pixie dust a try. There's going to be no happier thought in the world than seeing Jason and Sarah's faces when they really start to get the hang of the rig.

Add Comment
  

March 2016


Behind the Scenes: Patricia Kiley on HBC’s production of Peter Pan

Mar 28, 2016 3:13 PM
Add Comment

We’ve been chatting with the artists behind the magic of Huntsville Ballet Company’s original production of Peter Pan. A particularly charming element that makes this production so accessible is the addition of a piece of narration from the novel that opens the show. Artistic Director Phillip Otto is collaborating with Patricia Ferrier Kiley to add this element to his ballet. Mrs. Kiley acts as an advisor, director and choreographer on productions at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Before she relocated to Huntsville, she appeared on Broadway, in live television productions and film

We had an opportunity chat with the lovely Mrs. Kiley and get her take on HBC’s production of Peter Pan and her role in it.

What is your favorite part of the story of Peter Pan?

The Magical moment when Wendy, Michael and John realize that they are flying, and seemly without a care, sail off into to the blue—totally caught up in the excitement of their meeting this unique creature—Peter Pan!

 

Which is your favorite character in the story?

It is difficult to choose between Peter, Wendy and Hook. Peter because he is a Magical, Adventurous Creature free of responsibility, Wendy because she is so loving and devoted to Peter and the Lost Boys, and to her family. And dark, dangerous Hook because he is so outrageously evil, and yet so very craven when he hears the Crocodile.  

But I will choose Wendy just because of her loving spirit and her sense of responsibility!

 

As the narrator and the voice that introduces the ballet to the audience, what do you most hope to convey?

The sense of the Wonder and Magic of this lovely story.

 

What is your favorite theme in the story?

The idea of a place like Neverland…This beautiful island with all its magic and its sense of danger.

 

What do you like most about the story?

That, as in the WIZARD OF OZ, " there is no place like home". It is fine to go off and have an adventure, but lovely to return to the warmth of one's home and family.

 

Are there any thoughts you would like to add about why you chose to be involved in this production?

I believe that the closest thing to flying while on this earth is dancing. While moving through space, leaping, jeteing, turning one can feel that marvelous sense of sculpturing space.....oh yes!

 

Patricia Ferrier Kiley has performed on Broadway in many musicals including the original production of Damn Yankees, New Girl In Town, Redhead, and How to Succeed in Business, in addition to her work on live TV and on the film Damn Yankees. She studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse and ballet with Anthony Tudor and Margaret Craske at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School. She also appeared in ballets at the Metropolitan Opera. She has worked with well-known choreographers – Anthony Tudor, Jack Cole and Bob Fosse and has assisted Fosse on the film Damn Yankees. Patricia has also worked in productions with the distinguished Broadway directors Hal Prince, George Abbot and Noel Coward. Patricia was a member of the Hamilton Trio which made its name dancing on Your Show of Shows TV production that starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Patricia has been working with David Harwell at University of Alabama, Huntsville since her move to Huntsville. She was artistic advisor on Little Shop of Horrors, and has co-directed with David on several productions at UAH including The Rimers of Eldritch, All My SonsThe Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Sunday in the Park with George as well as creating choreography for these productions.

Add Comment
  

Behind the Scenes: 5 questions with Tinkerbell--Sarah Satterfield

Mar 16, 2016 6:05 PM
Add Comment

We've been sitting down with our performers to talk about Huntsville Ballet Company’s original adaptation of Peter Pan—just a few questions to learn more about what’s going on behind the scenes and in the studio. This week we chatted with Sarah Satterfield who brings Tinkerbell to life in our production.


What is your favorite part of this story?

My favorite part of the story is when the children finally convince Peter to take them to Neverland and they get to fly.

What is your favorite aspect of Tinkerbell's character?

Her relationship with Peter. She absolutely adores him and they are the best of friends. I love how playful they are with each other.

What do you hope to bring to her character?

I want to bring the sassiness and spunk that everyone knows and loves to Tink. As a little girl, Tinkerbell was one of my favorite characters so I'm very excited to get to play with her many emotions onstage.

What is your favorite theme running through the story of Peter Pan?

My favorite theme of the story is daring to believe and discovering something new and exciting. Always being up for an adventure.

What do you love most about this story?

What I love most about the story is that it seems as though it could happen to anyone. Three normal children had a magical night that changed everything. It's so incredible and sparks imagination.
 

Catch more behind the scenes scoop on HBC Backstage and by checking out the hashtag #PeterPanHBC.

Photo features Principal Dancer Jayson Pescasio with Sarah Satterfield in rehearsal for Peter Pan.

Photo Credit Jim Kendall 

 

Add Comment
  
1 2 3 4 5 »
Follow us on Twitter
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram