Lake Charles Civic Ballet

Posts Tagged ‘LCCB’

LCCB Profiles: Elizabeth Gates

                          Choreographer

Photo by Cameron Durham / Elizabeth Lauren Gates


LCCB PROFILES — Elizabeth Lauren Gates from Lake Charles Civic Ballet on Vimeo.

Elizabeth ‘Lizy’ Gates trained with Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance just prior to attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Since school Lizy has been a guest performer with many professional companies and worked as a ballet instructor and choreographer for studios in Louisiana and Texas. Beyond her classical ballet education, Lizy has studied the modern techniques of Martha Graham, Lester Horton, and Merce Cunningham. Her inspiration for her choreography comes from many sources, but she says her main inspiration is the music itself.

This season Lake Charles Civic Ballet is fortunate to have Lake Charles native Elizabeth Gates in the studio working with dancers and participating in our season. During a sneak preview in November, a trio of principal dancers performed Psalm of Spring which was choreographed by Ms. Gates especially for the event. Elizabeth Gates’ Psalm of Spring will be featured at the LCCB Spring Performance later this season.

Lake Charles Civic Ballet Takes Rudolph Around the World: A total educational experience

Photo by Cameron Durham



Guest Writer: Erica Guillory

As I watched my son practice for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Ballet, I was drawn to the educational experience it provides for children of all ages.  I am a teacher who thrives on creative opportunities that will broaden the minds of my students beyond the realm of the everyday learning routine.  
The history of Christmas as it relates to many cultures, countries, and traditions are embedded within the amazing ballet pieces presented. Santa discusses the rituals of countries such as Russia, China, and Switzerland. This ballet experience can provide many avenues for culture awareness development. Also, it can provide a plethora of in depth research that will challenge the mind of students across the parish. Teachers could use this opportunity for writing, comparing and contrasting the American culture to those of the countries discussed in the Ballet.  State benchmarks and GLE’s definitely can be met on a higher level, which is the goal of all teachers.  Students will also be able to develop a love for ballet, theatre, and telling a story through the art of dance. 
Opportunities like this are those in which education should thrive upon.  This total experience could cover a multitude of subject areas and student work.  It is a great learning opportunity presented in a creative way. As educators and parents we must take advantage of those opportunities that will broaden the minds of our children. The Lake Charles Civic Ballet can provide that opportunity. Take advantage.
Pictured in photo from “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer‘ Around the World, Russian dance:  
Adrian Durham; Julia Basone

PASA’s Backstage Pass

Yesterday, Performing Arts Society of Acadiana, with the generosity of Capital One and Chevron, presented a daytime performance of Complexions Contemporary Ballet at Angelle Hall UL Lafayette. Louisiana students were entertained and educated during the hour long look into the life of this company and its dancers.
Students were shown a condensed version of a professional dancer’s day—from morning until night on the day of a performance. The glimpse lasting 60 minutes carried our students through morning warm up—consisting of barre and center work, on to the daytime rehearsals, and ending with the nighttime show. Complexions male dancers were greeted with hoots and snickers by our audience of middle school and high school students, but were soon awarded cheers and applause. The young audience quickly gained an appreciation for the skills and talents of these artistic athletes. The PASA daytime performance ended after a Q & A session between the Complexions dancers and the students.
“to dance is to move on a level far beyond athleticism. Yes, there are speed, power, balance, and endurance—all the things that define athlete. But then there are grace, beauty, form, emotion, and the power of communication. There is art.” __DanceMagazine, February 2002
Later that evening, UL Lafayette provided the location for a Complexions Dance master class taught by Assistant Ballet Mistress Sabra Perry. A master class provides ballet students with the opportunity to build their dance knowledge. 
The class of approximately 50 dancers was given a brief introduction of the company and its artistic staff then went straight into a barre warm up. Sabra was very personable and gave great analogies to help the dancers learn some of the movements from two of the company’s ballets. All the movements were ballet based, with the upper-body lines lengthened to create the contemporary style. After the class, Ms. Perry answered questions and visited with the dancers. Lake Charles Civic Ballet members in attendance included Elizabeth Gates, Drew Anderson, Ashley Eaves, and Katelyn Chargois.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet will be performing tonight at Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayetteat 7:30PM. From New York City, Complexions Contemporary Ballet is an artistic treat everyone must see.
Pictured in bottom photo left to right:
Katelyn Chargois, Sabra Perry, Ashley Eaves, Drew Anderson, Elizabeth Gates

Frozen Talents

Photo from Lois Greenfield website

Photography and ballet are both skilled arts that take years of training to develop. If you ask a ballerina when she mastered her skill of ballet, she will tell you that a dancer is alwaysworking to master the art of ballet. Photography is the same. Combining these art forms can be challenging, but truly exciting.
The relationship of photographer and artistic director is not unlike the relationship of the choreographer and the dancer. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has had the privilege of collaborating with several photographers—professional and amateur.
For a photographer’s camera to successfully capture a dancer’s motion, the dancer must possess the physique and technique to display the movements and shapes selected by the artistic director, and the photographer must possess the talent and timing to capture the precise moment of the movement. The resulting photograph represents many layers of talent. Years of training, dedication, and skill—for everyone involved—frozen for all time.
LCCB is a pre-professional ballet company. On opening night of Resonating Fields at Historic City Hall, LCCB dancers, choreographers, photographer, and artistic director viewed the exhibit as guests, as well as teachers and students of the art of ballet.  Thank you to Lois Greenfield for sharing her talent with the city of Lake Charles. ‘Like’ Lois Greenfield on Facebook at Lois Greenfield Dance Photography Workshops.

Elastic and Tulle

Photos by Cameron Durham

LCCB performed The Sleeping Beauty ballet in 1995 with new costumes and sets. The costume creator for the performance was Costume Designer Ray Delle Robbins. Recently our company returned to Houston—back to Ray Delle so she could revive her creations to their beautiful beginnings. With help from Bobbie Grizzle who has labored beside Ray Delle for over 20 years, the women silently measured and pinned and wrote notes on small tan cards. Many alterations will be needed for over fifty costumes worn by the lead characters in the ballet.

Ray Delle recalled our original order for The Sleeping Beauty ballet as clearly as if it were yesterday. During her inspection of the costumes on this visit, she found the fabrics and designs still fresh and beautiful, but the tulle skirts and the elastic shows were in need of repair. While she worked with each dancer she answered our questions about her career and her job at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars.

She began her education as an art and drama major, but quickly realized she liked to eat more than she liked to perform so she earned her teaching certificate. After teaching school for seven years, she worked for 17 years with Houston Ballet in the wardrobe department. For the last 25 years, Ray Delle has been the Costume Shop Manager at TUTS; although her title may change from show to show. Ray Delle manages three shows for TUTS theatre each season. Traveling shows featured at TUTS and her own contract work, fill in her free time. During our fittings, Ray Delle received a visit from her prop man and set man. It was quickly apparent they are a close theatre family as they greeted each other with bright smiles and hugs.

Ray Delle spoke of her ‘spells’ with certain colors and explained how her costumes show her love for a color during certain periods in her career. She easily recognizes her creations by the fabrics and her stitching. Ray Delle Robbins will be adding to LCCB’s The Sleeping Beauty extensive costume collection with new costumes for King Florestan XXIV and the Queen, Prince Désiré, Bluebird and many, many more. We are now accepting Sponsor memberships, and individual ticket sales will begin later in the year. Visit our website at www.lakecharlescivicballet.com to reserve your seat at the ballet and witness the splendor of Ray Delle’s work up close and personal.

50 is the New 30

by Rhonda K. Chargois


Southwest Louisiana doesn’t have a professional ballet company to claim as their own. The closest thing we have is a visit from the Moscow Ballet and their Nutcracker sponsored by a local ballet studio. We are fortunate to have our own civic ballet—Lake Charles Civic Ballet. LCCB dancers are students. For the most part, they are middle school and high school students, with a few college students and professional dancers that participate regularly in class and in performances.
Our company dancers are connected. Not that they come to class every afternoon and visit with everyone face to face. They’re connected online. They interact with friends, family, teachers and brands through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube; they read and create blogs like Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress. Smart businesses will meet these younger consumers where they hang out if they expect to be noticed by them and have an impact. Most ballet companies are smart. LCCB wants to connect. We may be over 40, but we’re acting much younger. I guess you could say we’re fighting our age. 
In our efforts to stay young and connect with new ballet fans, we have become much more social. No, we don’t visit in class, but we are connected with people and businesses through social media outlets. We are a nonprofit arts organization which means we are supported by a limited budget. We depend on the support of grants, sponsors, and volunteers. And just in case you didn’t notice—social media is cheap, but it isn’t easy.
Facebook should be fairly easy, right? Twitter is different and may take more time to understand if you’ve never tweeted. Blogging moves into more work. Flickr, YouTube, Foursquare, they all have something fun to offer to a company looking to ‘get social’ on a budget. It’s like an addiction. You add one social account, and the next thing you know you’re adding another and another. But remember, every account has to be updated, monitored, and actively used, or you may as well remove the word ‘social’.
I’ll admit. When my own children were younger I was against social media, but once my children were old enough to become ‘social’ it became my job as a parent to monitor their activity. As I monitored, we learned together the best ways to connect with the good and stay away from the bad content online. Now that I’m 50 which we all know is the new 30, I can connect with the younger generation. Connecting for LCCB means sharing what’s happening inside The Ballet and what’s happening in ballet outside our community. The Nutcracker is great Christmas fun, but ballet is so much more.
Our Social Media Team has a mission to track down the most current online ballet information and discussions. We want to share that information with our dancers and anyone else who may be interested. We want to share the links to our favorite blogs and Facebook Pages on The Ballet blog soon (just as soon as I learn how to do that—Jjk). Some ballet companies have beautiful websites, informative blogs loaded with eye catching photos, and they’re connected with social media in every way imaginable. Other companies are stuck back in a time warp before there was social media.
Last week I heard a mature woman exclaim she would be coloring her hair until the age of 100. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has a group of volunteers who believe our company is a valuable addition to our community and the world of ballet. Connect with us, and let’s be social. We’ll be the elderly women with colored hair staring at our smart phones and clicking away on our laptops.

The Dancers and the Maestro Meet

Photo by Cameron Durham

It’s not easy to enter the Rosa Hart Theatre via the loading dock door during a July deluge, but somehow, photography equipment, costumes, dancers, Lady Holly and Bohuslav Rattay, the charming new conductor of the Lake Charles Symphony, made it. The purpose? A publicity photo shoot for the March 2012 production of The Sleeping BeautyMaestro Rattay kindly took time out of his busy Summer Pops schedule do the shoot with LCCB principal dancers. Bohuslav  (Bo Hu slav, dancers discovered it is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable) is, as Katelyn Chargois put it, “cool.” He is at ease in front of the camera and jokes around on the set. The dancers enjoyed getting to know our new conductor. 
And what about those yellow sneakers? To honor Bohuslav, the girls showed up in colored Converse All Stars, only to discover that the Maestro’s famous footwear is actually a brand called Diesel. He says they are very comfortable.

Photo by Cameron Durham

While on set, Maestro Rattay told me that he is excited about conducting the Tchaikovsky score. Although he has worked with ballet companies in the past, this will be his first time conducting The Sleeping Beauty.
Talk about a busy schedule! Conducting the Lake Charles Symphony is not the Maestro’s only job. He is currently the music director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Ball State University and has a busy guest conducting schedule. Rattay is originally from Prague, Czech Republic, so he also spends time in Europe. Bohuslav has said many times that he loves the people and the culture of Southwest Louisiana, and is most happy to be here. In a recent email conversation he shares, “I am eagerly looking forward to working with the young dance talents of Southwest Louisiana and foreseeing that this production of The Sleeping Beauty will awaken the Lake Charles arts community….. “ All involved believe that when combined, the talents of these two distinct organizations create an electrifying synergy greater than the sum of its parts and will add to an already lively arts season in Southwest Louisiana.

LCCB can’t wait to meet with Bohuslav and the rest of the Lake Charles Symphony orchestra in March. Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 7:00 PM. You won’t be disappointed!

Kelley Saucier
2011-2012 LCCB Board President

LCCB Season Sponsorships are available now, and include tickets to The Sleeping Beauty. Call Kelley Saucier at 337-513-5808 for more information. You may also visit the website at www.lakecharlescivicballet.com.

Lake Charles Symphony Season Memberships are also available now. For more information call their ticket hotline at 337-433-1611 or visit their website at www.lcsymphony.org.

Summer Intensive Is Over: Interview with Three LCCB Dancers

Photo by Cameron Durham / Studio Two

Three Lake Charles Civic Ballet (LCCB) company dancers Marietta Campagna, Adrian Durham, and Katelyn Chargois had ‘intense’ summers. All three dancers participated in a classical ballet summer intensive workshop. Marietta has been a Lady Leah Lafargue School of the Dance (LLL) student for almost 10 years. This is her second year as a LCCB dancer, and her second Summer Intensive (SI) with LCCB. 

Adrian started his dance career five years ago with LLL and has been a LCCB company dancer for three years. This year Adrian auditioned and was accepted to Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy 2011 SI. Therefore, three weeks of Adrian‘s summer was spent with LCCB and three weeks with HB in their new Center for Dance. Adrian has now completed five SI’s.
Katelyn recently received her ten year certificate with LLL. She has been a LCCB company dancer for five years and has just completed her seventh SI. Katelyn auditioned this year for Joffrey Ballet in New York and Houston Ballet. She was accepted to both programs, but chose to attend Houston‘s SI. Katelyn attended all six weeks at HB’s Center for Dance. This was Katelyn’s second visit to HB for summer training.

Photo by Cameron Durham / Center for Dance

LCCB caught up with the three dancers to ask them some questions about their SI experiences. A simple interview sounds like it should be easy enough, but these dancers have been busy all summer, and with their upcoming season, it doesn’t look as though it will slow down anytime soon. Below is our question and answer session with the dancers.

LCCB: It’s customary for students to record all corrections given by instructors. What corrections during your SI did you find most beneficial?
Marietta: The corrections most helpful for me were to pull up and to stretch my foot instead of just pointing it.
Adrian: I received two important corrections this summer—while at the barre I have to adjust my core to keep my balance instead of using the barre to keep the balance for me; and there are times when a dancer doesn’t know a step so you need to rely on yourself instead of just following someone else.
Katelyn: I found the corrections on turns to be the most beneficial. We really worked on our body positioning this summer. When you turn you have to hold your core muscles and breathe. One of the main corrections that helped me with my turning was to think of having a short stomach and a long back. 

LCCB: Our company ballet class includes barre exercises and center work to develop proper technique. Tell us how summer intensive was able to develop your ballet class experience and dance training. 


Marietta: During the summer intensive classes we learned new and different combinations which helped me to improve a lot.
Adrian: My studio in Lake Charles has only a few male dancers. In Houston, I had the opportunity to work with a large group of guys. With the larger group, there was a healthy competition between us, and I was able to let my personality come out working with a group of guys.
Katelyn: During regular season your class time is shared—learning technique and choreography. You have more time during summer intensive to break things down and work on the details of your technique. Since there is more class time each dancer gets more individual corrections, too.

LCCB: What were your favorite classes taken this summer?

Marietta: It’s really fun to learn something new so my favorite classes this summer were musical theatre and jazz. I had a lot of fun in those classes.
Adrian: (without hesitation) Weight training—I learned the proper technique for a male dancer. I have used weights in the past, but this summer I realized I wasn’t really working correctly.
Partnering—this class helped me to understand each partner’s responsibility. We are a team, and we have to work together.
Katelyn: My favorite class this summer was Composition Class—we called it comp. I loved this class because you use your ballet training, but comp is an improvisation class. As an assignment, we had to choreograph our own dances using improvisation. Improvisation gives you freedom. In ballet, you’re trained to do steps a certain way—holding your core and pointing your toes. In comp class, you use your ballet training, but you change the order of the steps to make them your own. It really helps dancers to step outside the box and have a little freedom with their dancing. Dancers need this freedom in order to be less tense and more fluid with their movement.



LCCB: How did you feel about the class offerings and instruction by multiple teachers?
Marietta: Multiple teachers really helped me a lot in learning to focus. The instructors all had different personalities, but they were all really fun to work with so I liked the variety of dance and instruction.
Adrian: With a group of guys, we had classes that were focused for the male dancers. My view of barre has new meaning. Before this summer, I felt it was just something we had to do, but now I understand the need to warm up properly and to prepare properly for center.
Katelyn: Having a variety of dance classes helps me be more relaxed in ballet, and learning different dance styles makes you better prepared for a dance career. 
One of the best things for me was working with the different teachers—you don’t have the repetition of having the same teacher every day. Every teacher sees different corrections to give a dancer. Sometimes they even have a different terminology for the steps. It’s good to learn from a variety of teachers so you can learn to take instruction from anyone.

Photo by Cameron Durham / Studio 540
LCCB: What would you say was the most interesting class instruction you received during your SI training? Explain.


     Marietta: I really liked jazz class because my teacher taught us the
     differences. Things like instead of turning out, you turn in and you stay
     in plié for your turns—really good technique in jazz.
     Adrian: My family eats healthy, and I know about eating a balanced 
     diet. Nutrition class was creepy for me because of the photographs of 
     people with eating disorders.
     Katelyn: I would have to choose Pas de Deux Class—which is 
     partnering. At my studio, we don’t have a lot of partners to work with 
     in class, and it’s good to have the experience working with different 
     partners. Your partners can be all different sizes and strengths and 
     you have to be able to work with all of them. This summer our pas 
     teacher emphasized expression in our dancing. That’s always 
     embarrassing when you’re working with a guy that you don’t really
     know, in a room full of students watching you dance, and you have to 
     give expression to your partner and to the music. It really has to flow 
     and look like a pas de deux. That’s one of the hardest things to 
     do—to make it look beautiful.
This year Lake Charles Civic Ballet has put together an exciting season. During December, they will perform Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for school groups as well as a matinee and a gala performance for the community. In March 2012, Lake Charles Civic Ballet will perform a full-length ballet The Sleeping Beauty accompanied by the Lake Charles Symphony in the Rosa Hart Theatre. The training that Marietta, Adrian, and Katelyn gained this summer plays a big part in their preparation for such a daring season.

Pictured in photos from top to bottom: 

past and present LCCB company members – Megan Richard, Addie Saucier, Katelyn Chargois, Adrian Durham, Gabby Saucier, and Marietta Campagna

Adrian Durham and Katelyn Chargois

Adrian Durham w/ other HB SI students