En Face

Come Together, Right Now!: Assemble, Nov. 13

Assemblé – starring Milwaukee Ballet Academy and the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II
assemblePhoto by Petr Zahradnícek

I’m not sure we’ve ever packed this much ballet into the first ten weeks of our season. If you are an über-balletomane (ballet fanatic) you have the chance to see every level of this ballet machine in action all before The Nutcracker opens. You saw the Company and Milwaukee Ballet II in Esmeralda; you saw the Company dancers “Behind the Curtain”; and if you come to Assemblé on Saturday – you can see a studio performance featuring the Milwaukee Ballet School’s Academy II and the dancers of the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program.

'Assemblé' is a ballet term that means assembled or joined together. According to Gail Grant’s Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet, “an assemblé is a step in which the working foot slides well along the ground before being swept into the air; as the foot goes into the air the dancer pushes off the floor with the supporting leg, extending the toes; both legs come to the ground simultaneously in the fifth position.” You may see an assemblé or two in the show so now you know what to look for. We decided however, to call this first ever studio show, featuring our most advanced students and our Milwaukee Ballet II (MBII) dancers together. Assemblé because we want to start connecting the dots – between Milwaukee Ballet School, Milwaukee Ballet II and the Milwaukee Ballet Company of dancers.

Part of what makes a ballet school associated with a professional company, like Milwaukee Ballet School, so beneficial for the students is having live role models surrounding them as they learn the basics of ballet. Students who come here for class Monday through Friday, get a regular sneak-peak into rehearsal as they crowd around the viewing window above Studio A. Boys see grown men partnering the ladies, doing big jumps and fast turns; little ballerinas see the Sugar Plum Fairy pirouetting right before their eyes. Instant inspiration!

While students can take ballet recreationally here, Milwaukee Ballet School’s Academy gives students the chance to focus on ballet more completely with a schedule that will prepare them to audition for summer programs and get ready for the next step when they graduate – a position in a second company, like our own Milwaukee Ballet II. This is an important part of the learning process for MBIIs as well. They train alongside a range of professionals, ten of whom are MBII graduates themselves (Courtney, Isaac, Justin, Michael, Nicole, Rachel, Raven, Susan and Valerie) and they get to perform with them in our bigger productions. While it’s hard to be in that world in-between student and professional, MBIIs spend a year or two trying on the lifestyle of a professional dancer – long days of rehearsal, fierce competition and invaluable performance opportunities that will hone their artistry once they’ve begun to attain a mastery of their craft.

The Academy and Milwaukee Ballet II are two of the strongest components of our nationally accredited school and they are an integral part of Milwaukee Ballet as a whole. From Petipa to Paquita, original choreography from one of our own MBIIs, Thom Dancy, and from School and MBII Director Rolando Yanes, to a group of 14 charming clowns – there is a lot to enjoy in Assemblé from an impressive assemblage of young dancers.

Saturday, November 13, 2010, 4:00 p.m., $10 at the door, Jodi Peck Center, Studio A.
Seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early!

Alyson Chavez
Director of Education