Report from the inaugural workshop at the Baryshnikov Arts Center
Our inaugural workshop at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in June was a success. We had some great feedback from students and parents.
Unfortunately, Edward Villella, who was one of our master coaches, caught a virus and was unable to join us. We secured Charles Askegard, former principal dancer at NYCB, and co-founder of Ballet Next, formerly associate artistic director at Minnesota Dance Theatre, currently a teacher at Ballet Academy East, to teach the boys’ class, and Ethan Stiefel, former principal dancer with ABT, director of Royal New Zealand Ballet and star of Center Stage, to coach them. Both saved us at the eleventh hour and their expertise, humor and agreeable nature’s were greatly appreciated by us and by the students. Edward Villella has such a marvellous reputation and only two such excellent male dancers could have stepped into his shoes so successfully.
Students and dancers came from the tri-state area, and included those who studied with American Ballet Theatre, Fabrice Herrault, Ballet Academy East, American Repertory Ballet, Princeton Ballet School, Lustig Dance, Pennsylvania Ballet and Magaly Suarez in Florida, and from The Hong Kong Ballet. We even had an observer who came all the way from Singapore!
Isabelle Guérin worked in the afternoon with some of the girls, and used her considerable charm and knowledge to provide insight into the roles for which she herself had been famous.
I taught class for the ladies, coached some of them, and assisted Ethan Stiefel in pas de deux coaching.
The two lectures given on our weekend at BAC, one each by Dr. Linda Hamilton Ph.D., and Patrick Rump, were fascinating, and gave the students and visitors food for thought.
John Epperson and Steven Mitchell were our class pianists and both were able to imbue the classes with their super imaginative and rhythmic musical accompaniment, which was gratefully acknowledged to the foundation by the students.