So here’s what you’re going to do for lunch next Tuesday, October 12: you’re going to skip out of work for a bit (it’s for a good cause, it’s at a good place and it’ll be yummy!) and you’re going to come to our Fall Kick-Off Luncheon which is the first in our new Artist Series starring Julianne Kepley, one of the new dancers to join us this season. You’ve seen Julianne before in Michael Pink’s stunning Romeo & Juliet but you probably didn’t know that she’s currently listening to Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back on her iPod or that she’s known Michael and Jayne Pink for over fourteen years (in fact, she still calls their son Max her boyfriend!).
I sat down with Julianne today upstairs in the lounge overlooking Studio A to chat for a bit. Julianne is easygoing and has a sparkly smile—someone you just want to hang out with because she’s so nice. She’s adapting to Milwaukee well and admits that while the rehearsal schedule is more intense than she’d imagined, she’s really enjoying it. Julianne will be dancing the title role in Esmeralda (along with Luz San Miguel) in our season opener at the Marcus Center October 28-31. Julianne has worked with Michael Pink many times, with Atlanta Ballet first, where he set Dracula, Hunchback of Notre Dame (now Esmeralda) and Romeo & Juliet.
“You’ve heard actors say that a particular director is an ‘actor’s director’? Well, Michael is a ‘dancer’s director’. His direction gives you the maximum opportunity to really find the character within yourself. He knows his dancers really well and knows how to deal with each individual person and get the most out of them. I really love that,” she says of Artistic Director Michael Pink.
When asked what she does in her spare time, she admits that she’s tired at the end of the day and is ready for some Project Runway (which she makes her roommate, former Milwaukee Ballet dancer Douglas McCubbin, watch with her), a glass of wine, dinner and a call to Scott (her husband of fourteen years who is the head of Production and Facilities at Stanford University) when she gets home from work. While we were sitting there talking about how she and Scott make things work while living in different states (lots of travel!—they have the first half of the year planned out already with trips back and forth), Douglas came up to ask her about an Esmeralda prop and to tease her a bit. Douglas, now Milwaukee Ballet's Assistant Operations Manager, and Julianne danced together in Romeo & Juliet here when she came to guest with us in 2007 and they got to be good friends. He says, “She’s southern and I’m really southern,” (he’s from Australia) and they both laugh. She confesses she misses that southern heat and is not ready for the cold midwestern winter.
That’s all I’ll tell you now about Julianne—at the Fall Kick-Off Luncheon you’ll find out more and to hear a bit from our Wardrobe Mistress extraordinaire, Mary Belle Potter, as she presents costumes from the shows we’re doing this season! So get your day planner or click onto your Outlook calendar and save Tuesday, October 12 at 11:30am for some nosh with the Ballet at Hotel Metro. Tickets are $50 per person which really isn’t much considering you’ll get to hear Michael and Julianne talk about their work together AND see costumes AND hear from Mary Belle all while celebrating two of Milwaukee’s most gorgeous attractions—the fall and the Ballet.
Click here to register online, or call Molly Canan at (414) 902-2114.
Director of Education