Sunday, February 9, 2003

Ballet school opens at NKU

By Carol Norris

Although a Labor Day opening was promised, reality and minutiae got in the way. The latest Otto M. Budig Academy extension - Cincinnati Ballet's school - officially opened Jan. 24 at Northern Kentucky University.

Cincinnati Ballet executive director Alan Hills says the delay was due to the length of time it took to finalize legal work.

They've readied two state-of-the art studios to include audio/visual equipment, pianos, changing rooms, waiting area, office and sprung floors (built in-house by the ballet's technical staff).

Gail Wells, NKU's dean of arts and sciences, believes the partnership with Cincinnati Ballet "... offers NKU a wonderful opportunity to strengthen and expand our service to the region."

In addition to offering dance classes for students from children through adults, they hope to "...develop a dance program which will enable (students) to experience a seamless transition to college dance classes," Wells says.

Future plans include offering Cincinnati Ballet's dancers an opportunity to work on degrees at NKU. A practical benefit of the collaboration will be expanding audience for the ballet's productions.

The ballet has other studios in Blue Ash and on Central Parkway.

With current enrollment at 300, Simmons hopes to "...double the size of the academy within five years." With the company's plans to expand the Central Parkway location in June, NKU studios will handle this year's summer session classes with out-of-town students using NKU dorms.

Classes offered initially include adult beginning ballet, creative dance for kids, Pilates and a level IV ballet class for advanced adults; $12 a class with three-month flex cards available at $100/10 classes, $60/6 classes. 621-5219.

Catching up: The question continues to come up: "How are the Russians doing?" That would be Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev, former principals with Cincinnati Ballet who, in a four-year stint there, became favorites of many fans. Cincinnati is still home, but they travel in order to dance.

"We're principal guest artists with the Northern Ballet Theatre (Great Britain) and Tulsa Ballet for the winter/spring season," Kremnev says. They will dance Wuthering Heights at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London in March, and Swan Lake (February) and two world premieres (April) for Tulsa.

Tulsa's artistic director Marcello Angelini is half of another former Cincinnati Ballet principal couple. He and wife Daniela Buson danced here in the early '90s.

One of the Tulsa premieres has been choreographed by Val Caniparoli, responsible for a number of ballets locally, including the latest Nutcracker.

"Val has created an amazingly funny pas de deux for us - it's part of his new production Rooster," Kremnev says.

So when can locals see them? Keep Aug. 9 open. That's when ballet tech ohio and the Russian couple plan a second dance gala.

Dance on DVD: Dancetime! 500 Years of Social Dance has been available on video for some time, but now Carol Teten and her Dancetime Publications have made it available on DVD.

It's wonderful information in a two-volume format - albeit somewhat cursory considering you can get from the 15th century to the 20th in 90 minutes. But if you're a student of Western culture and social dance in particular you'll get plenty of information.

One of the best features is that you can view dance only, text only or consider both together - which is helpful if you're trying to reconstruct a galliard from the 16th century or the Castle Walk from 1910.

Not everything is there - you can learn the minuet from the Baroque period but not a Spanish jota. It's a swift ride from the '60s twist to '90s country western, with a variety of trends omitted.

It is available from Dancetime Publications, 5 Broadway, Kentfield, CA 94904;, (888) 854-5602. $44.95 per volume.


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