Daily Update 

6/24/2020

Ballet Chicago Summer Intensives - A Brief History

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

As we move into our first ever virtual summer intensive, we thought it would be nice to offer some perspective on how our summer courses began. 

In 1995, the very first year of our School, we had already determined that we should offer a full summer course like those Ms. Blair and I had grown up with during our formative dancing years. There were numerous reasons to move forward with this idea:

  •  Many of our annual course dancers wanted to continue their studio experience with us - the school was still brand new and there was high excitement about being in on the ground floor of this new venture.

  • We wanted very much for our school to stand up in the national picture of major ballet schools, all of whom offered summer courses.

  • Mounting a national audition tour, beginning in early 1997, gave us the opportunity to be physically present in many places around the country and to develop connections from coast to coast.

  • It would offer the opportunity for students around the nation to experience our teaching first-hand. Implicit in this was our decision to conduct our audition classes as samples of our teaching, rather than just assessing students’ capabilities. We discovered that our way of teaching was our very best ambassador!

As a side note, we encouraged those of our students who wished to attend other summer courses to do so. This helped validate them in other places, broadened their experience, and gave them new perspective on their work at Ballet Chicago. 

Our first five-week summer course was a success, and still our students did not want to stop taking classes! We accommodated them initially by conducting extra classes after our five-week summer course for a year or two, and in due course we formalized those classes into our two-week Advanced Intensive. Back then in the late 90’s, there were very few such courses in August, and we found our Advanced Intensive to be in high demand from the start. With its focus on the learning of Balanchine repertory, it eventually evolved into what is now our Advanced Repertory Workshop.

As we moved studios from our initial three at 185 N. Wabash Ave. (1995 -2001), to four (at 218 S. Wabash 2001- 2009), and finally to our current five at 17 N. State St. (2009 -present), our summer courses have grown right along those moves, reaching capacity in recent years.

Our initial end-of-course studio showings grew into showcase performances in theaters, providing high excitement and a culminating goal to each course. And our summer courses have also grown in number to include our Junior Intensives and Superhero Camps. 

Now we are in a very different way of operating, learning as we go, and exploring every virtue we can discover in our new “virtual” world!

In another Daily Update we will tell you about the wonderful summer partnerships we have developed with other dance organizations.

As we go dancing on…

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

P.S. We have made some slight adjustments to our Virtual Class Plan (click this link and refresh the page to guarantee that you are looking at the most up to date schedule) so that classes that relate to all levels are more apparent. Please make sure that you see the Seminar, Yoga and Meet the Artist sections. We have a Yoga class at 5:15PM today and hope to see you there!

 

Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

6/23/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We are so pleased to see so many beautiful and gifted dancers in our Summer Intensive!

As we complete day two, we have had wonderful feedback from teachers about the inspiring effort that our students are already giving, and from parents about the care and attention evident in the classes.  We are looking forward to our ongoing work as we experience Ballet Chicago’s virtual summer training programs together.

And now, some important information. Wednesday afternoon’s seminar will be focusing on mind wellness. We feel that it is important for our students to have the chance to talk about their concerns with someone who can help them keep their positive attitude and their focus during this unusual time. Dr. Jessica Strang will be leading the seminar, and it will be open to all students. You can check out her website HERE. Dr. Strang has also provided us with some wonderful resources that you may access HERE or they can be found on the parent portal as well. 

And, if you missed the “Live from Lincoln Center” stream last night of excerpts from New York City Ballet’s 2004 season commemorating the 100th year of George Balanchine’s birth, you can access the program on YouTube’s Lincoln Center channel. The extraordinary dancing defines the artistic goals of Ballet Chicago’s training - the technical excellence, the stylistic variety, the interpretive freedom, and the choreographic invention of Mr. Balanchine.

We will see you all tomorrow - until then, stay strong and stay safe!

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

 

 

6/22/2020

“Welcome to Virtual Summer Intensive” -

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

After a successful summer warm-up last week for dancers and teachers alike with our Boot Camp, here we are in day one of our five-week Summer Intensive. 

We welcome many new faces to the course as well as many of our “regulars”. It is wonderful to see how dancers and their families are adapting to virtual training - everyone is getting used to the technology of Zoom at this point. Dancers are learning how to place their cameras and themselves for best viewing, and teachers are able to apply personal one-on-one and group correction with consistency very close to onsite live teaching.

We are turning space limitations into an opportunity to focus more intensively on placement, alignment, and articulation of feet, arms, hands, and heads in movement. Stamina-building is addressed by adding extra repetitions to combinations, and by gradually increasing speeds with those repetitions. 

Existing choreography, normally taught in a full classroom space, will be taught in brief excerpts adjusted to home spaces, with focus on stylistic context, musicality, and personal experiences of the teacher added into the experience. 

New choreography is already being made around how individual images can be combined to create “group” patterns that appear on-screen rather than onstage or in a classroom. You will see some shortly by our Resident Choreographer Ted Seymour.

And our reach for guest artist participation has broadened - the line-up for our “Meet the Artist” series includes two New York City Ballet current principal ballerinas, Simone Messmer (currently with the German company Ballet am Rhein), and two of our alumnae who have gone on to stellar careers at Ballet Memphis and Carolina Ballet.

We realize that some participants are running into technology glitches... typical ones include difficulty logging into a Zoom meeting (we recommend logging in 10-15 minutes before class), getting bumped off a Zoom meeting (that’s ok - just jump back on), or in some cases equipment may not deliver sufficient sound (Mr. Duell recently had to upgrade to another laptop because the small one he had been using just could not sustain the duration of a Zoom meeting, and its microphone was just too weak. Web-cams with a good speaker may be a less expensive solution). High-volume Internet use contributes to these problems, and Internet upgrades may be required to resolve the issue from home to home (not so easy at a time when so many are financially challenged, but most providers are giving free upgrades - if asked to do so).

Through our love of this beautiful art form, we collectively are learning how to surmount every challenge to pursuing it!

 As we go dancing on…

 

Mr. Duell and Mrs. Blair

 

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

 

 

 

6/1/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Students and Parents,

Our intention in today’s update was to provide all the new summer programming information to you, and that is still the case. But in light of the events of the past week, we wanted to reach out to tell you all that we love you and hope you are safe.  Ballet Chicago has always been a place where everyone is welcome, everyone is valued, and everyone is treated equally.  We are deeply saddened by the pain in our city and our country, and we pray for peace and meaningful change.

And now, about our summer…

Ballet Chicago is going virtual for our summer programming!  We have put together a new plan with new pricing – we think you’re going to really like the offerings we have for you.  The health and safety of our students and families is our highest priority, and with all that is going on in our country, we know this is the right thing to do.  

We have re-thought and revamped everything, from our normal curriculum to bold new features. 

Our current world is changing before our eyes, and we are fully committed to embracing this new way of interacting, focusing on the empowerment of every individual in our fold. This is our opportunity to come together in collaboration, determination, and inspiration to co-create our new normal.

Our all-virtual summer course will bear the hallmarks of every Ballet Chicago training program, a truly intensive, multi-dimensional, activity-packed course that will challenge you, educate you, and leave you feeling enriched and inspired. Yes it’s on Zoom, but we’ve gotten really good at it, and you’ll be popping sweat before you know it.  So get ready to work hard and reach new heights.

Here is what we have for you:

Young Children’s Programming
- Children’s Theme Camps – five 1-week sessions, each with a different theme: June 15 – July 25, 2020
- Junior Intensive June 15 – July 26, 2020


Intermediate and Advanced Dancers
- Ballet Chicago Boot Camp: June 15 – June 19, 2020
- Summer Intensive: June 22 – July 26, 2020
- Advanced Intensive: July 27 – August 7, 2020

For those who wish to attend our Virtual Summer Programming, please click REGISTER HERE to transfer your registration.

For those who choose to withdraw, please click WITHDRAW HERE to process your withdrawal. Please submit your refund request by June 10, 2020.  Refunds will be processed within 2 weeks, however it may take up to 30 days.

Should you choose to withdraw, we hope you will consider making a donation to Ballet Chicago. Contributions are always a critical part of economic health for all not-for-profits, and that is even truer during this extraordinary and challenging time. It’s all about our kids - all contributions go to support them, any amount is greatly appreciated, and every contribution helps!  

Although we are sad that we are not able to be together in person, we take solace in knowing that we are doing the right things to protect the safety and health of our students, our families and our community.  

We hope to see you in our Zoom Studios and are excited to see what new experiences may emerge from our Virtual Summer Programming. 

Until then, stay safe and healthy…

As we go dancing on,

 

Ms. Blair  and Mr. Duell

5/29/2020


 “Partnership in Performance”


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Today’s update will focus on some special performance partnerships in the Ballet Chicago Studio Company’s history: our four-year association with the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, a four-year association with the great mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer and her benefit concerts, and a very special week at the Harris Theater back in 2003.

In 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, we collaborated with conductors Donald Chen (2000-2002) and Daniel Boico (2003) each spring to present live music and dance performances at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts (NSCPA), sharing the stage with Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra. We all felt this was a great way to accomplish several goals: to capture both music and dance audiences, to add performing experience for our Studio Company, and to have artists and audiences share the special thrill of having live dance to live music. Our programming ranged from small works like Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie and my Stravinsky work Octet A Tete, to the lush first movement of Serenade and the full Concerto Barocco. The biggest challenge was adapting the ballets to fit into about half the normal space of a full stage, as the orchestra occupied the other (upstage) half (there is no orchestra pit at the NSCPA).  But adapt we did, and for four years our beautiful dancers gained some more performance experience to live music. The association ended when orchestra availability and our own dates could not always mesh, but it remains a significant part of the BCSC’s performing history.

Another four-year partnership developed from Susanne Mentzer’s request for our participation in a multi-organization concert to help raise money for St. Bonaventura House, which compassionately serves people afflicted with AIDS and other diseases. I believe those years were 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.  For those concerts, which took place on the Harris Theater stage, our Studio Company members danced excerpts from Concerto Barocco, and my “Angel Scene” from Hansel and Gretel. This was not only a good performance experience for our dancers, but a way to broaden our audiences, and most of all, to join other performing arts organizations to serve a good cause.

 “A very special week” - In November 2003, in the week following the historic November 8 opening of the theater, it was BCSC members who took the stage at the request of the Harris Theater to demonstrate to invited audiences the wonderful experience of watching dance in the brand new venue. There our beautiful dancers performed the entire Snow Scene from our Nutcracker, excerpts from Serenade, and excerpts from Concerto Barocco, once again serving an important cause while gaining valuable performing experience. This was most fitting for us to do as a founding member of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. 

There is more wonderful performance history by our wonderful Ballet Chicago Studio Company to come in future updates!

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 Technique with Ms. Vonder Haar and Jeremy Harris (Recorded)
- Pointe Barre with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Logan Hutt’s Cardio Barre (Recorded)
- Megan Wright’s Floor Barre (Recorded)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Seymour/Smith)
- BCSC Zoom Technique (Seymour/Mannos)
- Student Division 5pm Zoom “Story-Time”Meeting 

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers and your amazing parents…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5TWO0W-kXs&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIgfMeBKwXs&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=0s

 

Bravo Boys!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/28/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,
 

 “It will be a virtual summer” ~ 

After holding out for as long as possible to conduct onsite summer programming, and after seeing the most recent guidelines for Chicago’s reopening phases, we have come to the decision to go all virtual for our summer courses. 

The driving reason is of course, the safety of all participants - students, parents, teachers, pianists, and staff. The risk factors for contracting Covid-19 are simply still too prevalent, and your health and well-being come first! 

But not to worry - the “virtual format” brings opportunities to be creative and have some fun connecting with you and teaching you in new ways!  You will receive all the information – schedule, pricing and new features this weekend.

Our all-virtual summer course will bear the hallmarks of every Ballet Chicago summer course, a truly intensive, multi-dimensional, activity-packed course that will challenge you, educate you, and leave you feeling enriched and inspired. 

We have re-thought and revamped everything, from our normal curriculum to bold new features. Our current world is changing before our eyes, and we are fully committed to embracing this new way of interacting, focusing on the empowerment of every individual in our fold. This is our opportunity to come together in collaboration, determination, and inspiration to co-create our new normal.

Our regular faculty will be deeply involved, and we will also add in guest luminaries to be announced soon - it’s going to be an exciting mix! We realize you are all working around limited spaces, but we are devising new solutions to maximize your experience. We must all decide together to make the best of this period of time until we come out the other side.

And mark my words, we will! An American poet once wrote, “Space is as nothing to spirit...” In light of our current pandemic, I now say, “Coronavirus is as nothing to the human spirit.” 

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Creative Movement Story-Time Ballet Zoom Class from 10:15-10:45am  (Hurst)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class from 4:00 – 5:00pm (Hurst/Kunkler)
- Pilates with Logan Hutt (Recorded)
- Advanced Ballet (Recorded)
- BCSC Zoom Meeting (5:00-5:30)
- BCSC Zoom Stretch Class (5:30 – 6:30) – 4B and 5B students are welcome to join!

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers and your amazing parents…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHGf9tQDFvo&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Advanced Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Gr6qzJEjjzK9yyWsRJTPU5

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/27/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

“Porch Ponderings”

Sitting in the beauty of our porch garden, breezes flowing and sunny skies a-blue, the teeming life of our flowers and other plants brings a welcome peaceful feeling amid the busy-ness of our (temporary) new normal. Flowers are so patient in their short but lovely lives...with just soil, sun, and water to feed them, they simply but miraculously grow, exuding both unique and collective beauty.

But they also inspire – Ms. Blair loves to read in the peace of the garden, and I love to play flute there, to Ms. Blair, the plants, and to anyone else who may happen to be listening (like our neighbors across the alley with their adorable 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. All four of them dance together to the flute tones)! 

Speaking of being inspired, our dancing students too are like flowers, each with individual beauty, and in working together, also expressing the beauty of community. Every ballet is like an arrangement of flowers, with the dancers adding the human element of moving and flowing together in whatever ways the choreography asks.

As we await the return of our former normal (although almost certainly altered in ways), we are also grateful for the technology that permits us to continue “watering our garden” of dancers, our poets of movement.

So let us be like our flowers...be patient and continue to grow, young artists!

And now for today’s rollouts:


- Wednesday Yoga with Maggie Vannucci (Recorded)
- Bravo Boys Zoom Class (Seymour/Kunkler)
- Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 Zoom Class (Blair/Cross)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Pointe Barre (Hurst/Harris)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Seymour/Mannos)

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Beginner Ballet (Levels 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeOE5LvvDWU&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoK1YZrcC7M&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/26/2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you all had a good weekend and were able to spend some peaceful time together.  We were quite busy as we put our annual porch garden together. In our Student Division Meeting on Friday, we showed the students many of the almost 40 plants we put inside our apartment in the winter – we have 6 different kinds of ivy, as well as spider plants, ferns, palms, geraniums, lilies, cactus plants, prayer plants, aloe, ornamental oregano, and ficus and hibiscus trees! Come spring, we move most of them outside, add flowers and voilå – our outdoor sanctuary emerges.  It is where we spend most of our time throughout the summer into the fall. It is a place of such peace and tranquility. We plant the deck on our level as well as ½ a landing down, so we are truly surrounded by flora of all kinds. 

 

And now for today’s rollouts:
- Intermediate 1 with Ms. Vonder Haar and Greg Smith (Recorded) 
- 3A and 3B Pre-Pointe Zoom Class at 4:00pm (VanEekeren/Smith)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class at 3:45pm (Wright/Mannos)
- BCSC Zoom Class at 3:45pm (Duell/Harris)

And today’s Step of the Week is Piqué Arabesque. This was filmed several years ago in pointe class, but gives the exact proper use of pas de cheval before piqué and how to step out into an instant arabesque. Getting this one in your body is a gift to yourself and will make all of your dancing clean and articulate. Repetition is the key. In class we do this down the entire length of the barre.  

In order to practice in your current space, just replace the sous-sus with a pas de bourrée en tournent so that you keep alternating sides - one to the right, one to the left, one to the right, one to the left, etc, etc, etc…As Mr. Duell says all the time, “give yourself the gift of many attempts”.  

Our hugs and love to you all – stay strong, stay healthy, and remember to social distance - still…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Intermediate 1 (Levels 3A & 3B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CwslXCpEvU&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Step of the Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcJV533NgMo&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/22/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago families,

What a splendid Gala event we had last night! We had a huge number of participants - nearly 300 - a record by far!

The way we were brought together ‘at a distance’ was an incredibly heartening and endearing experience. Words can hardly express how much you all mean to us as we continue to participate together in this beautiful endeavor we all know as Ballet Chicago.

It was teamwork from top to bottom, and involved every member of our organization, staff, faculty, pianists, board, parents, and students.

We had alumni galore, donors old and new, families from past and present, and the precious presence of our current dancers.

We give colossal kudos to our team of planners, starting with glowing praise for Megan Sindelar, Margaret Najarian and Ross Lindhout who truly gave their all in so many ways organizing and running this event, and continuing with our gang-buster gala committee Diana Kantner, Jessica Strang, Jennifer VanEekeren, Ted Seymour, Genevieve Custer Weeks, Leslie Stoughton, and Josh Hunt. 

Very special mention goes to technological whiz lady Margaret Najarian, who not only guided us seamlessly through our first-time virtual event with extraordinary skill, but also moved us to tears with her compellingly filmed and ingeniously assembled video of our beloved dancers and faculty at work in our studios and at home. The footage was all hers, quietly acquired day by day in the early phases of our rehearsal process, and then cohered into a beautiful testament to the inspired work that was leading up to our planned “HeartStrings” Harris Theater performances.

As Ms. Blair and I sat and watched our dancer testimonials unfold, we felt our hearts surge with pride and affection over and over, and happy tears flowed. You are all so beautiful to us, and the big “why” behind what we do!

Video testimonials from our school parents were also inspiring and moving - the spirit in them can hardly be captured in words, and we are so grateful to them.

The array of silent auction items was amazing in quantity, quality, and variety. The generosity of all who kindly provided their donated services, events, and items to help support us is most deeply appreciated. 

The paddle-raise portion of the show was high-spirited and hilarious, thanks to the rip-roaring repartee between former BC board president Chris Behnke and our ace event caller “G-man” Greg Dellinger. Chris Behnke’s boldly bodacious birthday hat kicked off the proceedings with delightful flair, 

Carefully crafted video testimonies from Nicole Cornell of the George Balanchine Trust and Mark Kelly, Chicago’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, provided heartening support from the seat of Balanchine’s legacy and the seat of Chicago’s cultural scene, resources contacted and gathered in by our beloved Ms. Blair.

All in all, what a wonderful way to turn 25! What a great start to the next 25!

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Pointe Barre with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Logan Hutt’s Cardio Barre (Recorded)
- Megan Wright’s Floor Barre (Recorded)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Seymour/Smith)
- BCSC Zoom Technique (Seymour/Mannos)
- Student Division 5pm Zoom Meeting 

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wQhiEKvv_E&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=0s

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTCcYeK5PD8&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Bravo Boys: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

 

Floor Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWCI3it0mLI&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GpyKvHGFbl3V9tmmfCy644&index=3&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/21/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

It’s finally here, May 21, the day we commemorate the opening of the School of Ballet Chicago with our Stay-At-Home Sterling Gala Celebration! 

Twenty-five years – it’s hard to believe until we think about the thousands of dancers who have come through our doors. Today, those former students are dancers and doctors and lawyers and scientists, judges, entrepreneurs and teachers, costumers, environmentalists, priestesses and pastors, and now many are mothers and fathers.  They live in countries all over the world – New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and of course the good ole USA.

We will never forget the day we decided to open the school. It was back in 1994 – we were then rehearsing out of the Fine Arts Building, and were choreographing our first full length ballet, the original Hansel and Gretel.  We auditioned students from across Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and ended up with 20 young dancers between the ages of 8 and 11.  They traveled to the Fine Arts building every Saturday and Sunday for several months.  We would do class and then rehearse for 4 hours.  By the time the performances came that spring, the parents were begging us to open a school. Two in particular were relentless, Georgia and Denis O’Brien  (parents of Carolina Ballet principal dancer Lara O’Brien and now mother, and owner of two North Carolina Tutu Schools,  and Kathy & Mark Niekrasz (parents of Julie Niekrasz, Ballet Memphis principal ballerina and now teacher, coach and choreographer in that same company). 

Fast forward two months to early summer, when we were approached by Larry Selander, a dear friend and advisor to Christine Du Boulay Ellis and Richard Ellis. The Ellises were former Sadler’s Wells dancers and venerable teachers, widely known and respected, who had run their own studio, the Ellis-Du Boulay School of Ballet, in Chicago for 40 years. One of their studio locations is exactly where ours is now, at 17 N. State Street! The Ellises were looking to retire and wanted someone to take over their school.  Having seen many of our performances, they came to us and offered to pass on their students and their artistic home to us.  After many meetings where we got to know each other better and make sure it was a good fit, we all agreed and put the plans in place.  

Located at 185 North Wabash, we inherited their sun-drenched top floor (23rd to be exact) home – we have always loved sun-drenched studios!  The School of Ballet Chicago officially opened on January 2, 1995, with just one studio and a total enrollment of around forty students. In less than a year, we launched our first foster children’s program providing in-studio training, and began outreach programs with Cabrini Green, the Washington Park District and the Chicago Cultural Center.  Having already forged our first set of curriculum and policies, we quickly grew to three studios, and to over a hundred students - we built those new studios ourselves with help from parents.  Then, by fall of 1996, we began choreographing our very first “Nutcracker”, which today holds a cherished place in Chicago’s holiday traditions. And another story to be told in more detail in future updates, is how in the fall of 1997, we launched our beloved Ballet Chicago Studio Company.  As they say, the rest is history!

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Creative Movement Story-Time Ballet Zoom Class from 10:15-10:45am  (Hurst)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class from 4:00 – 5:00pm (Hurst/Kunkler)
- Pilates with Logan Hutt (Recorded)
- Advanced Ballet (Recorded)
- BCSC Zoom Meeting (5:00-5:30)
- Stay-At-Home Sterling Gala Celebration at 7pm

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers and your amazing parents…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

P.S. - If you were unable to RSVP for our Sterling Celebration Gala, you can watch on YouTube Livestream HERE. Program starts at 7:00 PM CT. 

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAo8MHRTZS8&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Advanced BCSC class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Gr6qzJEjjzK9yyWsRJTPU5

 

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

 

5/20/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you got to tune in to New York City Ballet‘s performance of Diamonds last night. If you didn’t, please do so tonight because it is such a beautiful ballet. Mr. Balanchine choreographed Diamonds as the final section of his three-part ballet Jewels. Initially inspired by a visit to the famed jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels on Fifth Avenue in New York City, Jewels was the first plotless full-length ballet ever choreographed. 

Premiered at the New York State Theater on April 13, 1967 with Suzanne Farrell and Jacques d’Amboise in the lead, Diamonds is a tribute to the regality of Mr. Balanchine’s Russian heritage. This performance, filmed on September 19, 2019 is headed up by Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen.  It is beautifully danced, and you undoubtedly will appreciate the technical virtuosity and the daring in their performance. 

The cast of 34 dancers is exquisitely dressed in Karinska’s original costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s beautiful symphonic score combined with Mr. B’s sublime and energetic choreography, transport us to a world of grandeur and majesty in the most traditional sense. So please, give yourselves a treat, go to NYCBallet.com and enjoy this performance.

Now back in our neck of the woods, we have one day to go until our 25th Anniversary At-Home Sterling Gala Celebration!  We are quite excited for the evening and do so hope you will join us. We have a wonderful event planned for you, with heartfelt messages and some fun footage from in-studio rehearsals as well as snippets from our Zoom classes and student meetings. We think you’ll enjoy seeing all of it. This link will take you where you need to go: https://balletchicagogala.app.rsvpify.com.  And remember, registration expires at 12 noon on Thursday May 21st.   

BC kids, you are welcome to attend as well!

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Wednesday Yoga with Maggie Vannucci (Recorded)
- Bravo Boys Zoom Class (Seymour/Kunkler)
- Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 Zoom Class (Blair/Cross)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Pointe Barre (Hurst/Harris)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Seymour/Mannos)

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell


PS – Silent Auction Preview – Wear Moi… 

We are really excited about our partnership with Wear Moi! 

We had several meetings with Wear Moi founders Christophe and Elisabeth Ridet, looking at all the lovely leotards from their beautiful collection. We selected the one we wanted for the new Fall 2020 Ballet Chicago official uniform! Their designs are classic, and the fabrics so soft and comfortable.  We are grateful to Wear Moi for donating a full set of dancewear for our At-Home Gala Silent Auction, one full set for a dancer in each level of our school with a leotard, skirt and a pair of tights for the girls. We selected the leotard “Faustine” in 8 different colors, 1 color per level, for our Pre-Ballet, Intro to Ballet, and Student Division dancers. As always, our Creative Movement dancers do not have a uniform, but our friends at Wear Moi put together a sweet little package for them. The Ballet Chicago Studio Company ladies will wear the “Balkala” skirted leotards for rehearsals and studio showings. Our male contingent also has a package available.

We know our dancers are going to love wearing their new Ballet Chicago uniforms.

 

Beginner Ballet (Levels 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2y3wh5OZA4&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3LELQ9MUsY&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/19/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We had a really fun rehearsal yesterday for our Thursday Gala. Chris Behnke and the “G-Man”, in acting out the paddle raise, exchanged a repartee not to be missed! We hope you will all join us.

Today we woke very early as is our norm, usually around 6am, we take our vitamins – Elderberry , C, D, and probiotics, work for 4-5 hours in the comfort of our room, then take a short respite, and then start the long part of our day with many calls, many meetings, and classes – the classes are the heart part for us, but the other tasks are critically important. Even though teaching and connecting with our students is joy, securing BC and its future, is a mission we are embracing with fervent dedication. We will all make it through this, and BC will too – we are blessed to have such strong support from our families, our board of directors, and our donors.  

In light of all the rain we’ve had, and it has been a lot, we wanted to offer up a little poem.  

'Rainy Nights' by Irene Thompson

I like the town on rainy nights
When everything is wet –
When all the town has magic lights
And streets of shining jet!

When all the rain about the town
Is like a looking-glass,
And all the lights are upside-down
Below me as I pass.


And now for today’s rollouts:

- Intermediate 1 with Ms. Vonder Haar and Greg Smith (Recorded) 
- 3A and 3B Pre-Pointe Zoom Class (VanEekeren/Smith)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Wright/Mannos)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Duell/Harris)

And today’s Step of the Week is Entrechat Quatre.  Make sure you are on a rug or mat when practicing this step to cushion the floor underneath you.  In the absence of our sprung studio floors, one must take care when practicing jumps.

Our hugs and love to you all – stay strong, stay healthy…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

PS – Silent Auction Preview – Coco + Peach Custom Jewelry by Jessica Strang – inspired by the magic of Chicago and the pursuit of fun, our modern treasures will keep you looking forever young.

Earrings – Beautifully designed with an intricately carved design, 1.5 inch in diameter, rhodium plated brass disc, and a lever back.

  

 


Cufflinks - Inspired by the iconic Chicago flag and Jessica’s husband, the Andrew cufflinks are the perfect way to wear your city pride on your sleeve. They are rhodium plated and designed as a mini Chicago flag.

 

 

 

 

 

Intermediate 1 (Levels 3A & 3B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vnlxS21e14&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Step of the Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0EytP94Bk4&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

Gala RSVP (closing on Thursday, May 21 at 12:00 pm CDT): https://balletchicagogala.app.rsvpify.com

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/18/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you had a good weekend and that you didn’t experience flooding from the massive amount of rain. Our home is fine, but our boulevard has a small lake in the middle of it! Messy for us, but our dear Gabe does love to jump in puddles, and small lakes! Gotta love those water dogs :)

Yesterday we wrote a press release for our At-Home Gala. Here’s what will be coming out today, published by Candace Jordan in the Chicago Tribune. It captures the magic of our full Gala Program in a most exciting way. Thank you, Jessica Strang, for your help in making this happen!

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:   Megan Sindelar, Ballet Chicago

Phone:     312-543-5194

Email:      msindelar@balletchicago.org

 

Ballet Chicago announces “Sterling Celebration At-Home Gala”

 

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the School of Ballet Chicago, the Sterling Celebration At-Home Gala, to be held virtually on May 21st, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. CDT, will honor the artistic excellence of Ballet Chicago and launch the next 25 years!

 

Unique in the region, the School of Ballet Chicago affords its students a high-level training program with culmination in performance of masterworks by George Balanchine, and other choreographers including Ballet Chicago Resident Choreographer Ted Seymour and Artistic Director Daniel Duell. Performance venues include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the historic Athenaeum Theatre, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

 

 “Where artistic excellence and content of character forge the next generation…” these words capture the essence of Ballet Chicago’s mission to develop the artists of tomorrow through the study of today’s classical ballet as defined by George Balanchine, the 20th century’s greatest and most celebrated choreographer. 

 

The Sterling Celebration At-Home Gala will feature live music by Ballet Chicago’s own Maestro of Melodies John Mannos, our original At-home Serenade video conceived and produced by BCSC dancer Dana Coons and her peers; remarks by Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Mark Kelly, and Nicole Cornell from the George Balanchine Trust.  Presenters include Artistic Director Daniel Duell and Associate Director Patricia Blair, Ballet Chicago staff and community.  The event features a silent auction (12 noon on 5/19/20 – 12 midnight on 5/21/20) and a live paddle raise by the auctioneer extraordinaire Greg “G Man” Dellinger on May 21st at 7:45pm.  All proceeds benefit Ballet Chicago’s scholarship programs:  The Philip and Marsha Dowd Merit Scholarship Fund and Dance for Tomorrow serving inner-city students, children in foster care, and those in financial need.

 

Join in commemorating Ballet Chicago’s 25-year milestone! 

RSVP by following this link: https://balletchicagogala.app.rsvpify.com/

Special thanks to our annual sponsors including Wintrust Community Bank, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., American Girl, IAC, DCASE, McNally Capital, Tutu School Chicago, Designs by Rosa, Neurosport Chicago, The Florian Fund, and our wonderful individual sponsors Phillip and Marsha Dowd, Chris and Erin Behnke, The Markel Family, The Richard Family, and all Masterwork Society donors.

 

And a heartfelt thank you to all our Gala Sponsors including Chicago Artist Luis Arevalo, Tutu School Chicago, Andrew Weeks Photography, Coco + Peach Fine Jewelry, The East Bank Club, Wear Moi Dancewear, IO Comedy Club, Briana Jarrin with MAC Cosmetics, MD Complete Skin Care, Jaclyn Beattie Personal Styling, Discovery Toys, Zarely Performance Tights, Norwex, Gabe the Pup, Ted Seymour Custom Pottery, and last but not least, Ballet Chicago’s wonderful faculty and pianists.

It’s going to be such a fun evening - we hope you will all join us!

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Intermediate 2 with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Emma Wittig Isometric Workout (Recorded)
- Pre-Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Katherine Alvarado)
- Introduction to Ballet Story-Time and Ballet Zoom Class (Hurst)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class (Hurst/Kunkler)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Blair/Mannos)

Our love to you all, our beautiful BC family…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell


PS – Silent Auction Preview – Chicago Artist Luis Arevalo Original Acrylic Painting - “Orange Bloom in Blue”

Size:  30" tall by 40" width

From the Artist:  "The Orange and Blue colors were inspiration from the Ballet Chicago performance at the Harris Theater. (Spring 2019) of an original and unique ballet experience from Ted Seymour's choreography. (Long Living Line). Before each performance, Ballet Chicago's diversity is always noted by Daniel Duell, which resonates with me, resulting in the diversity of the ballerinas in my painting."

Below, you will see a photo of the painting, and below that, a video made by the artist to express his love and appreciation of the dance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artists video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjGEBsug2zs&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HM3K-VkJGa_epFjFGE98kh&index=2&t=0s

 

Isometrics (All Levels): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfdS8c4-NZw&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=3&t=0s

 

Isometrics (BCSC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F32iyx5o_Q&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=2&t=0s

 

Intermediate 2 (Levels 4 & 5): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcmFJ8ksf28&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

5/15/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Remembering Mr. B. …"We cannot ignore even one moment…”

In his company class Mr. B. always had us polishing the simple steps, the small steps, and the connecting steps, ones like “glissade” and “petit failli”, making them as finished as every other step, and as specifically timed.

One day in the center, Mr. B. gave a swift, complex “petit allegro” combination, consisting of pas jetes battus, glissades, and petit failli, among other steps. Mr. B. wanted a particular emphasis on the petit failli, connecting two other steps with extra articulate footwork and a change of body direction at the same time. To impress upon us the importance of that brief moment, Mr. B. paused the combination for a moment and said (my paraphrase), “You see, a composer is a very, very, very great person...starts with nothing, and makes a design of sound in time. Every moment of that design is conscious - there are no empty moments. So how can we ignore even one moment when we dance to music?” Then he followed with an intriguing speculation: “If you copied one note per second of what Mozart wrote in his 35 years, you would not finish in an entire lifetime…” His admiration for Mozart’s copious musical output over his short life, conceived from scratch with astounding invention and speed, was clear. 

Later on, Jacques d’Amboise carried this idea into transitional moments onstage, ones when a dancer walks or runs from one place to another between sequences of steps. Jacques’ counsel was that all moments onstage, even walking or running to place, need to be musically timed so as to remain a part of the overall design of choreography to music. 

My own feeling is that one needs to “inhabit” the music one moves to, to live inside it, to enter its realm of design with one’s heart, soul, and entire physical being. One needs to feel how each piece of music breathes and develops, how its cadences rise and fall, how its rhythms can be made visible, and how we can draw the viewer into it through our dancing.

Simply put, no part of a dancer’s being can ignore even one moment of the music to which we move. 

Needless to say, this is an important part of our daily training at Ballet Chicago, evidenced by having our wonderful pianists for our classes.

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 Technique with Ms. Vonder Haar and Jeremy Harris (Recorded)
- Pointe Barre with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Logan Hutt’s Cardio Barre (Recorded)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Seymour/Smith)
- BCSC Technique (Seymour/Mannos)
- Student Division 5pm Zoom Meeting and Secret Garden Gathering

We hope you got to spend some time in the sunshine yesterday afternoon – it was so beautiful outside…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

P.S. - RSVP to our Virtual Sterling Gala Celebration on Thursday, May 21 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm CT here: https://balletchicagogala.app.rsvpify.com

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fxjrXnsGus&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=0s

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--PW_nNrtWI&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Bravo Boys!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

 

Beginner Ballet (Levels 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkYvODSth1M&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/14/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

One week from today we will all join together to celebrate 25 years of the School of Ballet Chicago!

We have a wonderful evening planned for you -  surprise guest speakers and stirring videos of our beautiful students, a fun cocktail/mocktail making demo, the beautiful music of Maestro Mannos and our signature Paddle Raise with the” G-Man” Greg Dellinger.  So join the party! Bring the kids, bring the pets and enjoy this delightful, interactive, action-packed evening!

We have some amazing auction items for you:
-Original Acrylic Painting by Luis Arevalo – Orange Bloom and Blue (30”tall by 40” wide) Mr. Arevalos states the diversity in his painting is "reflective of what he sees on the Ballet Chicago stage."
- Wear Moi Gift Packages (1 for each level – bid one level up from your current class level)
- Private Lessons Galore:

  • Gyrotonic with Mr. Duell

  • Ballet with Ms. Blair

  • Ballet with Mr. Seymour

  • Ballet with Ms. Hurst

  • Ballet with Ms. Green

  • Ballet with Ms. Vonder Haar

  • Pilates with Logan Hutt

- A Tutu School Magical Birthday Party from Genevieve Custer Weeks
- Dance Photo Session with Andrew Weeks (he’s the one that did the Nutcracker book for us)
- Mr. Seymour’s beautiful hand made Lumiere’s with custom glazing in the color of your choice
- Earrings by Coco + Peach - Locally Designed and Inspired by the Magic of Chicago
- Four Tickets to IO Comedy Club – Ms. Wright has performed there
- Discovery Toys Summer Play Pack – includes the best toys for outdoor exploration and learning
- A Jaclyn Beattie 2 Hour Wardrobe Consultation
- A Day-forTwo at the East Bank Club, including a $50 gift card and a master-trainer session
- Coco + Peach Cufflinks
- Renew Self Care Set by MD Complete Skin Care
- Zarely Performance Tights Gift Cards
- Ballet Chicago Nutcracker Package (10 tickets and an onstage photo op!)
- And last but not least, a playdate with our beautiful pup Gabe

And to those of you who have attended our live Galas in the past,  you’ll surely remember the fun and excitement of our Paddle Raise and Last Bid challenge.  Last year, we had tickets to West Side Story. This year we bring you a COVID Relief Basket with some very hard-to-find items. Hint - As I saturate paper towels with bleach to clean my phone, I have been heard to say “My kingdom for a pack of Clorox Wipes”

We are so looking forward to next Thursday and to seeing you on the Zoom. RSVP Here: https://balletchicagogala.app.rsvpify.com

And now, on to today’s rollouts:

- Creative Movement Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Hurst)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class (Hurst/Kunkler)
- Pilates with Logan Hutt
- Advanced Ballet
- BCSC Zoom Meeting

Sending you all so much love and zillions of hugs…


As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOUk3FbO9e4&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Advanced BCSC Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1EP2XDWuVtQoegediGYDIpp

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/13/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We have had a lot of conversations with students over the past five days.  Most of them are the older ones, the Studio Company dancers, who are truly mourning not being able to perform Spring Rep at the Harris Theatre.  Many of them feel as if the floor was ripped out from underneath them.  In our conversations, it has become apparent to us that part of their fear is their mistrust of the future and what it might bring. We, on the other hand, have been around long enough to have experienced very difficult national crises in our lifetime - 9/11, the Vietnam War, the assassination of JFK, the Challenger disaster... and we grew up with great grandparents, grandparents and parents talking about the horrors of World War II, the Korean War, the Great Depression - stories that we listened to around our dinner tables in our youth. We marveled at the bravery and resiliency of our family members, and our hearts were filled with respect for each one of them.

We realize that part of the difficulty for our students is that they don’t have the perspective to understand that as difficult as these things are and can be, we do come out the other side of it.  In our conversations with Phil and Marsha Dowd, Phil said something very interesting to us that helped to calm us. His words frame our current situation in a far broader perspective:

“Smart people like to say 'Things will never be the same' and of course that's always true. But I don't think things are going to change that much as a result of this virus. How much did things change after the Spanish Flu?  In the last 100 years the US has certainly seen some major events.  How much change in our everyday life did any of them actually bring?  Technology has certainly changed the way we live, but shocks like the depression, WWII, the dotcom bust, the 2008 recession, etc?  Did the sinking of the Titanic end ship travel across the Atlantic Ocean?  Did 9/11 end construction of tall buildings?  Did the offices in the top half of the Sears Tower go vacant?”

Our hope is that this broader perspective is a catalyst for calm, a way to reach and begin to heal the insecurity that some of our students, and maybe even some of our parents, feel as this pandemic wears on. Is a longer view necessary at this time, and do more years on this planet, the overcoming of more challenges, more experiences in our back pockets, provide reassurance? We think so, because we know that references from our past help us to manage our present.

In our hearts, we understand that we will get through this, that things will get better.  As frustrating as the shelter in place order is, and as heartbreaking as the tragedies we experience at this time are, we do know that we will survive it, surmount it, and that we will all be together in person again. Food for thought! 

We offer these words with humility, love, and prayers - and the hope that they may bring some peace.

And now, on to today’s rollouts:

- Wednesday Yoga with Maggie Vannucci (Recorded)
- Bravo Boys Zoom Class (Seymour/Kunkler)
- Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 Zoom Class (Blair/Cross)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Pointe Barre (Hurst/Harris)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Seymour/Mannos)

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_7j1pV5Myg&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/12/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Remembering Mr. B…

“A hundred times a day” - the paintbrush of hands, wrists, and fingers.

One of Mr. B.’s most stringent requirements in his company class was cultivating the shaping of hands, wrists, and fingers in movement. Making clear shapes in the air without any sort of graph or chart or measurement other than one’s in-person observation of a teacher’s demonstration is a challenge! One day in Mr. B.’s company class when I was still new in the company, our first combination in the center was 15 tendus to the front in croise while “air-phrasing” a repeated pattern of wrists, hands, and fingers every four counts. The sixteenth tendu went to ecarte derriere and closed to fifth behind, and the combination then repeated to the left. The wrist, hand, and finger pattern as demonstrated by Mr. B. was quite specific, but to my novice young dancer’s mind, it was less important than showing heroic big steps to come later in the class. 

Mr. B. stopped the combination for a moment and said to me, “To become accurate, you need to practice hundred times a day.” My young mind thought - "This simple little thing, a hundred times a day? What about the big steps I am dying to show?” Mr. B. looked at me in that moment, and said, “Hmm...I can tell you are not going to do…” Talk about being “caught-out”! But that motivated me to tackle that arms and hands pattern one hundred times a day for a long time. In doing so I discovered that reproducing wrist/hand/finger movement patterns in the air with absolute precision is not so easy - such an elusive thing requires much repetition! But after a month of steady practice it began to happen with ease, and eventually it became second nature.

On that day in company class, as on many others, Mr. B. was pursuing how we “paint the air” with our arms, wrists, hands, and fingers.. Like a paintbrush that changes shape as it flows along a wall, our wrists, hands, and fingers all need to change shape in the flow of movement, resolving into crystallized form at the end of each phrase. And in the same way that a paintbrush must be guided very precisely to deliver a clean paint job, so our arms, hands, wrists, and fingers must be guided very precisely to deliver clear, yet lyrical, dancing. 

As most serious dancers come to realize, wrists, hands, and fingers are the great “finishers” of polish and clarity in ballet. If they are not constantly, clearly articulated, the strongest, cleanest dancing in every other respect will still look unfinished. 

Thus we place great emphasis on the paintbrush of wrists, hands, and fingers here at Ballet Chicago. And by the way, that paintbrush not only provides clear, lyrical dancing, but it also brings out each artist’s individuality, something that is important to us at every stage of our young artists’ development. 

And now, today’s rollouts include:

- Intermediate 1 with Ms. Vonder Haar and Greg Smith (Recorded) – YES, Ms. Vonder Haar is back!
- 3A and 3B Pre-Pointe Zoom Class (VanEekeren/Smith)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Wright/Mannos)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Duell/Harris)

And today’s Step of the Week is Preparation for Fouetté. This is a great way for our young students to learn the principle of fouetté that will serve them not only for adagio work, but eventually will make your fouetté jumps and tour jetés clean and clear. And for our more advanced dancers, this is your chance to make sure those tour jetés really do go front – side – back, no more helicopter legs!

And we have an Update for our Preparatory Division Students.  Based on the survey, here is the revised Story Time Ballet schedule:

- Creative Movement:  Thursday 10:15 – 10:45 with Ms. Hurst and Saturday 10:00 – 10:30 with Ms. VanEekeren
- Pre-Ballet:  Monday 10:145 – 11:15 and Saturday 10:30 – 11:00 with Ms. Katherine Alvarado
- Introduction to Ballet: Monday 11:00 – 1:30 with Ms. Hurst and Saturday 10:30 – 11:15am with Ms. VanEekeren

Finally, our Bravo Boys Zoom Class will take place on Wednesday at 3:00 PM.

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers, and all of our wonderful parents…

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Intermediate 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtEZj5l6rT8&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Step of the Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0E3jXnKxXw&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

5/11/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day and were able to celebrate together. And we hope you liked the virtual flowers we sent you. So, here we go - it’s Monday and the start of week nine of our quarantine. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for over two months. I know this was a tough weekend for all of us, missing what we would have been doing on stage at the Harris Theater. We heard from many dancers and parents individually, expressing your sorrow and struggles in dealing with the loss of doing what you most look forward to. We get it, we feel the same sorrow. So, some of you may be feeling very sad, some of you may feel like “what’s the point”. It’s OK to have these moments of doubt, but we want to tell you that you need to keep your spirits up, you need to keep digging in. 

This will not last forever, and when it is over, we need to be ready to resume in person, in the studio, that which we love so dearly. And if you’re worried about not being in the same shape that you normally are when in the studio all the time, let us relieve you of that concern. We know how to get you back to where you were, and we can help you NOW to develop skills that will allow you to gain ground even during this quarantine. So stay strong, stay healthy, keep your spirits up, and keep dancing, beautiful dancers!

We have a couple of things to share with you. One is this beautiful rendering of ballerinas from all over the world dancing the Dying Swan. It is called Swans for Relief and was created by Misty Copeland and Joseph Phillips to raise funds to support dancers around the world. Mr. Duell calls it “A Swan Song of Hope for the World”. It is very beautiful – enjoy! 

https://youtu.be/exuUvJ-HzW0

The second is rather silly, but very cute.  It is a little “Dr. Seuss” poem honoring teachers and students in the midst of COVID-19.

I will teach you in a room.
I will teach you now on ZOOM.
I will teach you in your house.
I will teach you with a mouse.
I will teach you here and there.
I will teach you because I care.

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Intermediate 2 with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Emma Wittig Isometric Workout (Recorded)
- Pre-Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Katherine Alvarado)
- Introduction to Ballet Story-Time and Ballet Zoom Class (Hurst)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class (Hurst/Kunkler)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Blair/Mannos)

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers, hang tough, and stay steady - Demi, Demi, grand, tendu, degage, etc… We love you all dearly.

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Intermediate 2 (Levels 4 & 5): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1HeavrbUOw&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Isometrics - All Levels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkkcBAtW3zA&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=2&t=0s

 

Isometrics - BCSC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwQgS9jys-s&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=3&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

 

 

 

5/8/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Before we get to Mr. Duell’s rendering of his influential teachers, we wanted to take this moment to recognize our Ballet Chicago teachers! They have all been working tirelessly to deliver the written lesson plans, pre-recorded classes, zoom classes, and the fun supplementary content that goes to you every day. We so appreciate their efforts and willingness to learn how to do something none of us have ever done before - teach ballet online!  Who would have thought we’d see this day…  

Our marketing team is also working above and beyond, coordinating and downloading all of this information so that you can have it not only in real time but on the portal our students can access at any time.  

And now, here’s Mr. Duell…

Going back to first ballet lessons in 1963 in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, a memory of the inimitable Miss Jo, my very first teacher,  was hearing, “Oh, but HONey!…” followed by a blistering technical or character critique.  But she also gave warm-hearted support. She could not abide negative dressing room gossip, what she called “scuttlebutt” - if you got caught engaging in scuttlebut, you would hear from her, big time (I think Ms. Blair channels Miss Jo on that issue)! Miss Jo and her co-founder sister Hermene established and maintained a well-rounded program with a performing civic company, giving us participants a very strong technical and artistic grounding.

David McLain, my first male teacher, taught every class with unbridled joy. His natural enthusiasm encouraged energy and confidence in us beginners. I had him for three years before he moved on to direct the dance department at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. 

Jon Rodriguez, of Spanish heritage, had beautiful legs and feet, and clear, clean execution. His dancing was just beautiful - I remember the great clarity of his “petit allegro” steps, and his gorgeous “entrechat-six”! His classroom teaching also focused on clean technique, and helped us young dancers advance.

Bess Saylor was our teacher for Graham technique. Bess’s soft voice sounded tender, but she was technically very demanding. She loved large-scale movement, and her choreography to Benjamin Britten’s music for “Four Sea interludes” and “Fall Into Winter” was very challenging, and provided much artistic growth. 

The summer of 1969 brought my first encounter with Stanley Williams and Antonina Tumkovsky, in SAB’s former non air-conditioned studios on Broadway at 82nd St.  Mme. Tumkovsky (“Tumi”) taught us about strength, stamina, and attention to sequence. Stanley Williams was at first a bit of a mystery, but his partnering classes were inspiring and enabling.

Fall 1969 - Stanley Williams became far and away my main influence, as was true for many dancers during Stanley’s 37 years at SAB as the principal men’s teacher and technique teacher for ladies. Stanley was always about quality and clarity first - quantity by itself was of no interest to him. It was Stanley who practiced the unique approach of “through lines” of technique for all steps. His short, often repeated words, like “in”, “over”, “through”, “point my knee”, applied to everything, from plies to tendus, to moving steps, to turns, to jumps. His heritage in the Bournonville tradition (he had been a soloist with the Royal Danish Ballet) also imbued his teaching with a very beautiful use of epaulement and port de bras.

June 1972 - As a new company member, I began the amazing journey of learning from Mr. B., who, even though he was a phenomenal choreographer, always considered himself first and foremost a teacher. It was in his company class that his teachings about “dancing beyond technique” were imparted to us dancers. Over the course of the ten and a half years of taking his company classes, we all learned a vast range of things that I might summarize as how to challenge one’s limits in every way, speed, slowness, stamina, amplitude, clean articulation of small steps, rhythmic clarity, technical control, awareness of arms, heads, epaulement, and how to look ALIVE, bigger than life, at all times. More than any other teacher, it was Mr. B. who infused into my very being, “If you can, you must!” 

There were some other influential teachers, mentors on the side who were very meaningful in my performing career. Jacques d’Amboise in particular greatly reinforced all of Mr. B,’s teaching, and set a supreme example of beautiful partnering. It was he who taught me that “all of partnering is dancing”, and how to make the placing of one’s hands for turns and lifts disappear, disguised within the movement of “port de bras.” Violette Verdy danced with inspiring musicality, energy, and gracious warmth, and it was she who was responsible for my being invited to SAB - I am ever grateful to her. And last but not least, Suzanne Farrell showed me in every performance how courageously “oneself” it was possible to be onstage.

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Bravo Boys! with Mr. Seymour and Greg Smith (Recorded)
- Pointe Barre with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Logan Hutt’s Cardio Barre (Recorded)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Seymour/Smith)
- BCSC Technique (Seymour/Mannos)
- Student Division 5pm Zoom Meeting and Secret Garden Gathering

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf8VRqh_NVs&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=0s

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H_9IoisAxQ&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Bravo Boys!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/7/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Continuing with National Teachers’ Week, we wanted to talk with you about some of our most influential teachers.  For me (Ms. Blair) there were so many who shaped me, including my first childhood teachers, Maryanne and Romaine Strilka, then at SAB, Alexandra Danilova, Antonina Tumkovsky, and Stanley Williams.  

Danilova has an especially fond place in my heart.  There was a time when my family was really struggling.  We did not have much money at all.  I had just one leotard and one pair of tights which I diligently washed by hand every night.  Some of the girls, and sadly even some parents, made fun of me because I was poor. I was the only girl in the variations class that did not have a skirt, and one day, Madam Danilova pulled me aside and gave me a little bag in which there were three beautiful skirts! I teared up immediately – I was overwhelmed by her kindness. I thanked her and curtsied what I hope was a most reverent curtsy, and placed them very neatly in my little dance bag. I felt such joy and gratitude toward her! I wore those skirts for years, always with a secret smile. I eventually passed them on to a young student who needed them as much as I had, those many years before. I often think of how grateful I am that the BC family is kind to the students in our school.


Other influential teachers for me were Nolan Dingman, Mimi Paul and Gina Vidal at North Carolina School of the Arts, and then back in NYC, Nanette Charisse, David Howard, Robert Denvers, Melissa Hayden, and most beloved of all Willy Burmann, who taught and coached me for most of my performing career. Willy was very demanding – his classes were blisteringly fast and hard, yet he was endlessly generous with his time, his advice, and his encouragement. I think of him now, in heaven, alongside Mr. B and the many artists who shaped ballet in America, and shaped generations of dancers.

For Mr. Duell, there is also a long list – he will talk with you about them in tomorrow’s update!

AND FOR OUR BC STUDENT DIVISION DANCERS - I wanted to make a special mention about tomorrow’s meeting, now rescheduled for 5pm.  We will have our normal weekly conversation, but in this Zoom call,  taking place on the day that would have been our Dress Rehearsal at the Harris Theater, Mr. Duell is going to share with you special information about his vision for The Secret Garden. We so hope you will ALL join us! Parents are welcome as well.

And now, on to today’s rollouts:

- Creative Movement Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (VanEekeren)
- Pre-Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Katherine Alvarado)
- Introduction to Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (VanEekeren)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class (Hurst/Kunkler)
- Pilates with Logan Hutt
- Advanced Ballet
- BCSC Zoom Meeting

Sending you all so much love and zillions of hugs…


As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlFMaHCFaN4&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Advanced Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1EP2XDWuVtQoegediGYDIpp

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/6/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

This is National Teachers’ Week, so we would like to give a shout out to all teachers, including those in academics, music, visual and performing arts, and of course, ballet. Teachers throughout the world are reaching out to stay connected to the students they educate and inspire each day, and countless parents are taking on new teaching duties in their homes. In light of that, we want to share with you something so funny and endearing that we saw on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show.” We don’t get to watch a lot of TV, but we did enjoy a very sweet episode where Jimmy was talking about his wife's and his experience of homeschooling their two young girls, who are very active and beyond adorable. Jimmy declared, “Teachers should be paid $1 billion a year!” His statement, accompanied by his daughters climbing on top of his head and him reaching up to hug them, made us laugh a really big laugh for the first time in a while, and we think a lot of people are experiencing the same sentiment. And what a stimulus package that would make! 

So, as many of you take on homeschooling your own children, we applaud you! You need to be celebrated! And in honor of National Teachers Week, we give a heartfelt salute to all the teachers who educate and guide our children every day.  


Stay safe. Stay home, wash your hands, and practice social distancing - PLEASE, LET’S ALL HELP AND PROTECT EACH OTHER

And now, on to today’s rollouts:


- Wednesday Yoga with Maggie Vannucci (Recorded)
- Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 Zoom Class (Blair/Cross)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Pointe Barre (Hurst/Harris
- BCSC Zoom Class (Seymour/Mannos)

Sending love, hugs, light, hope, and prayers...


As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell


Ode to Teachers by Pat Mora

I remember
the first day,
how I looked down,
hoping you wouldn't see 
me,
and when I glanced up,
I saw your smile
shining like a soft light
from deep inside you.

“I'm listening,” you encourage us.
“Come on!
Join our conversation,
let us hear your neon certainties,
thorny doubts, tangled angers,”
but for weeks I hid inside.
I read and reread your notes
praising 
my writing,
and you whispered,
“We need you
and your stories
and questions
that like a fresh path
will take us to new vistas.”

Slowly, your faith grew
into my courage
and for you—
instead of handing you
a note or apple or flowers—
I raised my hand.

I carry your smile
and faith inside like I carry
my dog's face,
my sister's laugh,
creamy melodies,
the softness of sunrise,
steady blessings of stars,
autumn smell of gingerbread,
the security of a sweater on a chilly day.

 

 

Beginner Ballet (Levels 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vegOYimoJgY&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5cTd_NVeIw&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/5/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

It’s cold outside! So, we lit our fire, lit our candles, and turned on our Christmas lights.  All good with me - I inherited from my Mom a deep love of celebration, even in the hardest times.

As we work our way through this, I am keeping those who are suffering in my prayers, and holding onto the fortitude to continue to do the next right thing. It is essential. I love you all dearly, and hold you all in my heart.

xoxox , Ms. Blair 


And now, from Mr. Duell…

 “Remembering Mr. B., and a special understudy story…”

At some point in my third or fourth year in the company (1975 or ‘76), I got called to understudy the principal role of the third movement of “Symphony in C”, the role that I ended up performing years later on the day Mr. B. passed away in 1983. 

I had not understudied the role for long, when one day in a stage rehearsal led by Mr. B., the designated third movement male lead had a sudden injury, and I was “thrown on”. There was a question about which version of the brief male solo was I to do (unlike ballerina roles, male dancers would often choose a solo which fitted them best, always with Mr. B.’s approval, of course). As it happened a wonderful mentor on the side (to many dancers), Jacques d’Amboise, had already taught me a version of the solo from a prior era, a version choreographed by Mr. B. on Jacques…. It involved a thrice-repeated sequence of a quick preparation into a triple pirouette, then jumping from the standing leg directly into a traveling grand jete, followed by a soutenu to fifth position, followed after the third repeat by a final pirouette into a double tour landing on one knee. Mr. B’s eyes opened wide when he observed me dance this version that he had not seen for a long time, and then on the spot he modified the sequence to a version that I was the only one ever to perform: from the triple pirouette, push off of the standing leg into a traveling “gargouillade en face” (facing straight front), still ending with the pirouette into double tour to the knee. 

The role was one that I performed numerous times with numerous ballerinas, and over the years I revised that brief solo myself, always with Mr. B.’s permission. But the version I cherish most is the one he devised for my very first performances of the role, with a very big thank you to Jacques d’Amboise for his ready help. 

Our beautiful BC dancers, please know that as we all await our return to the studios, we cherish you and our daily virtual experiences with you, including the opportunity to share some history from our performing years. 

And now, today’s rollouts include:

- Intermediate 1 with Ms. Hutt and Greg Smith (Recorded)
- Pre-Pointe Zoom Class (VanEekeren/Smith)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Wright/Mannos)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Duell/Harris)
- And today’s Step of the Week is Pique Turn. This will be great fun!

As we go dancing on, 

 Mr. Duell and Ms. Blair

 

 

Intermediate 1 ( 3A & 3B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRl66ykIX0M&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Step of the Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw8WcIdq6UI&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

 

5/4/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

“The power of poetry”

Mr. Balanchine was known to have said “Dancers are poets of movement.” Indeed, the urge to express oneself in poetry finds a parallel with the urge to express oneself in movement - both involve a reaching within to find and express truths beyond fact, beyond intellectual description.

One day in Mr. B.’s company class while we were doing barre, which was typically swift, challenging in energy, and demanding in concentration, Mr. B. stood by me and said (my paraphrase from memory), “You should recite poetry, dear, while you do barre. Can you imagine how beautiful it will be to dance steps with legs and feet, while up here (indicating arms and head and epaulement), you will be expressing poetry?”

Back then I recalled that the great American dancer Jacques D’Amboise would demonstrate for the audience a complex set of leaps, tours, and turns while reciting a verse from “Pyramus and Thisbe” during independent touring concerts - that had deeply impressed me. 

Thus, the thought of enhancing one’s expressive capacity while doing barre was intriguing, so I turned to a collection of poems from high school days and chose one by Richard Realf, a mid-19th-century American poet. Titled “Indirection”, its ideas and beautiful language were captivating to me. So I memorized its five stanzas and practiced reciting them during solo nightly warmup barres before performances. It indeed is challenging to accurately recite poetic verse while keeping track of movement sequences and counts!

During a recent pre “shelter-in-place” Ballet Chicago Level 6 and 7 barre, I encouraged the dancers to bring out their inner poet, using this incident with Mr. B as an example, and witnessed new levels of self-expression in our beautiful young artists. Here is the poem - I hope you enjoy it! 

Fair are the flowers and the children, but their subtle suggestion is fairer; 
Rare is the rose-burst of dawn, but the secret that clasps it is rarer; 
Sweet the exultance of song, but the strain that precedes it is sweeter; 
And never was poem yet writ, but the meaning out-mastered the metre. 

Never a daisy that grows, but a mystery guideth the growing; 
Never a river that flows, but a majesty sceptres the flowing; 
Never a Shakespeare that soared, but a stronger than he did enfold him, 
Nor ever a prophet foretells, but a mightier seer hath foretold him. 

Back of the canvas that throbs the painter is hinted and hidden; 
Into the statue that breathes the soul of the sculptor is bidden; 
Under the joy that is felt lie the infinite issues of feeling; 
Crowning the glory revealed is the glory that crowns the revealing. 

Great are the symbols of being, but that which is symbolled is greater; 
Vast the create and behold, but vaster the inward creator; 
Back of the sound broods the silence, back of the gift stands the giving; 
Back of the hand that receives thrill the sensitive nerves of receiving. 

Space is as nothing to spirit, the deed is outdone by the doing; 
The heart of the wooer is warm, but warmer the heart of the wooing; 
And up from the pits where these shiver, and up from the heights where those shine, 
Twin voices and shadows swim star-ward, and the essence of life is divine. 

-Richard Realf

And now for today’s rollouts:

- Intermediate 2 with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Emma Wittig Isometric Workout (Recorded)
- Creative Movement Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Hurst)
- Pre-Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Katherine Alvarado)
- Introduction to Ballet Story-Time and Ballet Zoom Class (Hurst)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class (Hurst/Kunkler)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Blair/Mannos)

As we go dancing on,

 Mr. Duell and Ms. Blair

 

Intermediate 2 (Levels 4 & 5): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E_kg4bfG8s&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Isometrics (All levels): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak3VjO5fM0Y&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

5/1/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

HOPE

As we get deeper into this extended stay-at-home existence, we are always seeking ways to not only inform you about what is going on in our Ballet Chicago community, but also to provide hope. As many of you are, we are also personally dealing with this pandemic in ways that we have never imagined. I was born in New York I have so many friends and family who live there, Mr. Duell spent his entire performing career in NYC and also has many friends and family there. We worry about those we love, some have gotten sick with COVID, and we have lost a very dear person to us both. We deeply mourn our loss, and pray for our friends and families.

How can we find hope amid uncertainty, conflict, or loss? When we feel we have lost hope, we may find inspiration in the words and deeds of others, or in poetry. Using metaphors for hope seems appropriate, as the concept of hope is difficult to describe. It is deeper than simple optimism, and more mysterious, delicate, and elusive. It is a feeling we must develop and cultivate, but like faith, it is also a state with which we are graced. Hope can foster determination and grit—the ability to bounce back and to remain determined despite failures and setbacks—when we make the daily effort to change and improve what we can control, we speak to the importance of hope and resilience.

And in the midst of this, while we are looking out for our entire Ballet Chicago’s community, we are also touching base nationally and globally with colleagues. We are collaborating on a large scale, saving this art form that we all love so much. We  look at the big picture with hope and compassion, and we seek to do as Mr. Duell says every day in the studio, “If you can, you must”.  We can, so we must…we get up each day and look for ways to make a difference, to help those around us, to sustain our community. We wake each day and seek hope, and then we find her.


Sigh not for there is hope
Doubt not because it is there
Just seek it
Let thy eye wander far
Just touch it
Let thy hands lay softly
Just live it

Let thy heart fill the cold
And conquer
Laugh in joy not in cruelness
Cry always but not in pain
Sing tunes for the far
And Dance for the near
Wonder not
Because hope never dies 

Author - Jodi Right


And now for today’s rollouts:

- Bravo Boys! with Mr. Seymour and Greg Smith (Recorded)
- Pointe Barre with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
- Logan Hutt’s Cardio Barre (Recorded)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Seymour/Smith)
- BCSC Technique (Seymour/Mannos)
- Student Division 4pm Zoom Meeting 

Happy first day of May – let’s all let hope spring forth!

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTWcSKRQTJ4&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=0s

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJcyGvi3Yw0&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Bravo Boys!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

______________________________________________________________

4/30/2020

SUMMER is around the corner!

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

First and foremost, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. The past weeks have seen us all encounter profound changes due to COVID-19…our normal way of living has been upended, turned inside-out and upside-down.

But we have adapted quickly, proactively pursuing positive new solutions, and maintaining forward drive in our endeavors. As you all know, our current curriculum includes Zoom classes, recorded classes, written class plans, weekly group student meetings, and supplemental conditioning – Yoga, Stretch, Floor Barre, Isometric Workouts, and twice weekly viewing of Ballet Chicago Performances.

We are finding that “the way opens” as we navigate new paths during this time. 

Regarding summer, we are working toward ensuring that all students can experience Ballet Chicago’s summer training programs as originally intended. We offer three summer programs, and we are looking closely at them collectively and separately to provide the best solution for our students. Most want to dance if they can, so if it is safe to proceed, we will provide in-studio summer training. This will only happen if the CDC, The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health deem it safe to do so, and we will follow the recommendations of state and local authorities regarding mandates on the re-opening protocols of safety, social distancing, and travel.

We are brainstorming with other arts organizations across the country, putting our collective heads together to share information as we all make decisions regarding our students. We are all subject to the individual state and local guidelines set forth, but collaboration brings increased knowledge.

And we are looking at many practical solutions including starting or Summer Intensive and Advanced Repertory Workshop a week later, reducing class sizes, staggering the start and end times of classes to minimize crossover, and of course adopting aggressive cleaning measures.  We have also measured our barre space at the studio to determine the number of dancers able to be at the barre six feet apart should that be necessary.

In the event we cannot hold onsite Summer Programming, tuition fees will be refunded. Additionally, we will honor refunds for families who choose to withdraw their students. We understand that even local travel may not be possible during these times.  Your family's safety is our top priority. In all scenarios, Virtual Summer Intensive (VSI) options will be available for those students who choose to enroll in Ballet Chicago’s VSI Programs.

The Registration Paperwork deadline is extended to May 30th.  And we will continue to work with you on payment plans as needed. We thank you for your patience as we work to provide as many options as possible.  We will send updates on our Summer Programming plans as the situation evolves.

We thank you for your patience while we work to provide as many options as possible.  We will send updates on our Summer Programming plans as the situation evolves.

And now for today’s At-Home Class offerings:

- Creative Movement Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (VanEekeren)
- Pre-Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Katherine Alvarado)
- Introduction to Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (VanEekeren)
- Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class (Hurst/Kunkler)
- Pilates with Logan Hutt
- Advanced Ballet
- BCSC Zoom Meeting

We send love and virtual hugs to you all - keep your spirits up!

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kheRjcBEcZA&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Advanced Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1EP2XDWuVtQoegediGYDIpp

 

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4/29/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

As you all know, we are now under a stay-at home-order until May 30th. It is with some sadness, but with acceptance of the realities of the Covid-19 crisis, that we announce that Ballet Chicago will not perform its Balanchine + Beyond “HeartStrings” program at the Harris Theater, nor our Annual School Performance, scheduled for May 31 at the Studebaker Theatre. But all is far from lost! These beautiful and exciting works will still have their day onstage - we plan to perform both programs in 2021.

 

As we have experienced both as students and in our professional careers, the learning of choreography and perfecting it is valuable unto itself. Mr. Duell, Mr. Seymour, and I all learned many roles that we never performed on stage. The learning of these, from the advice of our teachers and directors, was to help us grow, give us more skills, and strengthen us. The learning of ballets that we did not perform added greatly to our base of knowledge, and is part of what we pass on to all of you today. Every time we start a new ballet, we tell our dancers that working on steps, the rehearsing, is the most valuable part of the process. We encourage them not to get fixated on casting, but to soak up everything they can from the process of putting a ballet together. So, as we go into this extended time of staying at home, we want to provide all of you the gift of continuing to grow, to give you more skills, to strengthen you, and to keep you connected to what you love!

 

When I (Ms. Blair) was performing, my director, Mr. Edward Villella, called me to learn George Balanchine’s Tarantella!  The girls in our company that normally danced Tarantella were in the 5’ – 5’4” range, so I was a little surprised and frankly daunted by the learning assignment – Tarantella is blisteringly fast for any dancer, and for a woman of my height, even more of a challenge.  But I went to every rehearsal and worked hard.  When I inquired about going for a costume fitting, Edward said “Oh you won’t perform this, you’re too tall. I just wanted you to have the opportunity to learn how to dance faster!” Dance faster I did, and this served me very well for the remainder of my performing career.

Speaking of dancing, today’s rollouts include:

-Wednesday Yoga with Maggie Vannucci (Recorded)
-Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 Zoom Class (Blair/Cross)
-Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Pointe Barre (Hurst/Harris)
-BCSC Zoom Class (Seymour/Mannos)

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

P.S. We will discuss the Secret Garden rehearsals during our Student Division Zoom meeting this Friday, May 1 from 4:00-5:00PM. We still plan to connect regarding the story and choreography, even though we will not be performing Secret Garden in 2020. Student Division dancers and parents will receive an invitation to the Zoom meeting by email.

 

Beginner Ballet (Levels 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAABkPQoxtc&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYfFv_foHxY&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

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4/28/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

ZOOM!


We started our extended Zoom programming yesterday, and for the most part it went pretty well. 

Creative Movement children and Pre-Ballet children had the opportunity to visit with their teachers, with their fellow classmates, connect with a beautiful ballet story, and dance! The children were so happy to see each other, and they looked so cute sitting with their dolls and stuffed animals, listening to the story, and getting up to dance out certain parts.  It was really sweet.

We did have some technical glitches with the Introduction to Ballet class, but we think those have now been fixed. We also had the Ballet 3A and 3B classes able to connect with Miss Hurst, and I, (Ms. Blair) taught the Ballet Chicago Studio Company class.

It is interesting doing Zoom classes.  It takes a little getting used to the platform.  

Unlike meetings which are a more natural fit with this technology, we find that teaching class takes a great deal more energy than it does in the studio. The task to keenly observe each dancer’s movements in order to correct takes on a different meaning when doing so on the screen.

We feel a great responsibility to our students, to ensure that they keep dancing and that this integral part of their lives is upheld.  One of our parents wrote:

"Thank you so much for all your communications and for the hard work everyone is doing to provide such a wonderful variety of videos for keeping dancers at all levels engaged in their learning and practice.   Lillian is enjoying using her tracking sheets, and we look forward to your thoughtful emails. We love seeing her go to our basement to practice, inspired by all that you have provided.  You are an integral part of the dancers’ identities, which is always a joy to see!  The efforts you are making to reach out and to stay connected to dancers and families during these challenging times are making a tremendous impact.  We take joy in remaining committed to the Ballet Chicago community and send all of you our love and appreciation for all that you do, and all that you are!" 

Such a beautiful statement; thank you Hundley family!

So, until the stay-at-home order is lifted, we will continue to navigate our way through this (hopefully not for long) new normal, make adjustments as needed, seek ways to keep the students inspired, engaged, and ensure that we are able to connect in meaningful ways and continue to do what we love.

And now, today’s rollouts include:

- Intermediate 1 with Ms. Hutt and Greg Smith (Recorded)
- Pre-Pointe Zoom Class (VanEekeren/Smith)
- Ballet 4B and 5B Zoom Class (Wright/Mannos)
- BCSC Zoom Class (Duell/Harris)
- And today’s Step of the Week is Temps Lié. Remember to keep those heels front, hips square, and place your feet solidly into the floor.

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell


Intermediate 1 (Levels 3A & 3B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaX0Mu1lFdc&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Step of the Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZDgA2NlO68&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

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4/27/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather yesterday. The shining sun, the air sweet with the scent of budding flowers, the delicate beauty of the dogwood trees, each day our walks reveal the beauty of the boulevard.  In all the years we have lived here, we’ve never quite experienced spring on the boulevard so frequently ~ we are always at the studio prepping for performances, returning home after well after dark. But now our Gabe walks, particularly those in the afternoon, give us the opportunity to see our street in a new way.

The boulevard is a real community.  We have been fortunate with our community leaders who have nurtured meaningful discussions, projects, and exchanges throughout the years.  And most of us have dogs, so it usually goes like this ~ the dogs want to meet and play, the dogs become friends, then the humans become friends. Because of this, we know most of our neighbors, and many have become close friends.  For the time being we must maintain physical distance ~ no hand-shaking, no chatting up close, no sitting next to each other around a table over coffee or a meal. We accept that, mutually knowing that keeping a distance at this time in a way brings us closer together. During our walks, we encounter many people also enjoying the spring weather, but at a distance from each other, and most people are wearing facemasks. We acknowledge each other from a distance, and feel a closeness in the mutual respect and consideration of protecting each other.

In addition to our time outside, we spent most of the day yesterday cleaning our apartment, doing laundry, and face-timing with friends and family.  

Our neighbors across the alley spent the afternoon in their backyard with their two young children and their dog Chase. The oldest, Connor, calls him “the music man”. He loves when Mr. Duell plays the flute from our back porch, watches intently, claps and shouts “yay” at the end of each song! 

So we had a good weekend, and we hope you did as well!

As we move into this new week, we are excited to start our Zoom classes and continue with our online lessons. Today’s rollouts include:

-Intermediate 2 with Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler (Recorded)
-Emma Wittig Isometric Workout (Recorded)
-Creative Movement Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Hurst)
-Pre-Ballet Story-Time + Ballet Zoom Class (Katherine Alvarado)
-Introduction to Ballet Story-Time and Ballet Zoom Class (Hurst)
-Ballet 3A and 3B Zoom Class (Hurst/Kunkler)
-BCSC Zoom Class (Blair/Mannos)

We hope our young ones enjoyed their “Story-Time”.  We are working on fixing the glitches that occurred in the Introduction to Ballet class, and hope to have them resolved before your Thursday reading with Ms. VanEekeren.

And on behalf of our boulevard, we say “take a moment to stop and smell the roses” ~ really, not metaphorically!

As we go dancing on,

 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

P.S. Monday May 4th @ 3 PM PST /6 PM EST, Suzanne Farrell will be hosting a virtual Zoom class. There are only 250 spots available. You can purchase tickets at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/mastersofmay

 

Isometrics - All Levels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOYAU9k5RpQ&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=3&t=0s

 

Isometrics - BCSC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPkFinOuta0&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=2&t=0s

 

Intermediate 2 (Levels 4 & 5): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We_UlhTjtNU&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

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4/25/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We had the sweetest call with our student division dancers yesterday. It was a joy to catch up with them, to see their beautiful smiling faces, and to learn what they are doing day-to-day. In addition to their lessons, we feel these weekly touch-base calls are so important. When we are at the studio, there’s the in-class interaction, and also all those lovely conversations and hugs in the hallways and kitchen area. These exchanges are an important part of the fabric of our lives, so when the need arose to create a virtual curriculum for our students, we also felt the need to keep the heart of the human interactions that happen at BC. We hope these weekly touch-base calls help preserve a bit of that.

We also wanted to share with you a Facebook post from one of our parents. Little Elisabeth is in Ms. Katherine’s class. Her parents posted a photo of her doing her online ballet class, but apparently she missed dancing with her friends, so she brought her doll to join her! Beautifully endearing, but hold on Elisabeth and all of our little ones…Ballet Chicago Story Time + Ballet starts this week on Zoom, so you’ll all be able to see and dance with your ballet friends very soon!

And now to today’s roll-outs!
• Creative Movement
• Pre-Ballet
• Introduction to Ballet
• Center Barre

And get ready to break out the popcorn – today’s At-Home BC Performance is Mr. Duell’s beautiful Concerto in A Minor. We know you’ll enjoy it.

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers…

As we go dancing on,


🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Creative Movement: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1H2uc4vL73NJ8vTS0rhSOEj

Pre-Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GOfPk7rOrgUBtzQ3ejbDa9

Introduction to Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Fl-ciUpcDJo37T6ddeYx47

Center Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F2w4TcyOzbWmA55Tvu6Ssh

 

At-Home Ballet Chicago Performance, Concerto in A Minor: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1HjkhhUZEQ1Vynbip5SlpyV

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4/24/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families, 

We are so glad that you like the Zoom class expansion to our At-Home Curriculum!  Your feedback and excitement about doing this is most appreciated.  

I’m sure you all know by now that Governor Pritzker extended the Stay-At-Home order for Illinois until May 30th. As we were watching the announcement, we couldn’t help but feel deeply sad, but as we artists do, we will find creative ways to continue our learning, to keep our bodies strong, and to connect with each other.  We are now even more grateful that we are starting our Zoom classes. Just seeing your faces and talking with you regularly will be a joy!

In our weekly check in call yesterday with the Ballet Chicago Studio Company members, there were many expressions of sadness over the pandemic.  They miss being together, they don’t like how much time they are spending online, and some said they are being assigned more school work than ever.  Dana said that she is online so much with her schooling at Northwestern, that she has headaches from the computer screen. She passed on this link for glasses that cut the glare; she said they really help.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07ST53423?ref=pd_basp_dp_primary


Others expressed frustration of dancing on less than ideal floors, so we went on line and looked up the flooring we have in our BC studios. Sure enough, Harlequin makes a Dance Mat for home use. Here is the link for Harlequin Studio™, a multipurpose, slip-resistant dance floor with a lightweight, foam-backing perfect for ballet and pointe work.

https://us.harlequinfloors.com/en/products/harlequin-dance-mat/

We also wanted to check-in to see if you were able to watch the first installment of New York City Ballet’s Live Stream Spring Season.  Their first offering was Allegro Brillante – truly brilliant dancing. We had the opportunity to touch base with Jon and Wendy after seeing the ballet, letting them know how great the dancers looked and how much we enjoyed Jon’s introduction - eloquent, simple, and just perfect for what is going on.

If you missed Allegro, you can still watch it today.  At 7 PM Central Daylight time, the second installment will be live streamed – the world premiere of Justin Peck’s Rotunda, set to a commissioned score by Nico Muhly.  You can see casting and get details on NYCB’s website.

And now, today’s rollouts include Bravo Boys! With Mr. Seymour and Greg Smith, a Pointe Barre from Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler, Logan Hutt’s Cardio Barre. 

 

Given our new Stay-At-Home order, we thought we’d share another of our favorite Rumi quotes:

 

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."


As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Bravo Boys!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VYyibSJnRg&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=0s

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pWdWiNEehc&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

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4/23/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families, 

On this day that would have been our annual Gala, we trust that there is a deeper purpose for what is taking place in our world. As we navigate our way through, we find ourselves having conversations with friends, family, and co-workers, often addressing an issue that we are all dealing with as the Covid-19 pandemic wears on - WORRY. 

We take Jessica Strang’s quote to heart: “…worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”

In a time when uncertainty is our new companion, when illness is all around us, when our lives are largely restricted to our homes, and when we as dancers and teachers are physically challenged to maintain ourselves, worry is an understandable feeling. It can feel like an emotional roller-coaster.

But this situation also serves as a motivator to human empathy. We have a need as never before to care for each other, to consider each other’s individual situations, to be kinder, more encouraging, more compassionate, and to protect each other. This is part of the silver lining we find as we grapple with this pandemic. Empathy and compassion are inherent to the arts, they are a standing condition of our human existence, and they are central to what we do at Ballet Chicago. 

Ancient human wisdom, as well as modern psychology, tells us that caring for others relieves us of worry about ourselves, puts a positive breath into the air in the midst of any negative situation, and fosters love in this world against all odds. 

So, in this time of needing to be close when we physically cannot be, when worry tries to consume us, let us remember that what we are doing at Ballet Chicago, dancing to beautiful music, is also an antidote to fear and anxiety. We remain inspired daily by the promise of the future as seen through the eyes, experiences, and accomplishments of our children, who are always teaching us as much as we are teaching them. 

“Breathe and be calm.” Throughout history, we find ourselves turning to the arts to steady us - dancing and music are a source of comfort and joy.  I (Ms. Blair) sing Mozart’s “Dona Nobis Pacem” (Give Us Peace) when I wash my hands, as it is so beautiful and makes me feel at peace. Mr. Duell, as you all know, plays a lot of music, both on flute and piano. He has recently taken to playing Julie Gold’s 1985 song “From a Distance”, made mainstream when recorded in 1990 by Bette Midler. Google it, it’s beautiful! Here are the lyrics.

From a distance the world looks blue and green
And the snow capped mountains white
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
It's the voice of hope
It's the voice of peace
It's the voice of every man

From a distance we all have enough
And no one is in need
And there are no guns, no bombs and no disease
No hungry mouths to feed

From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope
Playing songs of peace
They are the songs of every man

God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance

Stay healthy – we love and miss you all so much! 

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Advanced Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1EP2XDWuVtQoegediGYDIpp

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA

 

______________________________________________________________

4/22/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families, 

As promised, attached are photos of Mr. Seymour’s beautiful headpieces for Stravinsky Miniatures.
Even if we end up not being able to perform this spring, we are moving ahead with our creative process on all fronts. It’s so very important that we keep all options open, so that when we can return to our beautiful studios, we will be ready. You can trust that we will only do so when it is safe to do so! 


Here’s what Mr. Seymour put together for you: 

“Ballets are unlike paintings (or ceramics, lol), because they only exist in the time and space in which they are danced and viewed. The creation of that moment, when everything comes together, has many working parts. The complexity of joining dancers, choreographers, musicians, designers, and technicians into harmony is endlessly fascinating and unique to each work. In keeping the spirit of creation alive while sequestered to our own environments, I pre-planned to have this ability while distancing because that spirit is a part of what allows us to connect. I’m happy to have this moment to share with you all a small component of what is to one day become “Stravinsky Miniatures”, a new work for the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. I love to choreograph, but I love to design as well. Here is a sneak peek of the headpieces for this work. It’s an ongoing process with more detail to come, as well as the work on the leotards and skirts that I’ll share as they reach completion. 

Sending you all big virtual hugs and smiles! I miss you all and can’t wait to share in our future creative endeavors.” 

Ted, Mr.Seymour 

And on that note, we want to arrange several rehearsals for Secret Garden! 

1. Lobelias 
2. Butterflies and Dragonflies 
3. Birds

We were thinking next Wednesday from 3-4 PM all so we can review the story, the music, and get everyone together for our first At-Home rehearsal. Please let us know if that works for all of you. 

And as always, stay healthy – we love and miss you all so much! 

 

As we go dancing on, 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell 

 

 

Beginner Ballet (levels 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yYIWkjZ48Q&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s  

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqkFYxkOXuI&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

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4/21/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families, 

“Imagination brings reality into our lives.” 

Let’s think about that intriguing statement, which may initially seem self-contradictory. After all, isn’t imagination just something in our minds, and therefore not a “real” thing? 

But when one asks whether anything ever created by humans could exist without first having been imagined, one realizes that it all exists only because it WAS imagined. Thoughts, impressions, feelings, glimmerings of things never before seen or encountered, are as real as the solid things we see in our daily world. And once consciously registered in our minds, our thoughts are reality waiting to be “born”, to be visited upon the temporal world we experience. 

Why are we bringing this up? Well, let’s consider two things that bring both reality and magic into our lives - music and dance. Both exist in infinite variety in our imaginations, and then become compositions and choreography, very real experiences that move us, inspire us, lift us up, creating impressions and memories that stay with us throughout our lives. Once heard and recorded on paper (music), or seen and filmed (dance), what was at first a “mere” imagining can become a very real experience for generations upon generations of humans. 

To our way of thinking, it is miraculous that someone’s thoughts end up as a symphony, a concerto, a poem, an opera, or... a ballet. It’s as if the mind and heart of a composer, or choreographer or writer, are meeting our minds and hearts today, sometimes hundreds, or even thousands, of years later. 

Where does imagination itself come from? After all, often what one imagines is beyond anything one has experienced in one’s life - how does that happen? And each person’s imagination is part of their own inner knowledge...where does this “knowing” come from? 

We don’t have an answer, but we don’t need one, anyway - we can just go on enjoying the magic of human artistic endeavors, albeit as a mystery. 

And now, for today’s rollouts, we have an Intermediate 1 Class with Ms. Hutt and Greg Smith (Ms. Vonder Haar is still out of town) and our “Step of the Week” is Pas de Basque!


Stay strong and stay healthy everyone!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

PS – New York City Ballet Digital Spring Season!


New York City Ballet is producing a 2020 Digital Spring Season for you to stream free at home. Every Tuesday and Friday (8 PM Eastern Time, 7 PM Central) from April 21 – May 29, they will present digital streams of two ballets a week, along with a full slate of other online programming, including new podcast episodes and live streamed movement classes for all ages, to coincide with the dates of their now-cancelled Spring 2020 performances at Lincoln Center. Performance programs include footage from more than 20 works filmed in recent seasons at Lincoln Center.  Follow NYCB on NYCB’s YouTube channel, Facebook page, and homepage at nycballet.com to catch these streams. Videos will be available for three days after each stream airs. Tonight’s performance features George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, introduced by Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford. Filmed on January 18, 2017, the cast is headed by principal dancers Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette.

Accompanying the Digital Season, they will also be launching Wednesday With Wendy, a series of ballet-inspired movement classes taught by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan. These classes will be streamed on Instagram Live every Wednesday beginning April 22 at 5 PM Eastern Time.

Go to nycballet.com for more information.

 

Intermediate 1 (3A & 3B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pd-eI2Se00&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Step of the Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFo3IpPz970&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

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4/20/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families:

Mr. Duell here, with some thoughts about our first live Zoom class on Saturday, April 18 with Levels 6 and 7 and the Men. It was a real learning experience, and a great success!

Ms. Blair conducted the class, with John Mannos as her accompanist. In addition to our regular students, Mr. Seymour also joined the class, as did BC alumni Emily Fugett and Colin Ellis, both now dancing with St. Louis Ballet and aching for a Ms. Blair class. The students’ anticipation of joining together in real time for a Ballet Chicago class (albeit virtually), built and built as Ms. Blair took roll.

We learned the following things from this first try:


1. It is best for dancers to place their phones or computers at a sufficient distance that their full physiques can be seen on screen.

2. Due to lag time in signal transmission, teacher and pianist cannot speak and play rhythmic counts at the same time; rather, it works best when the pianist picks up on a tempo given by the teacher, and then carries the tempo on his own. 

3. Around twenty students can be seen at one time - simply scrolling to another screen makes it possible to view all students.

4. Individual corrections can be made, based on what is visible on screen and our in-studio knowledge of each student.

5. The live accompaniment by Maestro Mannos added a lot to the spontaneity of this first session, as it will with all of our pianists in these classes.


6. Our students found the experience to be one they enjoyed and want to continue.
 

Our next step is to arrange weekly Zoom classes for our younger levels, bearing in mind that families are already taxed with Zoom time for their children’s schoolwork, their jobs, etc., so we will be sensitive to scheduling.  The live Zoom classes will be in addition to the recorded at-home classes.

And now, for today’s At-Home class rollouts, we have Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler’s Intermediate 2 class, and Emma Wittig’s isometric workout.

Stay safe everyone, and stay tuned for our new Zoom schedule!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Mr. Duell (and Ms. Blair)

 

 

Intermediate 2 (levels 4 & 5): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbsUVXbF1F8&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Isometrics (All levels): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59wKXlnR_AY&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=2&t=0s

 

Isometrics (BCSC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDrA8k92IOA&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=3&t=0s

 

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4/19/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Happy Sunday! After two bizarre mid-April days of snowy weather, we are once again seeing sun and budding greenery around the boulevard. The daffodils and jonquils in our yard survived the snow and are blossoming beautifully.

One of our parents sent an email that really touched us, and we wanted to share part of it with you. She wrote:


“I am a true believer in finding the silver lining in even the toughest situations, and I really think we will all come back to everyday life with a deeper appreciation for the small things. We will also be mentally stronger and more resilient for getting through this trying time. 

 

I have such great admiration and respect for you both and the beautiful institution you have built. I am certain all of the dancers will forever remember their Ballet Chicago family and their art as a source of strength and stability throughout their entire lives and any challenges they might face. 

 

Thank you for being such a light during this time. As a mother to 4 children all involved in various activities, no one organization is putting forth the effort to maintain the relationship as you are. I really cannot wait until we can all return to the studio and are able to be together again.♥️

 

With love and gratitude,

Jen VanEekeren


Such beautiful words inspire us to carry on what we are doing each day. And for those of who may not know this, Ms. VanEekeren was once a Ballet Chicago student!

Today’s At-Home BC Performance is Mr. Balanchine’s sublime Square Dance – such a beautiful ballet. We hope you all enjoy it!

As we go dancing on,


🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Ballet Chicago At-Home Performance - Square Dance: http://www.bcadmin.org/portal/pages/?p=200418162155

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4/18/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Spring has returned! How glad we are to see a little sunshine. We’ll probably go for a long walk in a bit, maybe even a bike ride.

Yesterday afternoon, we had a wonderful Zoom call with our Student Division dancers. They were a little shy at first when we asked them to share what was going on, so we decided to give them a little bit of barre. I (Ms. Blair) gave the combinations, and since it was an impromptu class and I didn’t have music at the ready, Mr. Duell played the flute! Then, when I got bumped off the call (thank you Zoom), Mr. Seymour stepped in to give a battement dégagé combination.

It was a joy to connect with our beautiful dancers in this meaningful way - to see all of their faces, to hear their voices, to see their beautiful smiles, to witness their joy at seeing each other. After our little barre, we opened up the forum to comments, and the first was from Isabelle Rossi who said, “I miss Ballet!” -  It was so endearing and it broke the ice. After that, they all began to open up - sharing what they are doing with their schoolwork and of course, their ballet. We asked what new thing they were doing that they’d never done before, and the answers were quite interesting - baking, learning a new language, fractions, learning to play piano, and I think our favorite was Mari saying “making breakfast in bed for my parents – pancakes and french toast!” We almost invited her to come to our house! We saw a colorful array of balloons behind Leila, so we all sang Happy Birthday to her, and we didn’t even have to wash our hands while singing! It was such a wonderful call - it truly warmed our hearts.  

Today, we have our first Zoom class with the BCSC dancers. We are excited to see how it goes and to explore this platform together. We plan to add in Zoom classes for our Student Division dancers, and we have some wonderful new ideas of fun and meaningful ways to connect with our littlest ones, our Preparatory Division dancers!

And now to today’s roll-outs!

  • Creative Movement

  • Pre-Ballet

  • Introduction to Ballet

  • Center Barre

And get ready to break out the popcorn – today’s At-Home BC Performance is Mr. Seymour’s lovely “Intermezzi” with Mr. Mannos at the piano. Enjoy…

Until tomorrow, beautiful dancers…

As we go dancing on,


🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Creative Movement: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1H2uc4vL73NJ8vTS0rhSOEj

Pre-Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GOfPk7rOrgUBtzQ3ejbDa9

Introduction to Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Fl-ciUpcDJo37T6ddeYx47

Center Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F2w4TcyOzbWmA55Tvu6Ssh

"Intermezzi": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbMiWeW7JEA&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HjkhhUZEQ1Vynbip5SlpyV&index=7&t=0s

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4/17/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Here it is snowing yet again, in mid-April! 

That reminds us afresh of the very lovely snowfall that appears in every performance of our production of The Nutcracker, so here are some other photos of it, along with some special Nutcracker memories we shall recount here for today’s Daily Update.

We remember the excitement of putting together the very first performances in one studio, then at 185 N. Wabash Avenue, back in 1996 or 1997. We called it “Highlights of the Nutcracker”, and started with, as we recall:

Act 1
The original Children’s March, choreographed by Ms. Blair
The Columbine doll dance, by Ms. Blair
The Soldier doll dance, by Mr. Duell
Waltz of the Snowflakes, by Mr. Duell

Act 2
Arabian solo - by Mr. Duell, created on Genevieve Custer (then 13 years old)
Spanish solo - by Mr. Duell, created on Faith Howard
Chinese solo - by Mr. Duell, created on Lydia Aurinko-Mostow
Myrlitons - by Ms. Blair, created on Lara O’Brien and 2 side girls
Waltz of the Flowers - by Mr. Duell, made on an ensemble - the first Dew Fairies were Alecia Medley and Thalia Aurinko-Mostow.

We had determined from the outset that our Nutcracker would always put serious dancing first to communicate the story, and that remains true of our production to this day.

Our production quickly evolved - by 1998 we were doing three performances of our “Highlights of the Nutcracker” in the Harold Washington Library Auditorium, adding in our first Party Scene, Battle Scene, Snow Pas de Deux, Angels, Polichinelles, and Finale. That grew to five performances in what is now Adventure Stage Chicago, 2000-2002. Then in 2003, we moved into our current Nutcracker home, the Athenaeum Theatre, dancing three public shows and one show for school children. We continued to expand our performances until they have become an eleven-show run of a very full production, now a cherished Chicago holiday tradition that provides quantum-leap artistic growth for our students. 

Quite a string of Nutcracker history gets called up by a late-season snow!

And now, today’s rollouts include Bravo Boys! With Mr. Seymour and Greg Smith, a Pointe Barre from Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler, Logan Hutt’s Cardio Barre, and as requested, a longer floor barre from Ms. Wright.


And remember, “Let the beauty we love be what we do” – one of our cherished Rumi quotes

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Extended Floor Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWCI3it0mLI&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GpyKvHGFbl3V9tmmfCy644&index=3&t=0s

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5TWO0W-kXs&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pPGxjC69KE&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=4s

 

Bravo Boys: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

 

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4/16/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 “The urge to move to music,” Mr. Balanchine said, “is an impulse born of joy.”  The spirit that inhabits a human being who dances is one of reverence, devotion, generosity, determination, painstaking care, and indeed, joy. That spirit permeates a dancer’s being, and emanates into the world through the way each dancer moves and expresses him or herself, the music, and the choreography.

Becoming a dancer is a calling, a long process of emotional and spiritual development as well as a physical one. The three go hand-in-hand as young dancers gradually learn how to maintain the lift of the upper body, shape arms and hands, turn out and point the feet, stretch and lengthen limbs into beautiful lines, and incorporate all of those into expressive movement.

The essence of this process is exquisitely captured in the opening of Balanchine’s first ballet choreographed in America, “Serenade”. The profound simplicity of that sequence, and its development as it unfolds to Tchaikovsky’s sublime music, make the deeply affecting, transporting experience we all know and love.

That sequence was recently creatively and compellingly captured in a new way by our very own Ballet Chicago Studio Company dancers as a gift to Patricia and me, in a beautiful video conceived and crafted by Dana Coons. Patricia and I were immediately moved to tears upon viewing it, and we are grateful beyond words to every single dancer.

As it happens I have a warm acquaintance of some years with the former chief dance critic of the New York Times, the London Times, and the London Financial Times, Alastair Macaulay. His writings on dance have been, and remain, an industry-wide paragon of perceptive insight and passionate eloquence.

We correspond as colleagues, and I sent him our “At-Home Serenade” on the evening of April 13. Little did I suspect how taken he would be with it, but very shortly he wrote me back saying:

“Dear Dan, This is so wonderful. Balanchine’s dictum ‘Put sixteen women on a stage and it’s everybody, it’s the world’ takes on new significance.

Best, Alastair”

He also expressed a wish to share it with his universe of contacts via every means at his disposal, and he has done so, sharing it with hundreds of his contacts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The video has well over four thousand views as of this morning, and many beautiful responses have been posted.

Patricia Linton, former ballet mistress to the Royal Ballet who runs an oral history archive “Voices of British Ballet”, wrote, “Well, I’ve started the day in tears...even so a reminder of the transcendent...of beauty, and of God... thank you, Chicago, and thank you, Alastair”.

Lesley Bories, former ballerina of Ballet Chicago and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, now with her own studio in Erie, PA, wrote, “This gives me chills and brought tears to my eyes.”

And Genevieve Custer-Weeks, former BC ballerina, professional dancer, Founder and CEO of the TUTU School, and Ballet Chicago Board Member wrote: “It’s hard for me to describe how much I love this . In an interview today I was talking about how my formative years at Ballet Chicago were, and specifically about how dancing alongside my own Ballet Chicago generation helped to form me as a dancer and a person. I once danced a spontaneous performance of Concerto Barocco in the middle of a summer downpour in downtown Chicago on a lunch break with my Ballet Chicago Studio Company peers. We got a soaked ovation, and it was one of the most memorable, transformative performances - maybe experiences - of my life. It's so beautiful to see a new generation at Ballet Chicago (and I know there have been - and will be - many others) find their own way to dance together, no matter what.”

We could go on with many such remarks, there were so many, but here is that video again, so you can view it in context of its growing place in the dance world. And please feel free to share on social media!

And now, today’s rollouts include BCSC Class from Mr. Seymour and John Mannos, and Logan Hutt’s Pilates® class.  We hope you are inspired by everything said about our At-Home Serenade, and that you will work extra hard!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Mr. Duell and Ms. Blair 

 

PS - tonight at 7pm on ABC, there is a Disney Family Singalong! Thought you all might enjoy tuning in 

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qES5zBKUKB8&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Advanced Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Gr6qzJEjjzK9yyWsRJTPU5

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4/15/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Happy what-would-have-been Tax Day!

It’s hard to believe it has been a month since most of us transitioned to stay-at-home practices — how is everyone doing? We miss you all so much and do wish we could be together, but we are all doing the right thing, so let’s keep it up.

We love receiving your messages, and wanted to share this one from Ballet Dad Josh Hunt. 

“Hey, just gotta say, y'all are doing a FANTASTIC job keeping the wheels on the bus moving! The regular content, the caring messages, the dedication, the communication, the heart...all of it!! 


I know these are uncharted waters, but - if there was a blueprint to how to do this, you should write it! Just another chapter in the story of WHY we are happy to be a part of the BC fam!


Love you all, stay safe and healthy and keep up the great work!!”

That message, among many others, warmed our hearts!

Now, going forward…

Dancers and Parents - We NEED you to send more practicing-at-home photos and videos.  We are planning to put together another “At-Home” class montage and want to include all of you.

And now for today’s roll-outs! 

We have Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 with Ms. Hutt and Jeremy Harris (Ms. Vonder Haar is currently out-of-town) and Wednesday Yoga with Maggie Vannucci.  And remember, as Ms. Strang said yesterday: “worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” Good words for all of us right now.

So, keep your heads up, keep your backs straight, and keep up the good work!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Beginner Ballet Class (Levels 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XP2mD7z1js&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CItb3cu_yx4&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

 

______________________________________________________________

4/14/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We are very fortunate to have in our midst parent and board member Jessica Strang Psy.D.  She has shared with us some advice on how to cope during this most unusual time, and we thought you might like to read what she has sent.

 “Now, more than ever, people have experienced extremes in almost all areas of their lives:  work situations, relationships, reduced interactions, ability to go to places and a lack of knowing “what will happen next” which has led to more feelings of hopelessness. Here are some tips that I have shared with clients during these uncertain times and please feel free to edit as you wish.

1. Being socially isolated doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself socially. While there is so much joy in seeing others face-to-face, until we are able to once again enjoy those interactions, I strongly recommend contacting someone in your social network at least once a day (via email, facetime, teleconferencing). Call people on the phone, schedule virtual hang outs/dinners/viewing parties, have daily check in times with people who are positive.

2. Get up every day, and get ready like you’re going somewhere and have something to do. Start your day with a schedule, a routine, a purpose. Some days may be harder than others so be flexible. However, as much as you can, create a small list of tasks you want to accomplish for the day that involve self-care, personal hygiene, exercise, socializing virtually.

3. Walk outside once a day. Maybe some days you may not feel like it- but you can walk for five minutes and build up from there. 

4. Limit how much news you are ingesting. Focus on news that pertains to where you live (messages from your local government) versus national news. Try to only take in small doses of news- you do not need to check all day so pick morning news or evening news. If something important happens, I promise that you will know about it.

5. Read, learn a new language, explore a virtual museum. These are all options that are not only free (check out the Chicago Public Library for free reading materials, Duolingo for languages and every museum and zoo have virtual tours) but educational. 

6. Do that hobby or activity you never had time for before. Bake, organize your home, watch that tv series that everyone is talking about. 

7. Journal, sketch, create art in any way that you can. Many artists in every genre are offering free online classes so add that to your daily schedule. 

8. Talk to a therapist. Every therapist is home bound too and all are offering teletherapy services.  A good place to find a therapist? www.psychologytoday.com - it will give you a therapist’s information, picture, bio.

The quote that has helped me is “worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”

We hope you find this helpful.  And please do feel free to reach out to Dr. Strang. 

jessica.strang@me.com
www.drjessicastrang.com

And now, for today’s rollouts, we have an Intermediate 1 Class with Ms. Vonder Haar and Greg Smith, and our “Step of the Week” is Double Pirouette from Fourth Position.  Remember to take a deep 4th, front knee over toe, and engage your hamstring on your back leg.

Stay strong and stay healthy everyone!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Intermediate 1 (3A & 3B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnGZxnvvFJg&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=0s

 

Step of the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pIplDp9vLw&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

______________________________________________________________

 

4/13/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you all had a blessed weekend and were able to spend quality time with your family.  

On Saturday, we had an inspiring Zoom meeting with nearly the entire Ballet Chicago Studio Company. It was our first one, and we have to say that seeing our students’ faces appear was deeply moving to us.  It also quickly became clear that they were much moved to see each other. The expression on the face of each dancer as we “took roll” is a priceless memory. 

As the meeting progressed, we informed them of the many ways we are holding out the prospect of Spring Repertory performances in early to late June at either the Harris Theater or Athenaeum Theatre. While having this discussion, something quite special happened... our dancers around the country openly expressed their worries, fears, and hopes about:

- Having to travel by air to Chicago from their respective home states

- Having to travel by public transportation within the metropolitan Chicago area 

- Depending on how long the stay-at-home order is in place, could they successfully put up performances when they have not had ongoing full conditioning in the studio yet

- Wanting to stay connected to BC no matter how long the crisis lasts

- Wanting to get back to the rehearsal process even if there is no performance 

These messages, so honestly expressed, so youthful yet so wise, inspire us and in truth, help guide us in our own decisions moving forward. We talked for a little over an hour, and in addition to discussing ballet, we heard their concerns about their safety, and the safety of their families, particularly from those whose immediate circle includes medical professionals.  

It was so good to be all together, and the dancers requested to have a Zoom meeting once a week, so we are going to do that. It made us think, provided we can coordinate schedules, that we would love to have a Zoom meeting with our younger students as well. Please let us know if this is something you would like to do. We think it would be fun and inspiring, and just as we experienced with the Studio Company, we think the dancers would love seeing each other!

And now for today’s classes - Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler’s Intermediate 2 class, and Emma Wittig’s isometric workout. We also have new coloring pages, ballet crossword, and word-search puzzles in the portal. Keep up the good work dancers – this won’t last forever!

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Intermediate 2 (Levels 4 & 5) Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK

 

Isometrics All Levels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FZITS6xtfs&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=3&t=0s

 

Isometrics BCSC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPREBQ6ySSc&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=1

 

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4/12/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Happy Easter!


Sending love and light from our home to yours, and wishing heartfelt Passover and Easter Blessings to all!

Today’s At-Home-Performance is Mr. Balanchine’s Who Cares! We thought it would be a really fun ballet for you to all see - so break out the popcorn, snuggle up together, and enjoy!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

PS – BC kids, you are given full permission to skip class today, and revel in spending time with your family.  
PPS - And to our BC families at large, we’d love to hear your stories - have you had Virtual Worship Services, a Virtual Seder with family, a Zoom Easter Dinner? Fill us in because we love you and miss you so much.

Many blessings to you all.

 

Ballet Chicago At-Home Performance, Who Cares?: www.bcadmin.org/portal/pages/?p=200411214317

______________________________________________________________

4/11/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

How is everyone doing?  

We are greatly heartened by the beautiful emails, text messages, and phone calls that we are getting from you. We are glad that you are so happy with the daily messages and material we are rolling out, but we are even more inspired by the sharing of your stories of closeness and connecting in such a meaningful way in your own homes. One parent wrote that it has been a blessing to have more of a daily family routine with shared meals, extended conversations, movie and game nights. Another said “I really like my kids” and another – “My wife is amazing - we haven’t spent this much time together in ages, and it is wonderful!”.  

Just goes to show that we can always find a silver lining even in the most trying of circumstances – let’s keep it up! We also want to let you know - we are honored that you are sharing your personal stories with us.

And now to today’s roll-outs!

  • Creative Movement

  • Pre-Ballet

  • Introduction to Ballet

  • Center Barre

  • BC Performance – Please enjoy this montage of ballets that we put together for our 2017 Gala, and Mr. Seymour’s LongLivingLine.

Passover and Easter Blessings to all!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Creative Movement: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1H2uc4vL73NJ8vTS0rhSOEj

 

Pre-Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GOfPk7rOrgUBtzQ3ejbDa9

 

Intro to Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Fl-ciUpcDJo37T6ddeYx47

 

Center Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F2w4TcyOzbWmA55Tvu6Ssh

 

Ballet Chicago At-Home Performances: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1HjkhhUZEQ1Vynbip5SlpyV

______________________________________________________________

4/10/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,


The Bravo Boys Class is here!  Mr. Seymour and Greg Smith, with some help from Quinn, have devised a wonderful class - you are all welcome to join in on the fun, even if you’re not a Bravo Boy. We also have Logan Hutt's Cardio Barre - are you starting to sweating?; and a lovely pointe barre from Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler.  Ladies, put on those toe shoes and get ready to relevé.


For all who are celebrating Passover, and for those who have begun Easter weekend observances, we understand how deeply this pandemic has affected us all. It is hard not to be able to go to our houses of worship, or be with our extended family during this time. Nonetheless, throughout human history, faith sustains us, and it will sustain us now.

On this Good Friday, I (Ms. Blair) am Catholic, so I will be observing silence between noon and 3pm, Mr.Duell is not, so he can talk all he wants. 


As we go through our observances, we pray that you are all blessed, and that you are all healthy and safe.


As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdjrzwmSHOM&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX&index=2&t=0s

 

Cardio Barre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--PW_nNrtWI&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Bravo Boys!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO

 

______________________________________________________________

4/09/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families, 

 

As promised in yesterday's daily update, here is the information on our new Gala plans.  Please look for the formal announcement to come soon! 

 

We would like everyone to join together on May 21st to virtually celebrate our Gala since our party at the Chicago Yacht Club on April 23rd had to be cancelled.  But we won't let that stop us!  We are excited to share with you our reinvented evening:

 

Give From Home Gala:  Ballet Chicago's Sterling Celebration

Please save the date this May 21st to join us for a virtual Give From Home Gala where you can bid on silent auction items as well as raise a paddle in celebration of the 25th year of the School of Ballet Chicago.

 

When:  May 21st, 2020

 

Where:  Your Living Room Couch, Kitchen Counter, or Bedroom

 

Who: All of our BC families + relatives and friends

 

Attire: Comfy Clothes Required, Pajamas a Plus!

 

Time: TBD

 

Details: BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage)

 

Additional details to follow!

 

And now for today's roll-outs!  We have a BCSC Class from Mr. Seymour and John Mannos, and Pilates® from Logan Hutt. We hope you enjoy them - keep working hard!

 

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTnWTncE0VE&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA&index=2&t=0s

 

Advanced Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Gr6qzJEjjzK9yyWsRJTPU5

______________________________________________________________

4/08/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you enjoyed the photos we sent yesterday of our flowering geranium and last year’s summer garden.  Seeing those photos reminded us of our work last summer, sitting in our garden, reading The Secret Garden, and beginning to lay the groundwork for this year’s new ballet.

I know you are all wondering what will happen with Spring Rep, the Annual School Performance, and what the next month or months will bring.  The truth is, we don’t yet know. It is not in our control when we will be able to return to the studio, but you can trust that we are preparing for all contingencies, and when the stay-at-home order is lifted, we’ll be ready.

What is in our control is this:

- Stay home, wash your hands frequently, and if you do have to go out, be diligent in practicing social distancing.  By doing so, we can all help flatten the curve, which ultimately will allow us to return to our more-normal lives. 

- Keep up with your daily lessons, not only your ballet lessons, but all the additional training we are providing for you. You too will then be ready – strong, stretched, and raring to go!

- Get up every day, get ready, make a schedule and stick to it, talk or face-time with friends and family, keep your spirits up.

Now, to share with you some of the things that are in place.  We currently have dates on hold at the Athenaeum Theatre for the first weekend of June, and the Harris Theater for the 2nd and 3rd weekends of June. This gives us flexibility for both Spring Rep and the Annual School Performance, and when we know the paths our city and state decide to take, we will make the best decisions for Ballet Chicago to take.  Also, Wardrobe Master Claire Lyons has done such beautiful work on our costumes for The Secret Garden – please see the butterfly and lobelia photos attached.  Mr. Seymour has also continued to work on costumes for Stravinsky Miniatures, dying leotards, tights, and making some really lovely headpieces – Look for those photos in a future update.

At this time, we are planning to go ahead with all of our summer training programs, and we have some really fun new Gala plans in place – more on that tomorrow!

Today’s rollouts include Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 with Ms. Vonder Haar and Jeremy Harris, and Wednesday Yoga with Maggie Vannucci.  And remember, ALL previous lessons are in the portal.

Stay safe, and please keep those photos and letters coming our way!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Beginner Ballet (1 & 2) w/ Ms. Vonder Haar, music by Greg Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T1wGMCY8HM&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5&index=2&t=0s

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z3YotBJcLU&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe&index=2&t=0s

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4/07/2020


Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

What a beautiful day! 

The increasing warmth of the weather reminds us that spring is here with its resurgence and renewal, and that winter is truly behind us.  We fervently hope that this pandemic will also move onward as soon as possible, and that the pattern of our daily lives will find a vital, refreshed new normal. 

Last night we were looking through some quotes, and we found this: “Sometimes we are tested, not to show our weakness, but to discover our strength.” As we face each day and navigate our way through, we are discovering strength. One strength that we are all finding is that we can do more than we might have imagined with our “At-Home” class curriculum, and that your growth can continue as the beautiful dancers and human beings we know and love. 

Like flowers that go dormant in the winter and emerge again in the spring, we have faith that you, our beloved dancers, will emerge from this period of time, this unusual test, return to our studios, and continue the miraculous growth we experience each day with you. 

You may not know this, but we plant a three-tier porch garden in the spring, and each fall, we bring most of the plants inside.  All winter long, our home is filled with many different kinds of plants - ivy plants, palms, prayer plants, spider plants, herbs, lilies, ferns, shamrocks, aloe, and geraniums – almost thirty in all! 

Yesterday one of our geraniums flowered. It lives in our den window and we photographed it against the night sky yesterday evening. After a winter of only showing leaves, its flowers burst forth – it was a delight to see.  We’ve attached the photo, and also images of our garden in full bloom. We love sharing these with you, and so hope you enjoy them.

And now, for today’s rollouts, we have an Intermediate 1 Class with Ms. Vonder Haar and Greg Smith, and our “Step of the Week” is arabesque, five of them to be exact!  We can’t wait to quiz you all on them when we get back to BC!

We love you.  Be mindful of your social distancing, do your classes and practice every day, and keep thinking of ways you can help out at home.

 


As we go dancing on,
 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Step of the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VSbH80lqUY&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z&index=2&t=0s

 

 

Intermediate 1 (3A/3B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdE0B8HrReQ&list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK&index=2&t=1s

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4/06/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,


We thought we’d start out today’s message with a beautiful, inspirational quote from Martha Graham. She said “Stand up! Keep your backs straight! Remember this is where your wings grow.” We can all benefit from being reminded to stand up for ourselves and for our community, both here at-home and around the globe. And we think sprouting wings, wings of hope, creativity, and compassion, is a mighty fine idea!


We hope you enjoyed your Music Theory lesson, the Performance of “Serenade”, and the Ballet Chicago Studio Company’s “At-Home Serenade.” Wasn’t that just breathtaking? Truly inspiring beyond words.


Today’s new classes include Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler’s Intermediate class, and another isometric workout from Emma Wittig. Emma is getting stronger by the day, and wasn’t it wonderful to receive the news that Ms. Green and her husband Danny Shapiro, are going to have another baby!  We know their little boy Arthur, cute and sweet as can be, is just going to love having a little brother or sister.

We also wanted to ask if you saw the video on how to make masks out of cloth napkins, and to let you know that the crossword, word search, and coloring pages on the portal have been updated. Enjoy!

We love you all. Stand tall, wear your masks, and let’s all practice kindness.

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell
 

 

Advanced Isometrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gP8qNWvF1Q&list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD&index=2&t=17s

 

Ballet Chicago Intermediate Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK

 

Please find all at home ballet resources on our parent portal. Please note, our Youtube class videos are unlisted. You will only be able to access them through the links that we provide, not by navigating our Youtube channel.


Past Ballet Chicago Daily Parent Updates

 

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4/05/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

On this Sunday afternoon, we hope you are all nestled in and reveling in spending time with each other. The challenges of this pandemic have afforded us all the luxury of spending more time with each other than we ever have. It has also forced us to stretch in new directions on sudden notice, with no previous road map to go by. For us as a ballet school, this applies especially to teaching dance when the physical space it requires isn’t available for a period of time.

But, invoking the notion that unusual problems bring unusual opportunities, we have fast-tracked our learning curve to deliver as much content as we could on such short notice, and are finding that the operating culture of Ballet Chicago is beautifully reflected in the many positive responses we have received from dancers and parents alike. A creative response that emerged just yesterday is a beautifully constructed video conceived and executed by BC dancer Dana Coons. It makes a compelling lead-in to today’s installment of “Ballet Chicago At-Home Performances”, Mr. Balanchine’s full “Serenade”, performed by the Ballet Chicago Studio Company at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Enjoy!

We have another very special addition for you today – a Music Theory lesson from our own Jeremy Harris. Mr. Balanchine said “Music is the floor upon which we dance”. Think about that for a moment. The music we dance to defines the mood and the character of each ballet we perform.  And think about how much inspiration you get each day dancing to live music from our highly skilled pianists. Music and ballet are inseparable, and we felt that it would be most valuable for our beautiful students to have a better understanding of the sibling relationship between the two art forms.

The Learning Curve of Virtual Ballet Education is inspiring us to stretch in different ways, and the effort we put out each day reminds us that we can find a silver lining in every situation if we look with our hearts.

Many blessings to you all. We very much look forward to hearing your feedback regarding today’s roll-outs.

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Serenade: www.bcadmin.org/portal/pages/?p=200405093010

 

At-Home Serenade: www.bcadmin.org/portal/pages/?p=200405111518

 

Music Theory w/ Jeremy Harris: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F_H0-LCJh6w2D-K80wRP2c

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4/04/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,


Last night we successfully filed our Cares Act Payroll Protection Program (PPP) application with the federal government (literally within minutes of the application becoming available). This makes us eligible for funds to cover payroll, rent and utilities, should we need them. On Monday we will be filing the Arts Illinois grant application. As we discussed in our parent update yesterday, we are protecting the solvency of Ballet Chicago and preparing for the return of our students, and all of you!


We also want to let you know that we have enlisted our Wardrobe Master, Claire Lyons, to spend her time making masks for medical workers. This idea was inspired by none other than our Marketing Manager, Margaret Najarian, who reached out to me and told me that she was making masks for medical professionals, and needed more elastic to finish them. We then reached out to parent and ER doctor, Peter Thompson, and shared with him the patterns she had been using, provided by Chicago doctor Lauren Streicher, former BC parent and board member - see how amazing the BC family is!


Dr. Thompson weighed in, selected the one they needed most, and now Margaret and Claire are making masks in addition to their already massive responsibilities - BRAVISSIMO!! Yesterday I ordered 4 bolts of elastic and 80 yards of 100% cotton fabric so that Margaret and Claire may continue this most important work. We are so proud of them, and we are so honored to be helping our healthcare workers and first responders across our city. If any of you can contribute to making masks, please let us know. Those of you at home, wanting to make your own, please see the link below that our Aunt Allice set to us for how you can make masks out of cloth napkins.


And now to today’s roll-outs!
-Creative Movement
-Pre-Ballet
-Introduction to Ballet
-Center Barre
-BC Performance - Celestial Rites 2013

BC Kids - Keep those photos, videos, and time sheets coming - we miss you and want to hear from you. And above all stay home, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and stay healthy! We love you all so dearly.

As we go dancing on,


🤗💞Ms. Blair (and Mr. Duell)

 

Creative Movement: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1H2uc4vL73NJ8vTS0rhSOEj

 

Pre-Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GOfPk7rOrgUBtzQ3ejbDa9

 

Intro to Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Fl-ciUpcDJo37T6ddeYx47

 

Center Barre w. Ms. Wright & Casey Cross: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F2w4TcyOzbWmA55Tvu6Ssh

 

Ballet Chicago Performance, "Celestial Rites": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyz7w3jy-ZM&list=PLOWoHf56bP1HjkhhUZEQ1Vynbip5SlpyV&index=2&t=0s

 

No-Sew Pleated Face Mask with Handkerchief and Hair Tie: http://blog.japanesecreations.com/no-sew-face-mask-with-handkerchief-and-hair-tie

______________________________________________________________

 

4/03/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

How is everyone doing?  You are all in our hearts and our prayers, and we hope you are healthy.

We have been incredibly busy, not only with our daily roll-out of classes and activities, but also with filing for all the local, state and federal relief programs that will assist in sustaining us through and beyond this pandemic.  You can trust that Ballet Chicago will be ready to go when the shelter-in-place orders are lifted!

Today’s features are:

- A message from Mr. Seymour to the Bravo Boys contingent
- A Pointe Barre from Ms. Green - look for a wonderful surprise message in her into
- A Cardio Barre from Logan Hutt


In addition to today’s roll out of At-Home Class Curriculum, we offer a special first installment of a new feature, “Ballet Chicago Parent Heroes on the Front Lines”. We thank the school parents, and our Development Associate Megan Sindelar, for the wonderful idea, and for compiling the stories.

Please stay safe, stay home, and wash your hands…

As we go dancing on,


🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Pointe Barre w/ Mrs. Green: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX

 

Cardio Barre w/ Logan Hutt: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA

 

A message from Mr. Seymour to Bravo Boys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCcKFCNwLaI&list=PLOWoHf56bP1F8Ff_HQrFMANjkz6p-EqgO&index=2&t=0s

 

Ballet Chicago Parent Heroes on the Front Lines: https://www.balletchicago.org/so/17N4i_ZHs?cid=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000#/main

 

______________________________________________________________

 

4/02/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

“Throwback Thursday” - On Thursday, March 12, a mere three weeks ago, we were all at Ballet Chicago, taking classes and anticipating a busy weekend of classes and rehearsals. The COVID-19 crisis had not yet been called a national pandemic.

That day seems like three months ago!

By the following Thursday we were rolling out a comprehensive daily “Class at Home” curriculum, which we continue with today’s offerings.

The first is a Pilates class from Logan Hutt, and the 2nd an Advanced class from Mr. Seymour and Maestro Mannos. See Mr. Seymour’s note to you below.

Keep your at-home videos coming! They are a wonderful means of staying connected. And please maintain all best practices to stay healthy and safe.

As we go dancing on*,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell


Hello Dancers and BC families! Mr. Seymour here. 

Missing you all very much and thinking of you all daily. It was such a pleasure to create a first “at home” class for you all with beautiful music from John Mannos. Staying active is quintessential at this time. I love seeing all the videos and pictures of you dancing at home! Keep it up and continue sending them in. The energy through our entire organization is inspiring and is motivating for us to push for more every day. I’ve been making costumes for, what someday will be, the premier of “Stravinsky Miniatures” and it has led me to imagine a number of ideas for ballets we will dance in the future. As dancers, you hold the physical, emotional and creative resilience to power you through the ups and downs of this time. Sending so much love out to all of you! 

Until soon, 
Ted Seymour 

*PLEASE NOTE - In case you didn’t see the update on the BC website, Ballet Chicago will remain on hiatus through April 30, 2020. 

 

Logan Hutt's Pilates Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA

 

Advanced Ballet w/ Mr. Seymour and Maestro Mannos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Gr6qzJEjjzK9yyWsRJTPU5

______________________________________________________________

4/01/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,


We all know the extraordinary joy and love that pets bring into our lives. Our black Lab mix Gabe is that pet for us. We rescued him eight years ago today at an adoption event near our home. Actually, he rescued us! We call this day our “Gabe Gotcha Day”. Since that day he has never looked back, and neither have we. We lost our hearts to him the moment he crawled onto Miss Blair’s shoulder at the adoption event, and he has blessed our home and our lives in countless ways ever since.


And now to today’s rollouts! Ms. Vondeer Haar and pianist Greg Smith have prepared a Level 1 and 2 class for you, and Logan has provided another Yoga class. The yoga video is taking a long time to upload – our amazing marketing team has been working on it since 9am – but you should have access to it by 7pm.


We hope you enjoy your new lessons, and the photos and videos of our beloved Gabe. We also pray that you are all staying healthy.

As we go dancing on,


🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Ballet 1 & 2 Class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9KF6m29UTE&list=PLOWoHf56bP1FTkLyRVs_NzKyLHv3kZDQW&index=2&t=1s

 

Yogahttps://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe

 

Gabe Gotcha Day: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1G6l01tp7DYYH6sgIDgxegg

 

______________________________________________________________

 

3/31/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We are grateful that you all love your online curriculum, and in this difficult time, that you are keeping up with your tuition. It enables us to keep our amazing staff, faculty, and accompanists employed, and allows us to bring you all of the lessons that are caringly prepared for you every single day. We realize that it is not the same as being together in person, and we all miss you as much as you miss us, but we have found a way to continue our work together – this is of paramount importance.

As we find our way through this pandemic, our hope is that if may teach us, teach our world to be kinder, more encouraging, more compassionate. These are the human guiding principles with which we founded Ballet Chicago, and it is the reason you all love it so much, why it truly is a family, and why it is so very special.

 

BC Dancers – doing the next right thing is a moral choice. As we face each day, and we make the choice to stay home for the good of all, also make the choice to stand by each other - we are not only helping others, but are strengthening our own moral compass. THAT, dear students, just like the self-discipline you learn each day in your ballet classes, is a character trait that will stand by you throughout your life.

We will get through this, and when this most challenging time is over, we will join together, we will celebrate our strength, our humanity, and be grateful for the choices we have made. And we will delight in dancing together again!

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Ms. Wright Center Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1F2w4TcyOzbWmA55Tvu6Ssh

 

Step of the week: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z

 

PS - Here is our "At-Home Class" overview that we put together for the Harris Theater at their request. This will be shared with the Harris Theater Community. Enjoy! 

 

At home class overview: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GVCpIWkFONBhzGgvI9qWyV

______________________________________________________________

3/30/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope you enjoyed your weekend BC Performances, your Annual School Performance music and the surprise, revised Beatles tune ”I gotta wash my hands”!  Today’s At-Home-Class additions include Ms. Green sending you class from her home, and another isometric workout provided by Emma Wittig.

We are quite excited to tell you that we will be expanding our At-Home Class Curriculum through an enhanced collaboration between teachers and pianists. As this will all be done via technology, no one will be traveling or in the same space. We hope to get this to you by the middle to end of this week - the plan for daily rollouts is as follows:

Mondays: 

 

Ballet 4B and 5B Technique - Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler

Isometric Workout - Emma Wittig

Tuesdays: 

Ballet 3A and 3B Technique: Ms. Vonder Haar and Greg Smith

Step of the Week: Ms. Blair or Mr. Seymour

Wednesdays: 

Ballet 1 and 2 Technique: Ms. Vonder Haar and Greg Smith

Yoga: Maggie Vannucci

 

Thursdays: 

BCSC Technique: Mr. Seymour and John Mannos

Pilates®: Logan Hutt

 

Fridays:

Pointe Barre: Ms. Green and Kyle Kunkler

Bravo Boys: Mr. Seymour and Greg Smith

Cardio Barre: Logan Hutt

 

Saturdays:

Creative Movement : Ms. Hurst, Ms. Heavisides and John Mannos

Pre-Ballet: Ms. Alvarado and Casey Cross

Introduction to Ballet: Ms. Heavisides and Jeremy Harris

Int/Adv Center Barre: Ms. Wright & Casey Cross

BC Performance 

 

Sundays:

Music Theory: Jeremy Harris

BC Performance

 

 

This is the first time we are trying this, so please be patient with us. That said, we feel this will bring you an experience that feels more like taking your classes at Ballet Chicago. 

Stay healthy, stay safe, stay home, and wash your hands!

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Emma Wittig: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD

 

Mrs. Green's class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FFWiXKOGnUQ3BhUk7XsXz5

 

______________________________________________________________

 

3/29/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

We hope this day finds you able to rest, and join together to enjoy the fourth installment of “Ballet Chicago At-Home Performances”.

Today’s video is my five-part work, “Ellington Suite”, set to a wide-ranging score by the great and inimitable Duke Ellington. His Symphonic jazz score, “The River“, is the only work he wrote for full orchestra.

A bit more history here: when I was performing the role of Albrecht as a guest artist for Richmond Ballet‘s “Giselle” in 1986, I attended a live performance of the Richmond Symphony led by the distinguished conductor Akira Endo. “The River” was on the program. I had never heard it before, and was immediately entranced by its charm, character, power, and changing moods. I knew right then and there that one day I would choreograph this music.

That chance came in the summer of 1987 as part of a choreography project I directed that year at Jacob’s Pillow involving dancers of the New York City ballet. Yes, this ballet had its debut as “River Suite”, performed by dancers of the New York City Ballet!  

A mere few weeks later the ballet was performed by the dancers of Chicago City Ballet, and staged by none other than Patricia Blair, our very own Miss Blair! (How that happened is quite a story in itself, to be told at another time). The work was part of a full evening danced by Chicago City Ballet on the stage of the iconic Chicago Theater.

After opening our school in January 1995, I revived the Ballet in 1998, re-titled it “Ellington Suite”, revised the choreography, and in 1999 or 2000 added a Men’s Dance.

An audience favorite ever since, the Ballet’s five movements evoke the changing moods and character of Duke Ellington‘s inspiration for this music, the mighty Mississippi.

I hope you enjoy it!

As we go dancing on,

Mr. Duell
(and 🤗💞 Ms. Blair)

 

Ellington Suite: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1HjkhhUZEQ1Vynbip5SlpyV

PS - We wanted to share with you a beautiful letter that we received from BCSC dancer Mia Thompson’s mother. It deeply impacted us and shored us up as we are also finding our way through each day - figuring out how to keep Ballet Chicago present in your lives, figuring out how to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. It greatly moved us. Here is what she wrote:

Dear Ballet Chicago directors,

As I write this, I am sitting in my living room watching two of your dedicated studio company dancers doing an abdominal workout and stretch. They just completed technique and center with (if I may say so) a very entertaining playlist of music. They have coated our wood floors with rosin, moved our furniture around, and looked after one another's safety as they attempt to pirouette in a less than ideal environment. Our home has been filled with the beauty of dance and music during a time of tremendous uncertainty, stress and honestly, yes, some fear.

Good leadership willingly takes risks and makes tough choices when faced with challenge. Ballet Chicago demonstrated that kind of leadership this past month of March 2020. Closing the studio the weekend before even the public school system in Chicago officially closed their classrooms was a swift and confident display of the concern that Ballet Chicago has, not only for the dancers and staff, but for Chicago's general public. Your decision to continue to pay your faculty and staff again reiterated the forethought required in a decision of this gravity. As a family with an emergency physician working on the front lines and two members of the family with health risks, we cannot possibly underscore the level of trust this has given us in you.

So many joys have come to us through Ballet Chicago, and during this pandemic, with all the overwhelming news coming through social media and even from the front lines at the ER, the home ballet resources have unexpectedly been a source of happiness for all of us! The dancers were discouraged by being quarantined. Their anticipation of the spring show and all that they have worked hard to achieve is postponed. We also know that they are longing for connection with other dancers and the faculty. They are pressing on even faced with this obstacle, as ballerinas do and as you have trained them to do. With your online resources, video classes, and the accountability of your emails, they simply will not give up. In the meantime, our family is reaping the benefit of being quarantined with two ballerinas. I've even taken class with them, and NO, the video of that class will not be posted.

With Peter seeing more cases of COVID-19 everyday in the ER, we are counting on every single person to do their part. Please make masks the fashion and stay six feet apart - a grand battement or a fouette! From our family to yours, to the faculty, and to all the other Ballet Chicago families, we say, "Thank you!" You've done your part. Stay the course so that this pandemic can be overcome swiftly and lives saved.

With deepest gratitude,

Rosana Thompson

______________________________________________________________

3/28/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

On a normal Saturday we would be sharing the beautiful space at Ballet Chicago with you, busy with classes for training, and with rehearsals preparing for Ballet Chicago’s Spring Repertory and Annual School Performance.

Speaking of the Annual School Performance, attached is the music for your dances! Now you can practice at home, and we can’t wait to see your delight as well as your progress. In addition to the music for your dances, we added a surprise, “revised” Beatles tune. Please let us know what you think of it!

And Parents, if you have videos from last year’s Annual School Performance, please forward them to us at balletchicago@balletchicago.org. We would love to share the full program with our entire school!

In our temporary “new normal”, sequestered at home with lots of time on your hands, we thought you’d enjoy spending some of that time watching our beautiful young artists in performance. Today’s performance video is Mr. Seymour’s captivating “Danzon!”, to the delightful music of the Mexican composer Arturo Marquez. As you watch, take note of how Mr. Seymour’s choreography captures the Latin flavor and rhythms of the composer’s music. This ballet is a lot of fun - you’ll all be saying, “Me gusto mucho!”

As we go dancing on,


🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Annual School Performance Music: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FpBYbhHkRMWqCyjt1ltCsM

 

Danzon!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1HjkhhUZEQ1Vynbip5SlpyV

______________________________________________________________

3/27/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

Another day, another rollout for you! Today’s ”at-home-class” additions are wonderful!

 

The first is a video of Ms. Green, sending you class from her home.  Her adorable little boy, Arthur, joins in!

 

We also have a full barre recorded by our wonderful Principal Pianist John Mannos. You can practice your written class plan to his beautiful music, or you can simply turn it on and do all of your most favorite combinations.  We think everyone, even our littlest ones, will enjoy dancing to his fun and inspired melodies. It can even bring moments of joyous listening to our parents.

 

BC kids - a reminder to keep track of your attendance sheets.  Ms. Rosenfeld will be contacting you to collect them!

 

Blessings and hugs to you all.

 

As we go dancing on,

 

Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

Mrs. Green's Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Ez9-BOLC_RNN2LJMFhaTSK

 

Mr. Mannos Barre music: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1H3ZliAD9gZpu4jJ75jLqK- 

_____________________________________________________________

 

3/26/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

Today’s ”at-home-class” additions are videos of “The Long One” and a Pilates® session!

We know how much you all LOVE doing The Long One, so we are very happy to be able to bring it to you. Many of you may not know the history of The Long One, so we thought we’d share it with you. Back in 1984, when I (Ms. Blair) was still performing and also newly taking on the responsibility of being one of the company’s Ballet Masters, I made the very first Long One. It was a way to get us going during extensive touring. Making bus, train, and air trips all over the country, it was no easy feat to get our bodies malleable for long days of classes, rehearsals and performances. Given our grueling travel schedule, it became a tool we all relied on. The Long One has morphed over the years. Mr. Duell added the Gyro stretch in the 90’s, and what was originally a side-to-side pulling barre stretch was replaced by Ms. Rozann’s grand plié in 2nd stretch – that happened after the pulling stretch broke a few studio barres!

And here’s a fun fact - several years back, former BC dancers around the globe held a Long One conference via Facebook, showing the version known to them from their time at BC. We suspect that in the future, you’ll all still be doing the Long One too!

We also have class footage from our Pilates® teacher, Logan Hutt. Did you all know that Logan is Ms. Vonder Haar’s daughter? Pilates® improves flexibility, promotes increased muscle strength and tone in the core muscles of the body, and enhances muscle control of your back and limbs. It is a health regimen for everyone, helps boost your mental health, and improves focus and concentration. We know you all will benefit from the Pilates® classes!

Stay healthy, and keep those photos and videos coming to us – they brighten our days and keep us all connected!

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

 

The Long One: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1EBACsc9Y7YKor6ygP27aQi

 

Pilates®: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FofRMe8TGeIcx_ow52FHrA

______________________________________________________________

3/25/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

The Preparatory Division videos are here!  We can’t wait to see photos and videos of our Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet, and Introduction to Ballet students enjoying their Ballet Chicago classes at home! 

 

We also have class from our yoga teacher Maggie Vannucci. Those of you who take the yoga classes know the benefits, but for those who don’t, this might be a good time to start. Yoga builds strength, increases flexibility, and improves posture. It also reduces stress, increases blood flow, and boosts your immune system.  At this challenging time, we could all avail ourselves of these benefits - we hope your entire family can yoga together.

 

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the doctors, nurses and first responders in our BC Family.  You are in our prayers; we are so very grateful for your courage and your care. 

And to our full BC Family, we hope that you are safe and healthy.  We miss all of you so much, and can’t wait to be together again.  

 

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

PS - BC Students, we are hearing from parents that quite a few of you are persistently petitioning to go out and get together with your friends.  Please don’t! We all miss each other, miss our friends, our family members, but we need to do this. All of us appreciate your cooperation.

 

 

Prep Division videos:

 

Creative Movement: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1H2uc4vL73NJ8vTS0rhSOEj

 

Pre-Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GOfPk7rOrgUBtzQ3ejbDa9

 

Intro to Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Fl-ciUpcDJo37T6ddeYx47

 

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1HeKE7tdrI6NtqWE8J4Tpxe

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3/24/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

As we write this, the sun is shining, the skies are clearing, and it has been wonderful to receive so many comments, photos and videos from you! It keeps us all connected in the most wonderful way. We are grateful for all that our staff, faculty and pianists are doing – working hard every day to bring you the lessons and fun supplements that you are receiving. And we are so very grateful for the support and encouragement from our Ballet Chicago Families!

Preparatory Division Student and Parents, we thank you for your patience - your class videos are being finished and are on their way to you!  

Today’s additions to your at-home training includes Ms. Wright’s Floor Barre, and a new element called “Step of the Week”.  This week we’ll be focusing on glissade (phonetic pronunciation - glee SOD). We want all of our beautiful students to practice and hone their glissades every day!

BC Students, we do hope you are all settling into your new routine, and that you are doing all of your classwork.  AND perhaps your parents would like some help at home. Maybe you can make a “Daily Chores Chart” to show how you are contributing - keeping up with tidying your rooms, house cleaning, dishes and laundry. 😉

We hope you enjoy today’s rollouts, and stay tuned for what’s coming tomorrow…

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Step of the Day: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FgPdD9u-h1gsq06KbFJP5z

 

Floor Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GpyKvHGFbl3V9tmmfCy644

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3/23/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

We hope you had a good weekend!

Yesterday, we took a walk with our pup Gabe. We went to a deserted soccer field near our apartment and Gabe spent ½ hour jumping and fetching, tearing around the field in joyous abandon. Then when we got home, who should walk by but Ballet 2 Mathilda and her dad! We shared a full “social distance’ conversation as the snow began to fall. It sure was great to see one of our students – we miss you all so much…

 

Today’s additions to your at-home training includes the following:

  • A full isometric workout by BCSC Studio Company member and certified personal trainer, Emma Wittig

  • Photos and videos of BC dancers sharing their at-home training

 

We have also added more coloring pages and crossword puzzles, as well as a “Dancer Goal Sheet” sent in by Ms. Vonder Haar.  

 

Finally, we greatly encourage you to comment on the videos and other content we are sharing. We want to keep our community connected and supportive, and your feedback will help us to navigate this new way of reaching our students.

 

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

Isometrics: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GinruvUSUfq4yVWKOpfZPD

 

Dancers at home: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1EV-m4OxHcgBnQK-mXTsXlH

 

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3/22/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

On the first full day of “shelter-in-place”, we have already received warm and enthusiastic feedback in response to the At-Home Lesson Plans and Videos we have sent to you. We are so very grateful that you feel good about what we’ve put together!

 

Materials in the works:

  • Creative Movement Class Video

  • Pre-Ballet Class Video

  • Intro to Ballet Class Video

  • Ms. Green giving class from her home

  • Maggie Vannucci guiding us through her Yoga classes from her home

  • BCSC member and personal trainer, Emma Witting providing isometric workouts; she’s sending them to us from her family home in Wisconsin

  • Principal pianist John Mannos recording music for our Prep Division Students to dance to.

  • And, our “Step of the Week” to be sent each Tuesday

Below is the video link of our second installment of “Ballet Chicago At-Home Performances”, and your weekly attendance sheets. You can print the sheets, or make your own chart to fill out. Please record how much time you spent daily on each of the activities we have provided for you. 

 

Attendance sheets are “greatly encouraged” for several reasons:

  • Parents can use them as a tool to help keep their children focused on fulfilling their daily goals, enhancing structure in this time of extended home confinement.

  • Students can develop discipline and a sense of pride in producing their own record of fulfilling a regimen on the honor system.

  • Day-by-day tracking can be fun.

Ms. Hurst and Ms. Rosenfeld will be following up with you to collect and record your work. 

 

Parents, please feel free to take advantage of the isometric workouts, yoga, stretch, and of course, the BC performances! We all need tools to help cope with our temporary new normal.

 

And BC students, don’t forget to take photos and record videos of you doing your BC lessons and activities. We are very much looking forward to seeing your photos and videos, sharing how you are all “Ballet Chicagoing” at home

 

We hope you are all safely ensconced, that you are healthy, and adjusting to our new normal with peacefulness and purpose. We also hope you have time to relax a bit.

 

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

Secrets de Printemps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABBtFK8VzSg

 

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3/21/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

As promised, below is the video link of our first edition of “Ballet Chicago At-Home Performances”.

We are happy to say we have another fun project for you!

We’d love you to share short videos or photos of you, our beautiful Ballet Chicago dancers, participating in the lesson plans! It would be so much fun to see all of you working hard at home, and will warm all of our hearts to share among our Ballet Chicago community, keep us all connected, spread morale, and keep us all motivated!

Please send all content to balletchicago@balletchicago.org with the subject line "At home lessons" and let us know in the body of the email that we have your permission to share with our Ballet Chicago community.

We look forward to seeing all of our dancers in action!
And hopefully some parent workouts as well.

As we go dancing on,

🤗💞Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

Hansel and Gretel: https://youtu.be/EIeXkD_ek94

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3/20/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

Happy chilly first day of Spring,

 ❄️ 🌷 🌸 🌺 ❄️

 

By now you will have all received the first roll-out of Ballet Chicago’s At-Home Classwork that we sent out last night. Today’s additions include a pointe barre and a stretch class, links below, and this weekend you will receive videos of Mr. Duell’s Hansel and Gretel and Mr. Seymour’s Secrets de Printemps.  We hope you will all have a moment to curl up together on the couch to watch these beautiful ballets.

 

To all our beautiful students:

How are you?

Are the lesson plans easy to understand?  

Have you done class with the videos?

Did anyone complete the crossword puzzle?

 

And while you are waiting for us to get the attendance sheets to you, we’d love you to write down how much time you are spending on your barre, your isometrics, and your stretches each day!  We want you all to come back healthy and strong and stretched!

 

As we go dancing on,

 

🤗💞 Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

Stretch Class: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1GGOnrEVbJTlz6gMQCq2ZgX

Pointe Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1Fayw3ZLu8HRty--dWCEFTz

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3/19/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

Progress! 

 

Here are your written lesson plans and the first of your videos to dance along with. 

The video links are at the end of this message, and the written lesson plans can be found on the parent portal as well in the "At Home Ballet Resources" quick link. 

 

We have an exciting full plan in place, including attendance sheets, that we will be sharing with you in the next days!

 

And parents, we haven’t forgotten you! We know that none of can go to the gym or swim, or even attend your weekly classes at Ballet Chicago.  So, we’ve included all of you in our at-home class plans as well.

 

Stay healthy, stay tuned…

 

Ms. Blair and Mr. Duell

 

PS - And kids, wash your hands, practice your plies, tune-up your tendus, and stay home!!!!

 

Ballet 1 & 2 Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1FTkLyRVs_NzKyLHv3kZDQW

Ballet 3-5 Barre: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOWoHf56bP1EnANJP7VOsNXjf4XHm4qcW

Ballet 6 & 7 World Ballet day Barre: https://www.facebook.com/74657227712/videos/1304893583023527/  

 

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3/18/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

Today we are hard at work in the studio putting together the videos for you to dance at home! 

 

Myself, Mr Duell, Mr. Seymour, pianists John Mannos and Casey Cross, Marketing Manager Margaret Najarian and dancers Kat Alvarado and Hayley Lampariello assembled this morning and have been filming all day.

 

We are very excited to get these videos to you; we think you will greatly enjoy them!

 

Don’t worry, we are following all health and safety measures, washing our hands a lot and social distancing in the extreme.

 

Please stay tuned for more information and content to be released!

 

 Ms. Blair

 

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3/17/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 🌈

 

Yesterday we met, all six feet apart, to put in place our plan to make videos for our students to dance at home. Tomorrow we plan to spend the day filming. If that becomes not possible due to safety concerns, we will find other ways to reach you through sharing Ballet Chicago performance videos and a private channel of classes and workout routines. 

In the meantime, please enjoy this video that we put together for our Illinois Arts Council grant application.  It features “Highlights of Balanchine and Beyond 2019”.

Video link here

Password: 2020IACA

We hope you are all safe and healthy  🤗💞,

Patricia Blair and Daniel Duell

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3/14/2020

Dear Ballet Chicago Families,

At Ballet Chicago, there is no higher priority than the health and well-being of our employees, students and their families. Our commitment to the entire Ballet Chicago community remains steadfast. To that end, all staff, faculty, and accompanists will remain employed during this period. This is important to ensure that the teachers and the pianists that you all love so much will remain intact and will be there to welcome you back when this break is over. We are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support from our Ballet Chicago families and our board during this difficult time. With your commitment, alongside ours, we will ensure the financial health and longevity of the Ballet Chicago we all love so much.

We will be meeting on Monday to put in place the lesson plans and videos that we will be sending to our beautiful students. We will update you all when they will be sent, and when each subsequent at-home lessons will be coming your way.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and support as we continue to navigate this challenging and rapidly changing situation. Thank you very much for your continued loyalty and support. By pulling together, we will all come out of this healthy, strong, and ready to resume our beloved in-studio activities!

With our very best wishes,

Patricia Blair and Daniel Duell

 

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3/13/2020

 

Dear Ballet Chicago Community,

 

Out of an abundance of caution, and with the safety and health of our entire community at heart, we have decided to accelerate and extend our Spring break, beginning Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, April 12, 2020. We will continue to communicate with all of you as the Coronavirus situation evolves and will be in touch about at-home lesson plans.

 

Our commitment to inspiring and training our students is ongoing, and with moving to weekly lesson plans, we feel we can keep everyone safe and moving forward.

 

We will also be sending updates on plans for our 25th Anniversary Balanchine + Beyond Season and our Sterling Gala as we are working with the Harris Theater and the Chicago Yacht Club to put in place alternate dates should they be needed.

 

Please continue to monitor our website, our Parent Portal homepage, and the new COVID-19 section for updates and supplementary information. We wish continued health for all of you; you are all in our prayers. Please keep us in yours as well.

 

With all best wishes,

 

Patricia Blair

Associate Artistic Director and School Director

 

Daniel Duell

Founder and Artistic Director

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OTHER RESOURCES

For more information, and to stay-up-to-date on the evolving COVID-19 situation, see these sites:

The World Health Organization

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Public Health Seattle and King County

Washington State Department of Health

Guidance for Travelers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

© 2020 Ballet Chicago

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