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Thursday, July 10, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 7/18/2013

Local, British ballet dancers collaborate on classes

BY SALLY VALLONGO
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

While this region marks the War of 1812 bicentennial, when sturdy settlers chased away English soldiers and claimed the new American frontier, Toledo is laying out the welcome mat for artists from London.

It’s the premiere of the English National Ballet in the United States, a special educational program to run next week at Ballet Theatre of Toledo. Faculty from the world-renowned London-based company and school will impart their methods and style to young dancers in classes at the Ballet Theatre of Toledo headquarters in Holland.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Nigel Burgoine and Ballet Theatre of Toledo for our first U.S.A. summer school,” Samira Saidi, director of dance at the English National Ballet’s Kensington-based school, told The Blade last year.

Monday through Friday, rising young dancers who auditioned on YouTube for one of the select spots will be stretching and sweating to add technique, new combinations, and imported polish to their repertoire.

Teachers Sarah McIlroy and Paul Lewis, plus Saidi, will impart the best of their 63-year-old company traditions and methods. What’s more, local teachers, who also know they need to keep growing, will be able to share in master classes with the staff.

“As well as offering technique classes, we will also be teaching pas de deux, pointe work/virtuosity, and repertoire,” said Saidi. Besides sharing knowledge and experience, the director added earlier, “We are able to give the dancers a real taste of what we offer at English National Ballet School.”

And, it goes without saying, they will be scouting out fresh talent with the idea of possibly importing a few Americans to their London operation.

There are a few openings at the instructor level for master classes led by Saidi, McIlroy, and Lewis. These are set for 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, at varying skill levels. Cost for the master classes is $50 per session.

All activities are taking place at the Ballet Theatre of Toledo headquarters, 1124 Corporate Dr., Holland. For more information or to make a reservation for the master classes, call 419-861-0895 or contact info@ballettheatreoftoledo.org.

The Toledo Symphony’s Music Under the Stars will continue at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Toledo Zoo amphitheatre, the third in the popular family concert series

Bruce Moss will conduct this concert titled Centennials, Bicentennials, and More. Musical birthday candles will be lit — at least sonically —- for the likes of Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, and Morton Gould, among other luminaries, whose works will be on the program.

Joining the Toledo Concert Band will be two tenors named Mathey: Richard, the senior fellow, professor emeritus of music at Bowling Green State University, and his son, Shawn, now burning up opera stages around the world for notable performances of Mozart. (Shawn Mathey sang in the Toledo Opera’s 2013 Gala and is scheduled to perform the title role in the company’s production of Gounod’s Faust in April, 2014.)

The Matheys will sing popular duets on Sunday, including “O Sole Mio.”

Also performing will be dancers from the Toledo Ballet and percussionist Roger Schupp.

Admission is free. There is a fee for parking in the zoo lots, except for zoo members. And TARTA will run its shuttles from five suburban locations, $1 each way.

This week is the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, three separate festivals which together draw half a million visitors. There’s plenty of live music to be heard at stages scattered across the University of Michigan campus and nearby city sites.

But the happiest performers may well be at Kerrytown Concert House, where the annual Week After Art Fair Songfest is scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and July 25 at the historic musical and arts venue at 415 N. Fourth Ave., in north Ann Arbor.

Featured performers will be Jane Schoonmaker Rogers, director and soprano, co-director Kevin Bylsma, pianist, mezzo-sopranos Deanna Relyea and Monica Swartout-Bebow, sopranos Emily Benner and Elizabeth Pearse, tenor Christopher Scholl, baritone Bryan Pfaltzgraff, and bass-baritone Allan Schott.

Tuesday’s programming will focus on songs by Verdi and Wagner, Wednesday will be Benjamin Britten, and July 25 will bring music by Francis Poulenc.

The three evenings are free.

Information: www.kerrytownconcerthouse.com.

If you cannot keep from singing, the BGSU College of Musical Arts wants you. Its University Choral Society is seeking vocalists in all parts for the 2013-2014 season.

Highlights of the coming year will include the annual production of Handel’s “Messiah,” plus the majestic “Requiem” by Verdi, both with the Toledo Symphony. Performances will be in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle and the BGSU Moore Musical Arts Center’s Kobacker Hall.

“It has been a number of years since the Verdi ‘Requiem’ has been performed in the area and it is a huge undertaking,” said Mark Munson, director of choral activities at BGSU and of the chorus.

Rehearsals are 7:30-9:30 p.m.Tuesdays at the Moore Center, starting on Sept. 3. To schedule an audition, contact Munson through the college office, 419-372-2186.

Hooray for Grace Tozer Wipfli, a recent Ottawa Hills High School graduate who just won the Midwest regional finals in the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition. Singing songs by Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, she was chosen with nine other regional winners to partake of a week’s coaching and study with famed singers including Jane Monheit, Sylvia McNair, and the contest originator, Feinstein.

Send items for News of Music to svallongo@theblade.com at least two weeks in advance of the event.



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