Tag Archives: news

Review Roundup: Ballet San Jose’s “Don Quixote”

Ballet San Jose Soloist Junna Ige as Kitri. Photo by Robert Shomler.

Ballet San Jose Soloist Junna Ige as Kitri. Photo by Robert Shomler.

Ballet San Jose’s company premiere of Don Quixote may be over, but the reviews are rolling in! We had such a wonderful run last weekend of ballet’s original romantic comedy that even now we can still hardly believe it’s over! Take a look at what some of the critics around the Bay Area have said about this production of Don Quixote (staged by Ballet SJ Artistic Advisor Wes Chapman), our special guest artist José Manuel Carreño, and our fantastic company.

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Artist Spotlight: Ballet San Jose Soloist Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun

Ballet San Jose Soloist Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun

Ballet San Jose Soloist Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun

At the beginning of September, Ballet San Jose dancers and artistic and production staff returned to the studio with much excitement and a number of new faces. They began rehearsing in earnest for the upcoming season. This month, we are starting an Artist Spotlight blog series that will span our entire 2013 Repertory Season and will connect you, our online community, with Ballet SJ’s talented dancers and artistic staff–the freshest faces as well as those who have been a part of the Ballet SJ family for many years.

In this first Spotlight, we introduce you to the company’s newest Soloist, Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun—known to friends and family as Ommi. A former Soloist at San Francisco Ballet since 2004 and currently the only Thai ballet dancer performing professionally in the United States, Nutnaree was happy to sit down and talk with me about her dance background, her favorite summer movie, and the pieces she is most looking forward to in Ballet SJ’s upcoming 2013 Season.

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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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Coming Full Circle at Ballet San Jose School

Breanna Palermo, Ballet San Jose School Registrar

Breanna Palermo, Ballet San Jose School Registrar

AS SCHOOL REGISTRAR of Ballet San Jose School, one of my favorite parts of the job is our Friday Outreach Program. We reach out to local schools and provide a complimentary tour of our building at 40 North First Street, which itself is a really neat building. The first time I came in to work, I felt like I was back in New York, taking a class in a studio building. The kids always get a kick out of the many stairs and passageways, and they really love finding out what many of our rooms used to be before they were dance studios.

After taking them around, we show them the Costume Shop, which is a highlight for many of the kids. (When Ms. Sue asks them what they think is in the tip of a pointe shoe to make it so hard, someone always guesses “rocks!”) After that, they get to watch the end of a company class, which is an extremely special treat! The kids can’t help but “oooh” and “ahhh” as our dancers fly through the air just feet in front of them. Then, they get to take a class with Mr. Eriksen, who is on the faculty here at Ballet San Jose School and is famous amongst the BSJS kids for his Pirates of the Caribbean and Angry Birds ballets. Though some of the kids may have hesitation at first about taking ballet, they always leave Mr. Eriksen’s class with happy and eager faces.

Today’s tour was from Trace Elementary, so it was a special day for me as I am a graduate of Trace! While much of the school has changed since I was there (a fire destroyed the building I learned in), there is so much that is still the same. They are still the Trace Tigers and still have a huge focus in the performing arts. When I was in elementary there, I participated in Drama, Dance and Orchestra, which are still programs at Trace today. I told the students about the time I was in the musical Annie at Trace and I played Annie’s dog Sandy (I even barked along when Annie sang “Tomorrow”), and they happily told me about the shows they were putting on. The kids in this group were so eager to learn everything about our school, and it was absolutely fantastic to share with them.

The best part of the tour is the very end, where Mr. Eriksen and I get to tell the children that because they came to the tour today, they get a whole free semester of classes in our First Step Program, as well as a free uniform. Without fail, every time we announce it, their faces light up and they cheer. Today’s announcement was no different. I can’t wait to see some of these Trace faces in my school!


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Notes from Talia: Ballet San Jose Moves Forward

Ethan Stiefel and Ashley Tuttle featured in American Ballet Theatre’s 1998 performance of Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 (1998 WNET PBS Telecast — Great Performances: DANCE IN AMERICA)

Note: Starting today, Talia the Marketing Intern will begin contributing posts to the Ballet San Jose blog.

BALLET SAN JOSE is moving forward with leaps and bounds! Yesterday was a different kind of day at Ballet San Jose as I got to take a sneak peek at the dancers as they worked on the upcoming Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 (Program 2, April 13-15). It was quite the experience. I couldn’t believe my luck when Lee stopped by my cubicle and told me I’d be allowed to watch some rehearsal upstairs. And the Ballet San Jose dancers didn’t disappoint.

It’s true that you can never really know how good something will really be until you see the finished product. But I could already tell that these pieces from the 2012 season are going to be spectacular. It was great to be able to get a look behind the scenes of the productions, to see the dancers working hard to learn new steps for some really exciting shows.

Clark Tippet’s choreography for Bruch is so elegant, and watching Wes and David Richardson work with the dancers was a treat! David even cracked a couple of jokes that had the dancers laughing and smiling at each other. The camaraderie was obvious, and it made those ten minutes of rehearsal a real joy to watch.

The dancers look so much more regal in person, too! Their poise is astounding, and they hold themselves very elegantly–even when they are walking to get a drink of water. Next door, rehearsals for Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante (also Program 2, April 13-15) were in full swing. That’s one of the pieces I can’t wait to see on stage.

Keep up the great work, guys! We won’t see the finished Bruch until the middle of April, but I look forward to the beginning of the season in March. Can’t wait!

Peace out!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Ballet San Jose

Our Marketing Director Lee Kopp poses with "Nutty" from Ballet San Jose's THE NUTCRACKER, which opens Dec. 10, 2011.

BSJ Marketing Director Lee Kopp poses with "Nutty" from Ballet San Jose's THE NUTCRACKER, which opens Dec. 10, 2011.

AS THURSDAY APPROACHES, our staff is anticipating a short respite from a busy schedule full of holiday events. Here is a quick recap of some events we’ve had lately:

  • The most important event is, of course, The Nutcracker, which will open Dec. 10th and run through the 23rd. Our dancers, who are on vacation this week, have been rehearsing tirelessly every day. Tickets have been selling like hotcakes! (Dennis and Lauren declined to write a blog post for this week because they have been so busy fielding calls and taking ticket orders.) Our costume staff has been busy as well — though they’ve still had just enough time to give an interview about ballet costuming to Access Magazine. Even our Marketing staff has ventured out of the office to mingle and socialize at local arts events around downtown San Jose.
  • Just last Tuesday, Nov. 15th, Wilkes Bashford, Ballet San Jose and Gentry Magazine threw a fashion fundraiser from which 10% of the proceeds went to the Ballet San Jose School. “An Evening of Cocktails and Couture” was a smashing success. We were delighted to see many of our friends and biggest supporters, and our dancers and staff modeled gorgeous couture fashions for a good cause.
  • We’ve also planned some appearances for our “Nutty” characters for the rest of this month and the beginning of December. This past Monday, Nov. 21st, characters from our Nutcracker dropped by the Downtown Ice opening to skate and take pictures with attendees. The event, which was hosted by Hawaiian Airlines and the San Jose Downtown Association, featured special guest Kristi Yamaguchi and kicked off a seasonal San Jose tradition that is near and dear to many of us. Make sure you check out the ice rink sometime this winter!
  • If you missed “Nutty’s” appearance at the Downtown Ice opening, come out for the Christmas tree lighting at Christmas in the Park this Friday, Nov. 25th. Our Nutcracker characters will be here again, and they will have plenty of time to take pictures with you and your family. All are welcome!

That’s the news from Ballet San Jose. We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it, and a nice long weekend even if you don’t! Please be safe and happy this holiday season. You are all part of the BSJ family.

Ballet San Jose 

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