Amherst Ballet had a spot in the community tent on Saturday, letting folks know who we are and what we do. Upper and Lower School dancers, along with the Board of Trustees and parents, helped make this event a success! Signs were made, costumes were displayed, and even some old pointe shoes were decorated! Amherst Ballet has been a stalwart of the Amherst Community for almost 50 years, and we continued that tradition this past weekend!
Saturday, April 28th was all about community at Amherst Ballet.
Parents, teachers, staff and dancers alike joined together to rake, weed and mulch the grounds, and clean the building (including the awning)! The sun shone brightly, contributing to the joyful atmosphere of the day and making the building sparkle.
A few hours later the sense of community continued at a fundraising event that took place in the upper studio. It had been turned into a lovely banquet hall, complete with a live fiddle, dancers in tutus performing scenes from the upcoming show on May 19th, and dancers speaking about what Amherst Ballet means to them.
Of the four dancers who spoke, one theme was consistent: that Amherst Ballet is their community. They all spoke about the lasting and supportive friendships they’ve made and the feeling of belonging.
We are lucky to have such a nurturing dance school in our community.
Saturday’s event raised $1000; please consider donating on Valley Gives day to help Amherst Ballet maintain and expand its reach.
What a delightful party that was on Saturday evening! Thanks to everyone for helping it happen, inviting friends, hearing the dancers share what AB means to them, building some new community relationships, and getting us started toward our $3000 fundraising goal for Valley Gives.
Valley Gives is Tuesday, May 1! Check out our Amherst Ballet page on Valley Gives here: https://www.valley-gives.org/organizations/amherst-ballet-theatre-company-inc
Thanks to a few generous donors who contributed at the party, we are already over 1/3 of the way to our goal, but we need everyone's help to get there. Many people asked about the Valley Gives prizes in particular. We have identified two prizes that we think, with your help, we can win:
Midnight to 1am: Donations made through our Valley Gives page between midnight and 1am will be entered into a raffle for a 1,500 prize.
10-Minute Rush 10:30-10:40am: Donations made through our Valley Gives page between 10:30-10:40 will be entered into a raffle for a 5,000 prize.
The fact that it's a raffle makes us more likely to win if we have a large number of donations, regardless of the amount of the donation. Your gift could be the one that wins the prize, whether it's $10 or $1000!
Other prizes: If you won't be able to make your donation during the times above, there are many other prize windows that a lucky donor could help us win. See the full list here: https://www.valley-gives.org/prizes
And don't forget, there is $400 of matching gift money already pledged, that's ready and waiting to double the power of the first $400 contributed.
Early online donations can already be made through our Valley Gives page if you'd like to be one of those people. And of course.... share this today and tomorrow on social media and with friends and family! We need the support of our whole community to keep this great school vibrant and flourishing.
(Sharing near midnight and near the 10-minute rush will give us a shot at those raffles!)
Help us keep dancing!
On April 28th from 5:30-7:30 Amherst Ballet will host an "open studio" fundraising event, Meet Amherst Ballet. Bring your friends to eat, enjoy student choreography and performances by our younger dancers, and meet Amherst Ballet staff and students.
Our goal is to introduce Amherst Ballet to members of our community who might not be familiar with what we do, in order to expand community relationships and broaden our fundraising base. Because Amherst Ballet is a non-profit organization, we rely on support from our community to make our programs and performances possible. The broader the community of people providing financial support for Amherst Ballet, the more we are able to offer: master classes, outreach programs, professional development for our faculty, and so much more.
We are looking to our students and families to be ambassadors. If everyone brings two friends/parents of friends, we can easily reach our fundraising goals while having fun. Please forward the attached invitation or post it on social media. Printed invitations are also available at Amherst Ballet.
So bring a friend (or bring several!) for food, drinks, and dancing and join us at Amherst Ballet on Saturday, April 28th from 5:30-7:30PM.
Looking forward to seeing you there,
Amherst Ballet Board of Directors
Did you know that Amherst Ballet is a non-profit organization? That means that we rely on support from our community to make our programs and performances possible!
Please join us in our own facility on Saturday, April 28th from 5:30 - 7:30PM to kick off our Valley Gives fundraising drive!
This year our goal is to get the AB name out to new members of our community who might not be familiar with what we do. Bring a friend (or bring several!) for some food, drinks and dancing, and help us reach a wider audience in our local area! Any donations received during this event will help us reach our fundraising target, and may qualify us for matching gifts and prizes on the day of Valley Gives. We hope to see you there!
We had the pleasure of visiting most of the Lower School classes in the last couple of weeks to take photos. The dancers shared with us some of what they love about dancing. Their comments and the photos are on display in the hallway at Amherst Ballet. Check them out! We have articulate, graceful, and dedicated young dancers, with great senses of humor.
Pick up an empty card and pen while you’re looking at the display - we’d like to know what YOU love about dancing, too!
Happy Valentine’s Day from Amherst Ballet!
The production of Snow White is just over two weeks away and while the dancers rehearse and parents hustle to buy tickets, behind the scenes the costume designer, Deborah Shumway, is putting final touches on costumes she has been working on since September.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Debbie and learning about what goes into ensuring that each dancer has a costume that not only conveys their role, but feels good and allows them to be confident and comfortable on stage.
Debbie was a dance teacher for 40 years and has been sewing her whole life. One of her first jobs was as an alterationist at a dry cleaners. These two passions give her not only the skills she needs to ensure fit and functionality, but the knowledge as a former dancer to recognize what will work on stage and what won’t.
For Snow White Debbie kept costs down by using costumes that had previously been used in other productions. This meant that she had to take apart and redo many of them to fit dancers of vastly different sizes.
One of the most challenging sets of costumes were the Dragonfly costumes. These beautiful winged dresses had previously been used on dancers that were significantly taller than the young dancers that will wear them in Snow White. Debbie wanted to ensure that the costumes could be returned to their current size in the future so instead of cutting them she carefully pleated the sleeves and bodices. The result is a custom fitted costume that can be worn again with just a few alterations.
There are many considerations when making costumes for dance as opposed to theater. Dancers must be able to move, bend, leap and twirl and their costumes must be able to stay on, and allow for movement.
Additionally, some dancers have multiple parts or different costumes for the same part and at times must change their costumes in the wings very quickly. A good costumer must be aware of this and must ensure that the costumes can be quickly, and easily, taken off and changed, sometimes in the dark. This means sometimes fitting one costume piece under another or having helpers back stage to assist with fastening dresses and bodices.
The costumer’s work continues through the show, ensuring that the costumes arrive at the venue, fixing last minute problems, and then washing, repairing and rehanging costumes for future use.
Debbie loves working with the dancers, seeing them dance confidently in costumes she has made and watching their progress from year to year. For her this is a true labor of love and Amherst Ballet is lucky to have her!
By Lisa Gallant, parent
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am writing you all to express my deepest gratitude to two members of our community who are long overdue for an acknowledgment of their ongoing commitment to our school. It gives me great pleasure to officially announce two awards for Outstanding Service to Amherst Ballet, for the years of 2016 - 2017.
Beth Eagleson is the parent of a dancer, has served on the Board of Directors including a term as Vice President, and is now the leading voice of the new Amherst Ballet Family Association. She has volunteered at countless events, and brings positive energy and good cheer to the school every time she walks in the door. Her belief in the success of the school is one of the things that inspired myself and our Business Director, Josh Pearson, to accept our current positions.
Nicola Metcalf is also the parent of a dancer, and has served multiple terms on the Board of Directors. She is now also involved in the Family Association, and continues to volunteer her time and offer assistance to the general running of the organization. Nicola has been a member of the Amherst Ballet community for a very long time. Her unwavering commitment to the school has been the cause of many positive changes, and her presence has been felt in the studio itself when she attends class as an adult dancer, at performances, and in the administration of our programs.
There are many things at Amherst Ballet that would never have happened if it were not for the generosity and good will of Beth and Nicola. We are honored by their service and our gratitude to both of them is limitless. Please join us in thanking them for their exceptional contributions!
In honor of these awards, Beth and Nicola's names are being engraved on plaques, that will join the others hanging up at the school outside the studios.
Thank you Beth and Nicola, on behalf of myself and Josh, and from the whole school community. I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
“Dwarves, I’m sorry… we’re going to run scene five, and then you can eat!”
“You’re going to run here and there and here…. And bow.”
“Where’s the chocolate?”
“On Amy’s desk.”
“He’s probably already married.”
“1 and 2 and 3… then, whew!”
“Flowers, go back to where you turn, please.”
“Okay! Good! Does everyone understand?”
“I have a question…”
“Do we have to leave? I want to stay.”
Whispers. The impossibility of homework. The squeak of shoes on the dance floor. Giggles. Shhhh….
And, of course, Beethoven.
Yep, it’s the first full-cast rehearsal of Snow White.