Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Aurelia Pollard
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Centennial State Ballet prepares for performance in Longmont

 

October 1, 2016

Photo courtesy of Centennial State Ballet CSB dancer Elise Ferguson represents the Firebird in the ballet company’s upcoming October Showcase of Fire & Ice.

The Centennial State Ballet (CSB) is preparing to kick off its 19th season, The Season of Magic, with The October Showcase, at the Silver Creek High School auditorium.

According to Heidi Lawrence, marketing manager, the fall performance is a great way to allow the pre-collegiate dancers larger roles since the production is smaller.

“The first performance really highlights the Pre-Collegiate Intensive Ballet Program that we have,” Lawrence said of the first of three performances. “The dancers perform the solos and lead roles, and really get a chance to shine in this performance.”

The show will consist of two different pieces, giving way to the subtitle of Fire & Ice. The first performance, Firebird, will focus on a famous ballet by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. The second piece, an original, called The Snow Maiden, is based on a Russian fairytale.

“It’s a story that our artistic executive director took from that fairytale and turned it into a ballet,” Lawrence said of The Snow Maiden. “She and one of our other instructors, Christopher Smidt, did the choreography to bring the story to life.”

“Our October Showcase tends to be excerpts from ballets,” Lawrence added of the show, “where we really allow the pre-professional program students more opportunities to bring to the stage what they can do.”

The Pre-Collegiate Ballet Intensive Program is for high school students in 9th grade and up. CSB works with local high schools to give dancers the ability to leave school early in order to practice as much as needed.

“Their academic day is set up so they can do everything they need to do at school, and they actually get credit for coming to dance with us,” Lawrence said of the dancers’ schedules. “The schools work with us so they can do that.”

Lawrence said the dancers are basically holding a part time job with how many hours they dance, in addition to attending school every day.

“Right now, because we are rehearsing two different performances, The October Showcase and Nutcracker, they’re dancing well over 20 hours per week,” Lawrence explained. “By the time you sit down to one of our performances, countless hours have gone into it.”

Many of the dancers obtain the skills and expertise required to attend an intensive ballet program over the summer, and go on to audition for collegiate programs, perform for professional ballet companies, in commercials or in theaters.

“Over the summer, a lot of these girls will audition to be part of the intensive programs of other ballet companies, such as the San Francisco Conservatory, Miami Ballet and Boston Ballet,” Lawrence said.

Being a non-profit organization, Lawrence said the company’s biggest challenge is letting the community know, that even “as a non-profit with a limited budget, we are a very professional youth-ballet company.”

“We do fabulous work and it’s on the same caliber as some of these professional companies out there,” she continued.

The company relies on business sponsors, individual donors and interested parties to keep it going. It also partners with businesses, such as Front Range Community College, where students are doing projects to help CSB with marketing needs.

“It’s been great because it helps us out and it gives students a real world experience to have an actual client that will be using their material when they’re done with the project,” Lawrence said of the partnership.

Although the company sells tickets for each performance, Lawrence said ticket sales only cover about 20 percent of the total production costs, leaving the performers to find other ways to raise money.

“We get very creative in our ways of finding funding for these ballets,” she said. “An average production is around $50,000 if you’re talking about The Nutcracker. The October Showcase is a lot less.”

With the non-profit’s 19th season starting in just a couple weeks, Lawrence hopes people will attend its upcoming performances, even if they don’t have a connection to the ballet.

“We just really hope that people will come and see us,” Lawrence said. “It’s a work in progress. It’s a labor of love, and we all do it because we just love the wonderful work that comes out of it.”

The October Showcase will be held at the Silver Creek High School auditorium on Friday, October 7 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, October 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 for students/seniors and $22 for adults. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit centennialstateballet.org.

 

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