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The Puzzle that is a Mixed Repertory

01_Class with Darla on stage


The Puzzle that is a Mixed Repertory

May 17, 2017

Guest blogger Darla Hoover explains the process and importance of staging a mixed repertory. Ms. Hoover is the Artistic Director of Ballet Academy East.

People might wonder why is it important for Ballet Academy East to offer students the chance to perform in a mixed repertory. My belief is that BAE needs to give our students a taste of every style of dance that is out there. There is no company in the world that only does one type of dance, so we need to provide a variety of opportunities to train and prepare our students for a career in which adaptability is required.

But, deciding which works to perform is a tricky process. It’s really a lot like putting together a puzzle.

A puzzle that involves determining which chorographers are available to come stage or choreograph a ballet. Their schedules can fill up a year or more in advance! If I find out a choreographer who I know will elevate the students is available, I book them. No matter what we end up producing, I know just working with them will benefit our students’ training and education.

I also need to take our students into consideration. How will they grow and develop in the coming year? How many male dancers do we have? What is their strength level for partnering? Who will be ready to perform principal roles? It sure would be a lot easier if I had a crystal ball!

Additionally, I consider audiences. I want to offer a well-rounded and entertaining experience for audience members. I want people who come to our performances to walk away moved by what they saw and impressed with the level of dancing by BAE students.

But, ultimately, I really take to heart what our students will get out of it – their education is paramount. A performance is so much more than a fun ballet, impressive costumes or wonderful music. I strongly believe that performance opportunities are key to future success. My goal is to open our students up to a different world – to help them fall in love and appreciate every style of dance. To expose them to leading choreographers who will prepare them for the real world of ballet. To give them a chance to experience the passion and energy that comes from being on stage.

This year I am so excited about how the “puzzle” came together. Jenna Lavin has created two more beautiful pieces that exude artistic expression and emotion. The students have had the exceptional opportunity to work with Alan Hineline and are privileged to present a world premier of his new ethereal work, Sans Nuages. And they are performing in one of ballet’s classics, CoppéliaAct III, with sets from London.

I take personal pride in how tirelessly our students have prepared for this performance and how their technical and artistic skills have advanced. Please join us in celebrating them at this year’s Spring Performance.