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Columbia Classical Ballet introduces largest company ever during Cabaret Night

The Columbia Classical Ballet launches its new season with a stellar lineup of performances and its largest and most international company ever. Come meet the dancers, other dance lovers and enjoy food and drink at the company’s annual Cabaret Night Sunday on Sept. 15 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. at 701 Whaley St. Cabaret Night is a fun, informal way to meet company members while enjoying refreshments and raising money for the Columbia Classical Ballet. Dancers will perform several pieces based on tunes from popular musicals. This year the company is the largest ever with 53 dancers, including 15 from Japan, several from South Korea and Taiwan, and others from throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada. “We’ve brought together dancers from all over the world and have selected works that will show just how talented they are,” said Radenko Pavlovich, artistic director. "The company has gained a reputation as a great place for young dancers who can make a mark on the dance world.” Those attending will be asked to make donations to the company’s Pointe Shoe Fund and Sponsor A Dancer program. Artists and crafts will be for sale, the proceeds of which will help support the ballet company. The season includes Don Quixote, Oct. 11; The Nutcracker, Dec. 6 – 8; LifeChance International Ballet Gala of the Stars, Jan. 25; and Sleeping Beauty, Feb. 28. Tickets to Cabaret Night are $45 or $400 for a table seating 10. For tickets, contact the ballet at (803) 252-9112 or email columbiaclassicaballet@bellsouth.net. Season subscriptions, starting at $130, can be purchased during Cabaret Night or by contacting the ballet. Individual tickets for season performances will be available through Capitol Tickets or by calling (803) 251-2222. For more information visit the Columbia Classical Ballet website. Via: Columbia Classical Ballet

Columbia Classical Ballet dancers take top prizes in international competition

Over the years, Columbia Classical Ballet Artistic Director Radenko Pavlovich has coached Columbia native and Washington (D.C.) Ballet member Brooklyn Mack through international ballet competitions where he took several top prizes. Two of Pavlovich’s other students – Nations Wilkes-Davis, a Classical Ballet company member, and Kota Fuijishima, who will join the company next season, have won top prizes in the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition held in New York June 28-30. Columbia Classical Ballet dancersWilkes-Davis (left in photo) won the second place award in the student division, and Fuijishima (right in photo) won the silver medal in the senior male division. Wilkes-Davis, who is only 14, has been studying with Pavlovich for four years and dances in most of the company’s productions. “We’re putting Columbia on the map with all these wins,” said Pavlovich, who founded the Classical Ballet 22 years ago. “We’ve had remarkable success with Brooklyn winning so many awards, and it’s wonderful to continue training dancers who do so well in these international competitions.” The competition included 100 dancers from 30 countries. As medalists, the two dancers participated in the competition’s closing gala with dancers from several major companies, including the New York City Ballet. The jury included Andris Liepa, People’s Artist of Russia; Oleksi Bessmertni, founder and director of the International Dance Festival TANZOLYMP in Germany; Olga Guardia de Smoak, president of the New Orleans International Ballet Conference and artistic advisor to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Panama; and Hae Shik Kim, founding dean of the Korean National University of Arts, School of Dance. Brooklyn Mack began training with Pavlovich at 12 and has won the gold medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition, the Grand Prix Award at the Istanbul International Ballet Competition and silver medals in the USA International Ballet Competition, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and Korean International Dance Competition. The Classical Ballet season starts in September and will include The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote.

Classical Ballet’s Swan Lake emerging for Spring

Last season the Columbia Classical Ballet Company mounted the first full staging of Swan Lake that had graced Columbia stages in two decades. The production was a critical and commercial hit, breaking attendance records for the Classical Ballet. On March 1 the company will once again present this amazing and magical masterpiece of ballet. Classical Ballet Artistic Director Radenko Pavlovich had long dreamed of bringing Swan Lake to life on a Columbia stage. More than a decade ago he purchased feathers for the costumes, but only last year did he feel it was the right time to dig them out of the attic. “This is such an important work – such a masterpiece – that one shouldn’t tackle it until all the correct pieces are in place,” Pavlovich said. “We had that last season and have it again.” The romantic ballet tells the story of Princess Odette, who has been transformed into a swan by an evil magician. During a temporary transformation back into human form, Odette and Prince Siegfried fall in love. Such a true, lasting and faithful love is the only way Odette can be freed from the spell, but the magician has other plans. He sends his daughter Odile (the “Black Swan”) to a masked ball where she tricks the prince into declaring his love for her thus condemning Odette. In this production the roles of the white swan and the black swan will be performed by two dancers, an approach taken in some of the very first stagings of the ballet in 1890s. Principal dancer Lauren Frere, in her fifth season with the company, will take the role of Odette, with new company member Nana Yamatani dancing Odile. “Lauren is the ideal white swan; she is such a refined dancer with long lines,” Pavlovich said. “Nana has amazing technical skills, but she also has a fire and aggression.” The prince will be danced by another new company member. Tae Seok Kim. “He’s very noble,” Pavlovich said. “When he steps on the stage you know he’s a prince.” Frere, who performed both roles in last season’s production, has danced many major roles with the Classical Ballet and the Sarasota Ballet including Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Ashton’s The Two Pigeons, Robert de Warren’s Coppelia, Firebird, Don Quixote, Giselle, Le Corsaire and Rick McCullough’s Le Sacre du Printemps. A native of Houston, Texas, she studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Yamatani began her dance training at the age of 3 in her native Japan and came to the U.S. to study at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. She has won First Place Award at the Youth America Grand Prix in Japan and the bronze medal at the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Fl. Kim, a native of South Korea, has been a finalist in the Beijing International Ballet Competition, Boston International Ballet Competition and Varna International Ballet Competition. Swan Lake will be performed March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia. Individual tickets are $5 to $32 and are available by calling (803) 251-2222 or going to http://www.capitoltickets.com/ Via: Columbia Classical Ballet Company