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Diverse performances featured in Maryland Youth Ballet’s Spring Concert

Corps de Ballet achieves perfect synchronization in Maryland Youth Ballet’s “La Bayadere.”  COURTESY PHOTOCorps de Ballet achieves perfect synchronization in Maryland Youth Ballet’s “La Bayadere.” COURTESY PHOTO  Dancing a lead role in a classical ballet is something Elena Remez dreamed of ever since she was a girl. It’s also something she “worked up to” during her 12 years of study at Maryland Youth Ballet.

Now Remez is living the dream: she’s dancing the title role in “La Bayadere” (which translated from French means “The Temple Dancer”), one of the three pieces comprising the Spring Concert of the school. It’s only a portion of the long ballet – set in India, with music by Ludwig Minkus, and the 1877 original choreography by Marius Petipa – entitled “Kingdom of the Shades.”

“It’s an honor to dance the lead in ‘Bayadere,’” said Remez, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School.

The ballet is also challenging. “The two leads come on and off constantly ... There’s not much of a break,” she said. “Usually as soon as I stop breathing heavily after one part, I have to go right back to another.”

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Finding adventure by traveling down the perfect Rabbit Hole

Alice in WonderlandBeloved characters come to life in Metropolitan Ballet Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.” COURTESY PHOTOAlthough dancers learn to smile onstage – other than during tragic moments in the plot of a ballet – Genevieve Pelletier was concerned she had perhaps overdone it in her last role. She was the lead in the Marzipan dance in Metropolitan Ballet Theatre and Academy’s production of “The Nutcracker.”

Then along came a role in which an oversize smile fits perfectly.

The 17-year-old Quince Orchard High School senior will be playing the Cheshire Cat.

“I love the Cheshire Cat, who smiles all the time,” she said. “It fits in with my personality.”

Every year Metropolitan Ballet Theatre presents a different full-length ballet during the spring. This year it’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

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Maryland Youth Ballet’s unique production of The Nutcracker

MYB 2998 copy sugar plumA past production of Maryland Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” with Justin Metcalf-Burton and Maya Beeman. COURTESY PHOTOMaryland Youth Ballet can boast of many illustrious alumni.

Walk along the hallways of the ballet school, headquartered in downtown Silver Spring since 2006 (after a long sojourn in Bethesda), and you’ll see photographs of some notable faces.

Michelle Lees, the school’s artistic director, points them out: Julie Kent, a longtime principal of American Ballet Theatre, who was recently appointed the artistic director of the Washington Ballet; Susan Jaffe, a former dancer and ballet mistress at ABT and now Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem; and Garen Price Scribner and Allison Walsh, who both appeared in the Broadway musical “An American in Paris.”

However, at Maryland Youth Ballet, the emphasis is on both the present and future.

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Juggling and ballet at Strathmore equal harmony

Screen shot 2017-02-08 at 3.16.16 AMGandini Juggling performed both ballet and juggling in their act. COURTESY PHOTO

BETHESDA — At Strathmore, Gandini Juggling, a British juggling group held a performance titled “4x4: Ephemeral Architectures.”

Juggling and ballet, two traditionally separate art forms, were combined to create a performance of both balance and precision as a live orchestral ensemble timed music to each movement.

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Nutcracker prequel comes to Rockville

Ballet 1The Nutcracker prequel original ballet "Beoming Sugar Plum" was performed for the first time at Montgomery College by the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre and Academy March 18 through March 20.  PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

ROCKVILLE — The new “spin” didn’t just come from the ballerinas.

A local artistic director has put a new spin on Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

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