Photo by Cameron Durham / Houston Ballet Center for Dance at dusk
Do you have talent? Some people have multiple talents, and they don’t even have to work for them—they come naturally. Others may search their entire lives for a talent and may never discover it. An arts organization is filled with talented people. A nonprofit arts organization depends on talented people for survival. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has always had its fair share of talent. We have artists, accountants, educators, lawyers, writers—you name it, we’ve got it. But the really special part about these talented behind-the-scenes people is the fact that they are all volunteers.
Some of our volunteers are here for only a short time while others stay for the long haul. Some are young and others older. The older ones may have children active in The Ballet today or adult children who were in the past; the volunteer may have danced as a child. Everyone volunteers for different reasons. Some people are involved because they share a love for the arts, and others just because they want to share their talent with someone else. Their talents, ages, and reasons may vary greatly from one to the other, but The Ballet appreciates all our behind-the-scene volunteers.
The photograph above was taken by one of our youngest volunteers. Cameron Durham has served Lake Charles Civic Ballet in several roles over the last five years. His younger brother, Adrian, is a member of LCCB. Cameron is studying and developing his photography and cinematography skills. On occasion he works with professional photographers documenting weddings around Louisiana and is working on expanding his portrait portfolio. The Ballet looks forward to sharing Cameron’s talents with our Facebook fans and on The Ballet Blog.
Bohuslav Rattay, conductor of the Lake Charles Symphony pauses after the show with Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough, Artistic Director of Lake Charles Civic Ballet and some of the company’s performing members.
Guest Writer: Kelley Saucier, LCCB Secretary
Dancers have been busy all summer rehearsing and training for the upcoming season, but they took a break Saturday, July 16 to enjoy the Lake Charles Symphony Summer Pops featuring the Austin, TX based band Asleep at the Wheel. Besides the premier of the Harry Potter finale, the Summer Pops is the must see event of the season.
Lady Holly bought pizzas for the dancers, rewarding those who had worked so hard all week, but the girls had none of that. They are in serious training mode, and were seen sipping water and joining in for the last number on the dance floor. A fabulous time was had by all, highlighted by a photo op with Maestro Bohuslav Rattay! LCCB is already marking the calendar for next year’s event.
Photo by Katelyn Chargois
Photo by Brad Puckett / American Press
Lake Charles Civic Ballet has always offered its company members more. More than just an end of the year recital, the dancers enjoy precious opportunities to perform on the stage for the audience. In addition, LCCB provides dance students with a six-week summer intensive workshop taught by professional instructors from around the country. The workshop provides outstanding training for the serious ballet student. Dancers know how easy it can be to settle into comfortable surroundings—your regular studio, normal classes, that favorite instructor. For a dancer to gain full value from their ballet study they must stay connected. They must feel connected. Summer workshop can help the dancer reconnect. They walk into the studio like it’s new, try a different style of dance, and learn from instructors with different teaching methods. It’s exciting! It’s sort of like a metabolism boost for their dance study—infusing energy and excitement. Summer workshop for ballet students can provide hands on training into the world beyond dance. Lake Charles Civic Ballet dancers experience the big stage. They present full-length story ballets to large audiences, but that’s not all. Company members perform and work behind scenes in ways vital to the success of the performance. Everything imaginable from setup to cleanup becomes part of the dancers’ experience. The training, not always glamorous, develops the dancer. Not all dancers will become the principle ballerina in a professional company, but some may. Others may choose a career path they discovered while training in the company. The audience will eagerly embrace the talented professional ballerina and they will also need someone to design her fabulous costumes, run the complicated sound board, and plan that strategic marketing campaign to connect the audience to the arts.
Every year some of our company dancers attend summer workshops away from home. This summer a few of our members will attend Houston Ballet’s Summer Intensive program. Some of those Level 8 students can participate in career studies courses. Read what Jaclyn Youngblood, Academy Intern, shares about these students’ classwork.
Many children spend their summer vacation lounging on the couch, swimming, watching movies, or playing video games. Other kids use their time away from academic studies to develop their physical and mental skills by participating in various sports camps. Serious ballet dancers are among those kids who will use the summer break to develop and improve their skills. All sports — football, soccer, baseball, cheer, even marching band — require time, energy, and mental effort for a participant to be successful. Ballet is no different. Ballet is a sport with its own unique terms, techniques, positions, rigorous muscle conditioning, and muscle memory development. In addition to physical skills, these serious athletes learn the importance of musical timing, proper nutrition, costuming and uniform requirements, hair and makeup techniques, and so much more. Ballet dancers may attend ‘intensive’ summer camps with little free time. Their day may begin at 8:00 A.M. and last until 6:00 or 7:00 P.M. At these camps or in a studio, dancers learn both how to perform individually and as part of a team. A passion to be the best – be it at ballet or baseball – is often what drives our young athletes to forego other activities and focus on developing their skills. That’s why some dancers will spend their summer vacation in the studio.
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