Ballet Kalamazoo started our second season this past September. In response to some new beginnings this year, the Ballet Kalamazoo team changed course and embraced some exciting challenges!
On a personal level, my happy news is that I am expecting another little girl due in March. Our family is really excited to welcome our newest ballerina but this also meant that our schedule would be different this year at Ballet Kalamazoo.
Over the summer, I had such apprehension about Ballet Kalamazoo’s second year. I was so worried about us having a sophomore slump. I was having trouble deciding what to do for our next original ballet, and, with the new baby coming, I was worried about being able to deliver the experience that my team at Ballet Kalamazoo deserves.
After our spring performance of “Snow White”, our dancers were really excited about our next original ballet. What would it be? I loved hearing their ideas and when I asked them which story most intrigued them, their collective answer was RAPUNZEL.
I’ll be honest and say that Rapunzel was not my first choice or even in my top three. The fairytale of Rapunzel is only a few pages, and there are not very many characters. It is also quite a dark story; Rapunzel is held prisoner, and the Prince becomes blind. I’m not sure that’s what our dancers had in mind when they requested Rapunzel!
I absolutely love Disney’s “Tangled” but couldn’t just do “Tangled, the Ballet”. I can’t imagine how much it would be to get the rights to do that story! However, it is so important to me to listen to and empower our youth to encourage their creativity and strength. Taking their lead, I decided to embrace my dancers’ idea to create our own story of Rapunzel.
I began brainstorming but definitely had writer’s block. I researched and read every version I could find to gain inspiration. Part of my research was reaching out to fellow choreographer Kristy Nilsson who had staged a ballet of Rapunzel for Atlanta Dance Theatre. I was so glad I did! She was extremely helpful in giving me insight on how to look at the story.
Kristy completely opened up my mind to new ideas and gave me a totally different perspective on how to tell the story of Rapunzel. With her guidance, I found the inspiration I needed, and our original ballet Rapunzel quickly began taking shape.
Thank you, Kristy! I am so grateful and look forward to collaborating with Kristy someday on a ballet.
For the story of Rapunzel, I knew there were some elements from “Tangled” that I loved and wanted to include; elements like the floating lights and Rapunzel as a painter. But our Rapunzel is more traditional, and of course, needed a PRINCE. This also made for a new challenge of finding a male ballet dancer in the Kalamazoo area. Finding our prince proved to be a challenge! After two months searching, we finally found the most perfect prince from Western Michigan University’s Dance Department! Special thanks to WMU Dance Department for all your help!
We have our story, we have our wonderful dancers, and we even have our prince. Now, where will we find a theatre that could accommodate our growing company and their families and friends? A theatre with a floor suitable for pointe shoes, too! I quickly realized I had very limited options. Rather than having the traditional May show, I had to take a risk and made the decision to have our original ballet this year on January 27, 2018 at Chenery Auditorium.
Since the beginning of Ballet Kalamazoo I envisioned my company dancing at Chenery but thought that it would be a few years off. It scared me to commit to such a large theatre so early
in our story, but I also knew we could do it. Chenery was really our only option in Kalamazoo.
Once I realized I needed to move the date up to January, I had to quickly get everyone on board as we had to get to work on the show right away. I was relieved to find that everyone was excited and willing to change direction with me. Everything fell into place, and the challenges I felt before were gone. Trepidation was replaced excitement, along with the certainty this was the best decision for Ballet Kalamazoo and our growing family.
The Ballet Kalamazoo dancers have been doing an incredible job working on Rapunzel. Performing an original ballet story requires the dancers to act and to tell the story through their dancing. They brought our story to life and contributed their ideas to shape the story. This is what I find so special about working with my young dancers. Their ideas are youthful and exciting, funny, and spoken from the heart. So often I bounce an idea off of them to see what they think, and they usually have a better way to get it across! They are dialed in and haven’t lost the magic of imagination.
This autumn has been exciting as we are gaining traction toward the New Year with our biggest show yet! I’m also excited about the 2018 launch of our “Studio to City” clothing line. “Studio to City” features dance inspired t-shirts including Ballet Kalamazoo apparel and our commemorative Rapunzel t-shirt. The artwork is local, original and beautiful.
As 2017 comes to a close, I am so grateful for everyone who joins me on the creative journey of Ballet Kalamazoo. Ballet Kalamazoo continues to become the community I hoped it would be. I am truly humbled by the kindness and loyalty of my dancers and their families. Thank you for your support and flexibility!
Don't forget to buy your tickets for Rapunzel! Click here for tickets.
"Rapunzel" ~ A Fairytale Ballet
Experience Rapunzel’s journey as she decides to listen to her heart, chase her dreams and discover who she really is. With special guest dancer James C. Felton, II as the Prince you can't help but fall in love alongside our Rapunzel and her story.
Please join us for our very first performance at the magnificent Chenery Auditorium downtown Kalamazoo. We will be presenting one show only!
“Rapunzel” A Fairytale Ballet
Saturday, January 27th, 2018
7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Tickets are General Admission and $10 for children and students, $15 for adults.
Online pre-sale tickets go on sale Sunday, December 10th at 9am via LocalHop.
Tickets will be available for purchase at the door depending on availability the day of.
Join the Facebook Event Page and stay up to date on the performance! Click here.
Please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-267-6681 with any questions!
We can’t wait to see you at the show!