Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Orlando Ballet presents Peter and the Wolf.

I've been wanting to sketch an Orlando Ballet rehearsal for quite some time. I finally contacted Robert Hill the company's Artistic Director and he was more than gracious. Joey Lynn, Robert's assistant was supervising the rehearsal when I arrived. She guided me to a spot where I could watch the rehearsal without getting kicked by a dancer. The Ballet Company has recently moved into a new studio space which is right on the water. All of the dance studio plate glass windows face out to a view across the lake. I was in this building, (610 Lake Formosa Drive) just one other time several years ago for a fundraiser raising aid to Haiti.

Families will continue to delight in productions that are specifically created to capture the imagination of the young ones, while engaging the adults. This season, we present Peter and The Wolf, The Swan Princess, The Magical Princess Doll, and of course our popular Family Series version of The Nutcracker. These one-hour productions are designed with young audiences in mind, and promise exquisite story telling through the perfect combination of world-class ballet, opulent sets, and costumes. Mark Your Calendar, this production of Peter and the Wolf will be staged on October 18, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Bob Carr Theatre (401 West Livingston Street Orlando, FL).
This is a classic story of a young boy on his quest to trap a wolf with the help of other animals is brought to life in this one-hour production. The choreography is by Robert Hill. He pointed out to the cast that the movement in this production is very much over the top and exaggerated,  like in a cartoon. I found myself quite entertained by the movements of a duck and bird who interacted playfully. The duck always had her hands behind her back shaking them like the feathers on her tail. The bird had graceful flowing movements on point that made her seem weightless as if in flight. The cat had graceful sinewy movements. I was shocked and disappointed that the duck I had so carefully watched and sketched was devoured by the wolf.

Ballet has a whole language developed over it history to define it's movements. The director might shout out, Pencke', Pencke', Pencke', or Écarté! and cast members knew exactly what pose to take. I need to research these French terms so I can better understated future rehearsals. I was most impressed when the rehearsal ended. All the the dancers gathered around Robert and each thanked him in turn. When I packed up to leave, one dancer, near the exit asked if he could see what I has been sketching. I pulled out the sketchbook and suddenly found myself surrounded by all the dancers. They expressed their amazement and gratitude. It was a rare moment to be surrounded by so much young talent and experience their gratitude. I hope to get to future rehearsals to better understand the rarefied world of ballet. One of the dancers stood in a relaxed pose just like "Little Dancer" a sculpture by Edgar Degas. I sighed, I need to capture that level of grace and power next time I sketch.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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