Breaking Ground: The Black Box Addition

 

The groundbreaking of the new black box addition to the Auer Center for Arts and Culture took place Wednesday morning, May 29. Over 60 people gathered on the appropriately beautiful summer day to mark the monumental occasion.

Each of the short speeches given to commemorate the event had similar themes. Words about expanding the cultural representation and improving the quality of life for individuals in Fort Wayne would highlight the necessity of the new theatre.

“There are a tremendous group of talented people looking to shape culture in our community,” one speaker described.

“Arts United is at the front of creating that.”

When the speeches were over, shovels hit the ground to break the dirt and signify the start of a new artistic beginning.

Simultaneously, Lucia Rogers, Felicity Nicholson, Juanita Araque – all in white tutus – and Talbot Rue – in a white dress shirt and black bottoms – emerged from the building and lay on the dirt as if dead.

They gracefully sat in the ground, and when the shovels stopped moving and haunting music began to play, they began to contort to life. From out of the dirt, the four dancers created beauty.

To most people’s surprise, while the dancers were stretching to the sky, color poured down from the tree they were dancing underneath. The dancers were coated in first pink, then yellow, and finally blue. They danced amidst a rain of color, and shortly after ended, standing strongly and proudly.

 

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Dancers from Fort Wayne Ballet demonstrate some of the innovative performances that can be held in the new ArtsLab black box space being constructed at the Auer Center for Arts and Culture. (By Kevin Kilbane of The News-Sentinel)

 

The construction will begin next Thursday, which means slight adjustments will need to be made when looking for parking. An update with more details will be released soon.

 

And the recipients are…

At the end of each year’s Secondary Showcase, the Most Improved Award and the Lindsay Katherine Hatch Scholarship are awarded to two individuals who have most exemplified their respective criteria. The upper levels have a higher attendance and responsibility requirement, so the faculty’s consideration for these awards begins there.
Winner of the Most Improved Award:

The student chosen for this award must have exceptional attendance, attitude, and conduct. They must also have shown the most improvement consistently from fall until the showcase. This award is not necessarily awarded to the best dancer, but the most improved dancer. This student receives free tuition for the upcoming school year.
 
For the 2012 – 2013 school year, Talbot Rue was selected as the Most Improved Student. Talbot arrives at class consistently prepared to devote 100% to the day. He never appears preoccupied or thoughtless about his training. He constantly has an excellent attitude, and always comes ready for the challenge. Furthermore, he is exceptional at mentoring the younger boys.
 
 
Winner of the Lindsay Katherine Hatch Scholarship:
 
A young student who attended the Fort Wayne Ballet was tragically killed in a plane crash just before her 12th birthday. Her family established a scholarship fund in her memory. The scholarship is given to a student that embodies Lindsay’s characteristics. The recipient must be passionate and serious about dance, a joyful person, and always a friend. Lindsay could find the one who always felt left out and include them in a way that gave them a new-found confidence. She was an amazing lady who did not live to reach her potential.
 
Lindsay was in the first ever Performing Level of the Fort Wayne Ballet, so a worthy candidate is normally selected from there. For the 2012 – 2013 school year, Taylor Ebert was awarded the Lindsay Katherine Hatch Scholarship.
 
  
Congratulations to Talbot Rue and Taylor Ebert!

Meet Lauren Slocum

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As many of you have probably noticed, there is a new face at the front desk these days.  Allow me to introduce myself!  My name is Lauren Slocum and as of January, I have been taking on the role of Projects Manager.  I may look familiar to some of you…my history with the Fort Wayne Ballet goes a little ways back.

I started dancing at the Fort Wayne Ballet at the age of 6 in 1994.  It wasn’t a huge surprise when my mother signed me and my sister up for ballet classes.  She was actually a dancer herself.  My mother, Kara Ryan Slocum, and aunt, Molly Ryan Smethers, both grew up dancing at the Fort Wayne Ballet all the way through high school.  I began my education with the ballet under Rose Aimee Butler, working through the R.A.D. program.  I continued dancing at the ballet all the way through high school, working my way up to Performing Level 2.  I studied under the direction of Karen Gibbons-Brown, Derek Reid, Radmila Teodorovic, and Elenora Pokhitonova Hartung, as well as many master teachers including Jeremy Blanton and Kevin Martin.  Throughout my years dancing here, I have enjoyed the opportunity of performing in many classical ballets and contemporary pieces.  Some of my favorite roles I have performed include Snow Crystal, Arabian Coffee, and Marzipan Shepherdess in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda’s Friend in Coppélia, and the Fairy Godmother and Spring Fairy in Cinderella.  

Upon graduating high school in 2007, I was accepted into the Butler University Dance Program.  I attended Butler University where I danced with the Butler Ballet, and received my Bachelor of Science in Arts Administration in 2011.

In the 2011-2012 school year, I returned home and began my teaching career with the Fort Wayne Ballet at the new studios in the Auer Center.  I really enjoyed teaching the Pre-Ballet, Ballet I, & adult students, as well as my Tap class.

And so that brings us back to the present.  Growing up, the Fort Wayne Ballet truly was my “home away from home.”  I am so excited to have this opportunity to return and be a part of the place that helped shape me into the woman I am today.  I look forward to the chance to give back to the organization that has already given me so much.

Dance Connects Us

At its very core, dance is a connection of body, mind and spirit. We see and experience this every day. Parents who dance with their babies (like our new parents, Alexis and David Ingram)…athletes during a big game (‘Everybody Dances’ Trading Cards) …newlywed’s first dance (as our former dancer, Stephanie Shipman, can look forward to)…and all those who have wisely learned to dance like no one’s watching. Yes, we all dance through life, accepting the invitation to connect in some manner of importance.

DANCE CONNECTS US in many ways at Fort Wayne Ballet, some of the not so obvious ways include our relationships with our donors, patrons, students, volunteers and partners. As we continue to extend our reach in the community, we continue to reap the benefits of collaborating with local partners. Students studying in the Academy continue to grow, so much that we have added another studio in our new home at the Auer Center for Arts & Culture. For the first time in Fort Wayne, three arts organizations are collaborated to present their season opening, Carmina Burana. Seasons sponsors are continuing grow, with Lincoln Financial Group, Matilda Jane, Peg Perego, Arthur Murray, Jophiel, Sweetwater, OZ Strength and Conditioning, Tomkinson BMW and more have already committed to the 2012-2013 season. Our Community Engagement programs continue to expand, serving students in need in Title One Community schools and CANI Head Start programs. Thanks to you – funders, sponsors, partners, volunteers, students and patrons – we can connect the community to the art of dance, whether it’s on stage or off.

To demonstrate a connection to dance, Fort Wayne Ballet will be posting three videos,one per week, featuring students from the 2012 Summer Intensive (SI) program. Along with our SI students, the first video features former Academy student, Olivia Ross. Ross is currently studying in New York.

Thank You

Thank you! You rock! We appreciate you! 

How else can we say it? Fort Wayne Ballet’s dancers, collaborators, patrons, children, volunteers and sponsors are kind of a big deal.

Dancers: Anyone who saw the Nutcracker will tell you that our dancers, of all ages, are incredible. As one of our thank you cards read, “I am amazed at how such young people can come together and give the gift of amazement, laughter awe and splendor for those in the audience.” Bravo, dancers!

Collaborators: Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Children’s Choir and Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. Fort Wayne Ballet is honored to work with other great organizations in Fort Wayne during the production of the Nutcracker. From Sameer Patel, Assistant Conductor at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, “You (Karen Gibbons-Brown), your staff and exceptional dancers never fail to impress me.” The hard work of all participating organizations is valued.

Patrons: It is such a warm feeling knowing that so many families in Northeast Indiana and beyond come to the Nutcracker as a holiday tradition. Thank you for including us. For first time visitors, we hope you will come again. We promise that each experience is a new one or take it from one of our patrons who thanked us for “…a most magical evening.”

Children: In case you do not know, Fort Wayne Ballet offers in-theater performances at a discounted rate for area school children, home schoolers and Easter Seal Arc participants. Participating children have a chance to interact before, during and after the show through interactive docent books, multiple stations presented by dancers and a question and answer session after the performance. During this year’s question and answer session, one darling child asked, “How do you do those awesome moves?”

Volunteers: Over 100 volunteers generously donated their time and talents for more than 1,300 hours. We mean it when we say; we could not do it without you! Thank you for everything you do to keep us moving.

Sponsors: Our sponsor list continues to grow. Thank you to Matilda Jane, Peg Perego, Steel Dynamics, Arthur Murray, Sweetwater, OZ Strength and Conditioning, WAJI and WLDE, Young’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop, Nutcracker Sweet Shoppe, Club Soda, Subway, Lebamoff’s Cap n’ Cork, Bruce Ewing, Wayne Metals and Tomkinson BMW. Your generous trust in our mission in appreciated. As always, a special thank you to our art and season sponsors: Arts United, Indiana Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and Lincoln Financial Group.

So dancers, collaborators, patrons, children, volunteers and sponsors, you are not kind of a big deal – you are a big deal to Fort Wayne Ballet. THANK YOU!