Young dancers in central Indiana can study with ballet greats by taking part in the Indianapolis City Ballet's Master Class Series. The 2012-2013 series, ICB's fourth season, is sponsored by philanthropists Jock and Penny Fortune and takes its first leap Sept. 9, 2012.
"Every professional dancer begins with a high level of instruction, and this is a wonderful chance for ballet dancers to gain some additional knowledge and experience working with some of the best there are," said Indianapolis City Ballet Executive Director Kevin Hesse. "Our guest teachers include principal dancers, leading school directors and other renowned faculty, making the Indianapolis City Ballet's Master Class Series one of the best investments of time and resources an aspiring dancer can make."
The classes, aimed at intermediate and advanced dancers, offer a 90-minute ballet technique class followed by a question-and-answer session. To ensure each dancer gets the proper attention, enrollment is limited to about 30 per class, and refreshments are provided for proper energy and hydration.
"Master Class Director Jolinda Menendez has built a diverse roster of distinguished artists and teachers who can give serious dance students the kind of instruction and inspiration they crave," Hesse said.
Back on the teaching roster again this year are:
Darci Kistler – the last of Balanchine's Ballerinas, a renowned former Principal with the New York City Ballet (NYCB) and faculty member of the School of American Ballet.
George De La Pena – a distinguished stage and film actor, a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and chairman of Iowa University Dance Department, he played the title role in Herbert Ross' film Nijinski. We will be teaching a special double class with a shortened technique class, followed by an acting class for dancers that has gained international renown for its ability to better connect dancers to roles, even in abstract ballets.
Tadeusz Matacz – Artistic Director of the renowned John Crank School at Stuttgart Ballet, his position in the Master Series is thanks to an ongoing partnership with the Youth America Grand Prix.
Franco De Vita – Principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet and one of the founders of the American Ballet Theatre Curriculum, a teacher training program now used worldwide. This will be his fourth year at ICB's Master Class series.
New this year:
John Meehan – Professor of Dance and Director of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre at Vassar College and formerly Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Ballet. As a gifted dancer, he was known widely for dancing with Margot Fonteyn and Merrill Ashley; as a teacher, he developed and directed the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) school and Second Company. He was the inaugural director of the ICB's Evening with the Stars.
Wendy Whelan – appearing at the September 8 Evening with the Stars performance is a Principal Dancer at NYCB, she is of the next generation who joined after Balanchine's death but whose influence still infused the company firsthand. Her special link to Indianapolis City Ballet is the presence of two extraordinary contemporary Pas de deux on the EWTS program – performed by Yuan Yuan Tan and Daman Smith from the San Francisco Ballet but originally created on Whelan – "After the Rain" by Christopher Wheeldon and "Distant Cries" by Edwaard Liang.
Daniel Ulbricht – an NYCB Principal whose credentials include a faculty position at the Rock School in Philadelphia and Directorship of the Manhattan Youth Ballet. As a dancer, he wowed audiences at last year's Evening With the Stars bya solo Piazzolla Tango and a rousing TarantellaPas de deux with NYCB Principal Tiler Peck.
A double class with 2012 Evening with the Stars performers and American Ballet Theatre Principals (and glamorous married couple) Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky sharing teaching duties and what promises to be a lively question-and answer-session.
Clinton Luckett – Ballet Master with American Ballet Theatre.
Alexei Kremnev – Artistic Director of the Joffrey Academy.
Patrick Armand– runs the Trainee Program at the San Francisco Ballet, a development/transition path for emerging professionals.