Tag Archives: dancer interviews

Artist Spotlight: Ballet San Jose Dancer Annali Rose

Ballet San Jose dancer Annali Rose

Ballet San Jose corps member Annali Rose

After the dazzling company premiere of Don Quixote, Ballet San Jose is gearing up for an awesome mixed repertory program in March. In preparation for Program Two, we caught up with Annali Rose (one of our new corps de ballet dancers this season) to discuss her dance history with Sacramento Ballet and Trey McIntyre Project, the academic interests she pursues in her free time, and the three words that best describe her (which she answered with a little help from her friends)!

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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 Kendall Teague

Ballet San Jose Dancer Kendall Teague

Ballet San Jose Dancer Kendall Teague

Welcome back to Ballet San Jose’s Artist Spotlight blog series, in which we will continue to introduce this season’s newest dancers to our online community! In our last installment, we talked to new corps member Alex Kramer. Today, we catch up with corps member and North Carolina native Kendall Teague. Read on to learn more about Kendall’s favorite dancing icon, his summer movie pick of 2012, and his history with Ballet San Jose.

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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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Artist Spotlight: Ballet San Jose Dancer Cindy Huang

Ballet San Jose corps member Cindy Huang

Ballet San Jose corps member Cindy Huang

Ballet San Jose has always been a diverse company. As of this season, Ballet SJ is now home to forty-one dancers from countries all around the world, each one with a different story to tell. As we prepare for an exciting preview of our 2013 season at the Inaugural Gala on November 3, we continue to get to know the newest members of our company and learn just what makes them tick in our Artist Spotlight blog series.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with dancer Cindy Huang to discuss her dance background, her friendship with So You Think You Can Dance‘s Daniel Baker, and her special words for Ballet San Jose supporters.

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Ballet San Jose Artist Spotlight: Dancer Mallory Welsh

A behind-the-scenes photo of Ballet SJ dancer Mallory Welsh.

A behind-the-scenes photo of Ballet SJ dancer Mallory Welsh.

Ballet San Jose dancers are deep into Nutcracker rehearsals now—Principal Ballet Master Raymond Rodriguez tweeted earlier this week that staging for The Battle had begun!—with choreographer and Ballet SJ Principal dancer Karen Gabay, who is setting all-new choreography on the company. The studios are busy with rehearsals, and Ballet San Jose School is packed every afternoon with a full schedule of classes. As we get back into the swing of things, we are so excited to be able to introduce our newest dancers to you via our blog.

We continue our Artist Spotlight series from last week with Mallory Welsh, a dancer some of you may remember from past seasons at Ballet SJ. After a season away, Mallory is back to dance in the corps for a diverse Ballet SJ season of company premieres by many exciting and renowned choreographers. We sat down with Mallory a couple of weeks ago to talk about her earliest dance memory, her biggest inspiration, and her favorite non-dancing hobby.

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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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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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Rediscovering “Splendid Isolation”: A Conversation with Maria Jacobs-Yu

Ballet San Jose Principal dancer Maria Jacobs-Yu in rehearsal for Jessica Lang's 'Splendid Isolation III.' Photo by Chris Hardy.

Ballet San Jose Principal dancer Maria Jacobs-Yu in rehearsal for Jessica Lang's 'Splendid Isolation III.' Photo by Chris Hardy.

Choreographer Jessica Lang, a graduate of The Juilliard School and former member of Twyla Tharp’s company, THARP!, has choreographed over 75 works  for ballet companies across the country. Ballet San Jose will perform  the San Francisco Bay Area premiere of Lang’s Splendid Isolation III during Program Two, the Program of Premieres that will run April 13-15.

Jessica Lang describes her pas de deux, Splendid Isolation III, as a romantic duet set to Mahler’s “Adagietto” from his 5th Symphony. The original inspiration for the creation came from the life of Gustav Mahler and his wife Alma. In their story, Mahler asked Alma to give up her career as a composer before he would marry her, so she could devote herself totally to him and support his career instead. Splendid Isolation III explores the intimacies between a man and a woman and examines the idea of giving up part of who you are for a relationship. The work focuses around the woman enveloped in a large skirt that defines the boundary between the lovers. Through the evolution of the piece, the skirt that once separated the couple becomes the object that binds them together in their splendid isolation from the world.

Based on such a rich, incredible story, it is no wonder that BSJ Principal dancer Maria Jacobs-Yu is thrilled to be dancing the principal role in this piece for BSJ’s upcoming Program of Premieres.

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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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