February 19-21, students from Ballet Academy East’s Pre-Professional Division will be performing at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. The Studio Showing offers BAE dancers a special opportunity to work with world-class choreographers, both from BAE’s faculty of luminaries (recently joined by Wendy Whelan) and guest artists. This year, faculty members Jenna Lavin and Charles Askegard are creating new works for the occasion. The guest choreographers include Jeff Gribler, formally of Pennsylvania Ballet and Lisa de Ribere, former soloist with American Ballet Theatre and current faculty member at School of American Ballet. Particularly in New York, performance opportunities like this can be hard to come by for students. The World Dances recently spoke with BAE Founder and Director Julia Dubno about the philosophy and pedagogy involved in creating such a valuable opportunity for young dancers.
Can you please address your reasons for establishing the workshop?
The mission of BAE is to provide students with a complete ballet education that will successfully prepare them for life in a professional company. Rehearsal and performance experience is an integral part of this education. Our students work with renowned choreographers and stagers in a wide range of styles, which is both inspiring and enriching.
How are choreographers and the pieces the students will be performing decided?
Darla Hoover, the artistic director of the Pre-Professional division, takes every aspect into consideration when planning a performance program. This includes, first and foremost, the needs of all our students at every level of their development. In addition, Darla has the challenge of coordinating our schedule with those of very busy choreographers. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many highly regarded people in the dance world, including Alan Hineline, Margaret Tracey, Cynthia Gregory and Nikolaj Hübbe. Darla Hoover, who is a répétiteur for the Balanchine Trust, has staged over ten Balanchine ballets for the BAE students, including Divertimento No. 15, Walpurgisnacht Ballet and Raymonda Variations. Faculty member and choreographer, Jenna Lavin, has created over a dozen ballets that are currently in the BAE repertory.
What are your goals for the Studio Showing?
The main goals are to give our students an experience that will help bring them to a new level in their pre-professional training, inspire them, and nurture their dream of a future ballet career.
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(Photo: Rosalie O’Connor, Symphonic Etudes choreographed by Emery LeCrone)