Tag Archives: American Ballet Theatre

Dancer Spotlight: Ommi Pipit-Suksun

Story by Susan Lee

After living and working in three different countries, principal dancer Ommi Pipit-Suksun has finally found a home at Ballet San Jose.

Pipit-Suksun grew up in Thailand, where ballet was not very popular.  “There’s no professional ballet company in the country,” Pipit-Suksun says.  “And there weren’t even any dancers in my family.”

Ommi Pipit-Suksun

Ballet San Jose Principal Dancer Ommi Pipit-Suksun and Soloist Rudy Candia. Photo by Robert Reed.

So how did she wind up choosing ballet? Continue reading

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Media Roundup: Ballet San Jose 2013 Gala

In less than two weeks, Ballet San Jose will host its 2013 Gala in celebration of new Artistic Director José Manuel Carreño and will feature guest artists from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and more. Our excitement is growing by the day, and so are our media mentions! Take a look below to see who else is getting hyped up for our event.

To buy tickets and to find out more about this year’s Gala, visit our Gala homepage at balletsj.org/gala.html.

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Ballet San Jose at the Napa Valley Festival del Sole Dance Gala, July 19

From Ballet San Jose Music director George Daugherty:

The Dede Wilsey Dance Gala at the Napa Valley Festival del Sole is going to be an INCREDIBLE evening on July 19. Here is the official program and casting. Extraordinary dancers will wow you, the fabulous musicians of the Russian National Orchestra will fill the air with music from the orchestra pit, a long-lost Fokine ballet will come back to the stage, a collection of breathtaking pas de deux and ballets will thrill and move you, and the rolling hills of Napa at sunset in the summertime will enchant you as you hold a perfect glass of locally-produced Napa wine. What more could you want? Please join us!

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Ballet SJ apprentice Thomas Baker. Photo credit: Olivier Wecxsteen.

Ballet SJ apprentice Thomas Baker. Photo credit: Olivier Wecxsteen.

After a successful run of The Nutcracker in December, Ballet San Jose is all caught up in the magic of love! The company has spent the past month preparing in earnest for the company premiere  of Don Quixote — or, as we like to call it, ballet’s original romantic comedy. While Kitri polishes her fouettés and Mercedes perfects her sultry smolder, we’re continuing our Artist Spotlight blog series, in which we have been focusing on the new dancers in the company this season.

For all the male dancers out there, here’s another interview just for you! Thomas Baker is a new apprentice with the company, and he has some pretty interesting stories to tell. Find out how Thomas got his start in ballet, his favorite memories from 2012, and the inspiration that made him such a fabulous “Fritz” in the world premiere of Karen Gabay’s The Nutcracker.

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Artist Spotlight: Ballet San Jose Apprentice Thomas Baker

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Artist Spotlight: Ballet San Jose Dancer Alex Kramer

Alex Kramer photographed by Jade Young

Alex Kramer photographed by Jade Young

Nine days ago, Ballet San Jose gave the South Bay a one-night-only preview of our 2013 Repertory Season with an amazing Inaugural Gala performance at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. The rep earned some very complimentary reviews from publications around the Bay Area and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Every person who took the CPA stage on November 3 — from critically acclaimed concert violinist Rachel Lee to the company dancers of Ballet San Jose, both familiar and new — gave an awe-inspiring performance. We think the gala gave Bay Area audiences a really inspiring look at the new pieces in the coming season!

Now, we’ve begun to look ahead to Ballet SJ’s new production of The Nutcracker, which will make its world premiere on December 8. As we gear up for this run of Nutcracker, we pick up where we left off with our Artist Spotlight blog series. Meet another new face in the corps de ballet: Alex Kramer, an alumnus of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and former member of ABT Studio Company. Before the gala, we talked to Alex about what inspired him to become a dancer in Grand Junction, CO, his mentor at ABT, and his thoughts about leaving New York City.

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Catching Up with ABT’s Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens

Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens with attendees of the first session of ABT's National Training Curriculum Teacher Training.

Franco De Vita (far right) and Raymond Lukens (center) with attendees of the first ABT teacher training session at Ballet San Jose.

In May, Ballet San Jose hosted American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT) first National Training Curriculum Teacher Training session. Led by Principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT Franco De Vita and and Director of the National Training Curriculum Program Raymond Lukens, Ballet SJ School faculty, along with dancers from the company and dance teachers from around the country, completed the training for levels Primary through 3.

Recently, Principal of Ballet SJ School Dalia Rawson wrote a two-part blog series for 4dancers exploring the teacher training experience. With the second session beginning this Sunday, August 12, we wanted to take a closer look at the curriculum from the perspective of the two people who know it best.
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A Fairytale Evening: Guest Blog by Mesa Burdick

ABT's Sascha Radetsky and Ballet SJ's Alexsandra Meijer pose for a photo backstage with Mesa Burdick and friends.

ABT’s Sascha Radetsky and Ballet SJ’s Alexsandra Meijer pose for a photo backstage with Mesa Burdick (center, in blue) and friends.

At the beginning of May, Ballet San Jose School student Mesa Burdick participated in one of Ballet SJ’s online contests and won the chance to go behind the scenes of Cinderella (May 4 – 6, 2012) with two of its stars, American Ballet Theatre’s Sascha Radetsky and Ballet SJ’s Alexsandra Meijer. We asked twelve-year-old Mesa to blog about her experience. Continue reading

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Playbill Notes: The Story behind the Story of Cinderella

From Texas Ballet Theater's 2010 production of Ben Stevenson's Cinderella. Photo by Ellen Appel.

From Texas Ballet Theater's 2010 production of Ben Stevenson's Cinderella. Photo by Ellen Appel, courtesy of Texas Ballet Theatre.

With opening night of Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella nearly upon us, we wanted to take a moment to share with you a bit of the fascinating history that surrounds the original Cinderella fairytale. Read this excerpt from pages 6-9 of Ballet SJ’s Cinderella Playbill, which can be downloaded and read in its entirety from the Ballet San Jose website.

One of the great ironies of life, and of art, is that out of pain is born beauty. A country is torn apart by war. A mother dies young. Artists hundreds of years apart give birth to story and music that will become the stuff that dreams are made of. Such is the path of this ballet. —Cinderella.

The Cinderella story is perhaps one of the best-known and best-liked fairy tales in Western culture. Like many folk tales, the origins of Cinderella can be traced back centuries, and individual elements of the story can be found in almost every corner of the world. It has been estimated there are at least 1,500 variations on the theme of Cinderella worldwide.

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Thoughts about ‘Clear’ from BSJ dancers Damir Emric, Josh Seibel and Francisco Preciado


Corella Ballet performs Stanton Welch’s Clear in Barcelona (2009)

Ballet San Jose’s upcoming Program of Premieres, opening this Friday, April 13, features an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary pieces—the most hauntingly memorable of which may be Clear, a 2001 creation by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch. Drawing inspiration from the events of September 11th, Clear is a male showcase in five movements described as an “abstract study of life’s connections.” It is unlike anything we have seen on BSJ’s stage in recent years.

For the last month, BSJ dancers have worked tirelessly to perfect the piece with the help of Dawn Scannell, former Ballet Mistress of Houston Ballet and stager of the piece, as well as BSJ Artistic Consultant Wes Chapman. BSJ corps de ballet dancers Damir Emric and Francisco Preciado and apprentice Josh Seibel appear frequently throughout Clear; Damir and Josh dance the duet in the second movement, and Francisco is one third of the pas de trois in the third. Damir, Francisco and Josh shared some fascinating thoughts about the work when I sat down with them during a rehearsal break last week.

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A Conversation with BSJ Apprentice Vimala Jeffrey-Howe

Vimala Jeffrey-Howe was recently promoted to apprentice at Ballet San Jose.

Vimala Jeffrey-Howe was recently promoted to apprentice at Ballet San Jose.

When Ballet San Jose announced the promotion of 22-year-old Vimala Jeffrey-Howe, a former Ballet San Jose School student, to apprentice in the professional company a couple of weeks ago, she called her parents immediately.

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