En Face

The Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II dancers to headline at SMPAC!

Classical to Contemporary
Sunday, October 9, 1:30 p.m.
MBII sillyThe 2011-12 Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Company. Need them to take a silly picture? No need to ask twice!

A few days ago, Kelly Knoke, the School Registrar, referred to the MBIIs as “the hardest working young artists in America!!!” and I have to agree. Now everyone knows I am cuckoo for the MBIIs but seriously, these young people have A LOT on their plates – and never more so than this season. On Sunday, the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II dancers will headline their own performance at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center – a mere five weeks after they started their season. We tell them all the time that being in MBII will allow them to test-drive the lifestyle of a professional dancer; with their own show this soon into the season they are making the transition from student to professional in record time.

Classical to Contemporary at the SMPAC will include nine pieces – including two world premieres, Symphony by Rolando Yanes, Director of MBII and Half Empty, an all male piece, by choreographer Victor Ramirez. All of the newer pieces are choreographed by people close to the MBII family – including Ballet Mistress Nadia Thompson and Company dancer Petr Zahradnícek. The show is designed to showcase the range and vitality of these young artists and to show people that ballet isn’t merely tutus and tights, but that it’s fresh and exciting and perhaps not as highbrow and intimidating as it can seem. Rolando and I have been working with SMPAC Artistic Director Chad Piechocki since January to plan this show and we’re lucky to be a part of his initiative to bring more dance to SMPAC. I’m particularly excited that audiences will see Petr’s Lakefront Date – a charming piece set to music by Bach and The Swingle Sisters on the same program as the rarely seen Pas de Quatre. Pas de Quatre was choreographed for four of ballet’s most alluring divas in 1845 during the height of the Romantic Age of ballet. Portraying Marie Taglioni, Lucille Grahn, Fanny Cerrito and Carlotta Grisi, the MBII girls (Chiharu Yamamoto, Emily Reed, Moka Maihara and Lauren Treat) are learning about these historical figures and the art form as it was when dancing en pointe was brand new and people were so riveted by this that they sipped champagne from their used pointe shoes! Ah, if only we treasured ballet as much today…

Our MBII dancers come from all over the world – Australia (Sam Neale), Brazil (Vanessa Caldas-Vierira), China (Mengjun Chen), France (Rémi Lartigue) Japan (Rie Aoki, Moka Maihara, Asami Takahashi, Chiharu Yamamoto)and The Phillippines (Bea Castañeda) and from all over the United States, including here in Wisconsin. This is the first of many opportunities for the MBIIs this year – but come support them and you won’t be disappointed. And don’t worry, the Packer game isn’t on until 7:30 Sunday night! For $10-20 you can get your ballet history and your dose of delightful dancing in early and watch our next generation of dancers in their own show. Click here to buy your tickets, or call the SMPAC box office at (414) 766-5049.

Alyson Chavez
Director of Education