Tag Archives: swan lake

Guest Stager: Sandra Jennings

We’re in the middle of Nutcracker season, but we’re already thinking ahead to the New Year! This week, we were joined in the studios by Guest Stager Sandra Jennings, also ballet-mistress and coach at Mariinsky Theatre. Sandra is working with the Company to stage George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations for Ballet San Jose’s MasterPieces program. MasterPieces will be performed at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts February 20-22, 2015.

Sandra Jennings

Sandra Jennings, courtesy of Mariinsky Theatre


Sandra Jennings

Sandra Jennings was born in Boston and began her dance training at an early age with June Paxman of the Washington Ballet and later with E. Virginia Williams at Boston Ballet. Later Sandra trained with teachers such as Harriet Hoctor, Shanna Bereska and Margaret Gill. Continue reading

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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 San Jose, 2010-2011: A Season in Review(s)

With many thrilling opportunities in Ballet San Jose’s future — not the least of which is our new partnership with American Ballet Theatre, announced last Friday — this year seems to be winding down rather quietly. We are excited to see what 2012 will bring. However, we can’t bid 2011 adieu without first taking a moment to look back on the 2010-2011 Ballet San Jose season.

In lieu of putting together a true “End of the Year” list, we asked our Marketing Director and resident scrapbooker Lee Kopp to compile a few of his favorite snippets from local reviews of Giselle, Swan Lake and Carmen. The result was a pretty fantastic survey of one-liners.

So here it is. We present to you: Ballet San Jose’s 2010-2011 season in review(s).

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Danseur Noble Roles for the Ages: Words from Ballet San Jose’s Dennis Nahat and Raymond Rodriguez

Karen Gabay and Raymond Rodriguez in Ballet San Jose's 'Giselle' (2004). Photo by Robert Shomler

Karen Gabay and Raymond Rodriguez in Ballet San Jose's 'Giselle' (2004). Photo by Robert Shomler.

Last Thursday, Dave Wilson (better known as the guy behind the blog “Dave Tries Ballet“) asked the twitterverse at large a ballet question we found most interesting: What are the four big danseur noble roles? Fascinating, we thought. A brilliant question, we said.

But since we are simply BSJ staff, we thought it best to go to the real experts. We asked Ballet San Jose’s Artistic Director Dennis Nahat and Régisseur Raymond Rodriguez for their input.

DENNIS NAHAT is an acclaimed artist and choreographer of international stature. He has dedicated himself to creating ballets that distinguish Ballet San Jose as a company of international renown since its inception. He really knows his stuff! From Dennis:

The roles I think are most desirable by the male danseur nobles!

Basil in Don Quixote (All guys love this role!)
Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake
Albrecht in Giselle
Romeo in Romeo and Juliet
Franz in Coppélia
Ali, the Slave in Le Corsaire
Solor in La Bayadère
Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty
Prince Charming in Cinderella
Nutcracker/Prince in The Nutcracker
Lucien d’Hervilly in Paquita
The Poet in Les Sylphides
Colas in La Fille Mal Gardée

RAYMOND RODRIGUEZ joined the Cleveland Ballet (now Ballet San Jose) in 1981 as a principal dancer and has become a treasured member of the organization since that time. He currently serves as Régisseur for Ballet San Jose and has danced all of the roles included in the list below. From Raymond:

My favorites are:

Prince Siegfried – Swan Lake
Albrecht – Giselle
Romeo – Romeo and Juliet
Basil – Don Quixote

There you have it, ballet fans, from the keyboards of the experts behind Ballet San Jose in California. We hope these lists have given you further insight into our world, and we think you may find some surprises there as well. What do you think? Do you agree with Raymond and Dennis? How would you change the lists above?

Feel free to throw fun questions our way and we’ll try to get some interesting answers for you in the future!

Best wishes,
Ballet San Jose

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A Season in Review: The Ballet San Jose Blog is Back

Karen Gabay as Maria in Ballet San Jose's The Nutcracker

Karen Gabay dances the part of Maria in Ballet San Jose's 'The Nutcracker.' Photo by John Gerbetz.

Attention, Ballet San Jose fans! It’s been almost a year since we started this blog, and you might say that we let it fall temporarily by the wayside. With all of the activity around Ballet SJ, we have been known to throw ourselves completely into our work and brush aside the extraneous (but no less important!) details. Luckily, we have some new faces around the Ballet this season. And our new Social Media Coordinator is fully committed to getting this blog up and running in time for The Nutcracker this December.

It certainly has been a whirlwind year — after 2010’s Giselle (Oct. 22-24) and The Nutcracker, (Dec. 11-26), Dennis Nahat and Ballet SJ wowed audiences and critics with two favorites: Swan Lake (Feb. 25 – 27) and Carmen (Apr. 1-3).

Both shows were spectacular. We were lucky enough to have ballet superstar Carlos Acosta as a guest star in Swan Lake — by now one of the most notorious ballets of our time, thanks to the Oscar-nominated movie Black Swan. Because of the hard work and sanity of our dancers and staff, we avoided the hallucinations and nervous breakdowns that Hollywood associates with the show. Carlos and Ballet SJ were received with critical applause, and the show was a rousing success.

Later this past spring, our dancers seduced large crowds with a tale of intrigue and passion from the late French Dance Master Roland Petit. Carmen was a saucy affair that the San Francisco Chronicle called an “opulent and rambunctious, daring production.” And as Carmen ended, so did the 2010-2011 season.

Where are we now? Ballet SJ is gearing up again for a 2011 run of The Nutcracker. For us, the holiday season always comes with a certain sense of familiarity, of coming home. Dennis Nahat’s Nutcracker remains a unique and colorful retelling, and it is entirely ours.

Keep an eye out for future blog posts from Ballet SJ. We have an exciting host of things planned — interviews with our dancers, exclusive photos from around the Ballet, and other long-winded ruminations from your favorite Social Media Coordinator. Please feel free to subscribe to this WordPress blog, or follow our real-time updates on Twitter and Facebook.

For now, any ballet fan, aspiring dancer, or San Jose local who strolls down North First Street this fall will see us right where we have always been — a pale pink building tucked up against a gorgeous mural; a restless and athletic crowd of dancers milling outside the school; a box office window filled with posters from seasons past. If you’re ever in the area, please stop by. We’d love to see you.

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