Milwaukee Ballet School and Pre-Professional Programs Provide Training Ground for Young Talented Dancers

Milwaukee Ballet’s six new Company dancers for 2008-09 season include a few familiar faces

MILWAUKEE – July 16, 2008 – Many Milwaukeeans are familiar with Milwaukee Ballet from its performances throughout the year, especially the holiday family favorite The Nutcracker.  Fewer are aware of the other great treasures the Ballet shares with the community, including training for pre-professional dancers through Milwaukee Ballet School and the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program.  Both programs are recognized nationally for preparing students for professional careers in dance.  This year, four of Milwaukee Ballet Company’s six new dancer additions for the upcoming season have graduated from the Milwaukee Ballet II program: Apprentice Artists, Justin Genna, Valerie Harmon, Nicole Teague and Drew Wright.  In addition to these new dancers, Jennifer Provins returns to Milwaukee Ballet as a Leading Artist and Artist Matthew Frain joins the company from Joffrey Ballet.

“We’re excited to have these talented dancers with us for the upcoming season,” said Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink.  “The success of our school and trainee programs filters up to our professional company and contributes to the overall success of Milwaukee Ballet.”

Milwaukee Ballet School
Since its founding in 1975, Milwaukee Ballet School has been noted as one of the premiere dance schools in the Midwest and, as a proven training ground for professional dancers, lists many of its former alumni among the ranks of professional dance companies worldwide.  The School is currently undergoing the process of becoming accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, which will be completed in the fall of 2008.  If accredited, Milwaukee Ballet School will take the title as the only school in the Midwest that has met the high national standards of excellence in dance education.

Summer brings more than 150 national and international ballet students to Milwaukee Ballet School for intensive coursework.  For advanced students, the School offers two summer programs – a six-week Pre-Professional Summer Program and a three-week Intermediate Intensive Summer Program.  An audition is required for admittance into either program.  The summer program culminates with an EMERGENCE showcase July 31 and August 1 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield.

“We’re proud to provide a program that allows the Ballet’s artistic staff help students prepare for professional ballet careers,” said Rolando Yanes, director of Milwaukee Ballet II and Milwaukee Ballet School.  “Our students eventually go on to work with ballet companies across the world, or choose to stay right here in Milwaukee.”

Milwaukee Ballet School offers children and adults of all ages a variety of courses designed to provide a complete education in classical dance. Whether in pursuit of a professional career or simply deriving the joys and physical benefits of a dance class, students are offered a graduated system of study to satisfy any skill level.  Milwaukee Ballet School runs three locations, including a new, state-of-the-art studio scheduled to open at the Sendik’s Towne Centre in Brookfield in September 2008.

Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program
The Milwaukee Ballet II program, established in 1978, aims to nurture and develop dancers’ technical skills and artistry, ultimately preparing them for a professional dance career by bridging the gap between the student and the professional.  Milwaukee Ballet II dancers perform with Milwaukee Ballet Company during the season and also perform in their own showcases throughout the year.  The dancers are also a vital part of the Ballet’s Department of Education, visiting area schools and participating in other community outreach opportunities.  Of the 25 current professional dancers in the Milwaukee Ballet Company, 10 are graduates of the Milwaukee Ballet II program.  Other graduates of the program have gone on to perform in professional companies including Ballet NY, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Louisville Ballet and Ballet Memphis.

Milwaukee Ballet
Founded in 1970, Milwaukee Ballet strives to inspire its audiences to think within and beyond traditional ballet through the presentation of quality performances and the implementation of educational opportunities.  Milwaukee Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet School are recognized among the top companies in the nation.  With an annual operating budget of more than $5 million, Milwaukee Ballet presents more than 40 performances to more than 50,000 people each year.  Its resident company includes 25 professional dancers along with 18 trainees in its Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program and is one of the few dance companies in the country to maintain its own symphony orchestra.  Milwaukee Ballet School, the official school of the Ballet, has an enrollment of nearly 900 students at three locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Ballet’s 2008-09 season kicks off October 23-26, 2008 with Tchaikovsky’s classic fairytale The Sleeping Beauty.  For more information about Milwaukee Ballet, the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program, Milwaukee Ballet School, or to purchase performance tickets, visit www.milwaukeeballet.org.

EMERGENCE Performances – Ticket Information
This year’s EMERGENCE performances will take place on Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, August 1 at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield.  The performances will consist of eight pieces, six ballet pieces ranging from traditional to contemporary, one African dance piece and one jazz dance piece.  Tickets for EMERGENCE are $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 3 – 12 and can be purchased through the Wilson Center box office by calling (262) 781-9520 or by visiting www.wilson-center.com.