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Ballet Uncovered ~ Balancing Pointe Podcast

Uncover the world of Ballet and Dance with Balancing Pointe Podcast! Host Kimberly Falker interviews the world's top success stories in Ballet and Dance. From dancers, choreographers, writers, photographers and anyone who has "made it" in the world of Ballet and Dance, Kimberly shares their journey to the top and uncover's the secrets to their success.www.BalancingPointe.com

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05 - Megan Fairchild, Principal Dancer - New York City Ballet (NYCB)

Megan Fairchild is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. She seemingly catapulted through the ranks into the role of Principal with one of the most prestigious companies in the world in just a few short years. Despite her star appeal, Megan is humble and appreciative of her life and those who have helped her along the way. She began her dance training at the age of four, and then studied ballet at the Ballet West Conservatory in Salt Lake City. While at the Ballet West Conservatory, Ms. Fairchild was also a Ballet West trainee. At the age of 16, Ms. Fairchild moved to NYC to study at the School of American Ballet (SAB) in the fall of 2000. Her rise to principal dancer has been notably fast. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in November of 2001. In October 2002, she joined the NYCB company as a member of the corps de ballet. Two years later, Ms. Fairchild was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, at the age of 20 she was promoted to principal dancer. Megan thoughtfully shares her story with us, openly and honestly. We learn of her triumphs along her journey, from the studio to the stage and her recent marriage. She also shares with us her very real and challenging moments as a dancer.

1hr 7mins

5 Dec 2013

Rank #1

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166 ~ Kimberly Falker, the Host of Balancing Pointe Podcast is in the HOT seat today!

On today's episode of Balancing Pointe Podcast the Host, Kimberly Falker is in the HOT seat!  Melissa Klapper is the host and asks Kimberly all of the questions you may not know.  On this episode she is not uncovering Ballet, but uncovering HER journey in life, in podcasting and in her struggles as a mother of an aspiring ballerina. Melissa Klapper is a History professor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey and asked Kimberly to provide her some information as research for the book she is in the process of researching and writing, Ballet Class: An American History which is a scholarly book that will explore the twentieth-century growth of ballet class as a central part of American childhood. Melissa is currently on sabbatical and is devoting herself full time to the research and completion of this book. This will me Dr. Klapper's fourth scholarly book but her first book focusing on Ballet.   Melissa's other books are; Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925 (American Childhoods Series), Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 and Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890-1940. Dr. Klapper reached out to Kimberly to interview her as research for her book. From this they came up with the idea to record the interview and use it as its own episode on Balancing Pointe Podcast.  As you will hear, Kimberly provides a detailed history into her life and experiences as well as providing authentic thoughts on the hardships, frustrations and confusion she feels raising a daughter who is pursuing a life in Ballet. Balancing Pointe Website Facebook Follow BP on Twitter Instagram

1hr 34mins

5 Feb 2016

Rank #2

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58 - Lauren Lovette, Soloist NYCB

Lauren Lovette was born in Thousand Oaks, California and began studying ballet at the age of 11 at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina. She attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, during the summers of 2004 and 2005 and enrolled at SAB as a full time student in 2006. In October 2009, Ms. Lovette became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in September 2010 and was promoted to soloist in February 2013.

41mins

26 Sep 2014

Rank #3

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74 ~ Lauren & Francis Veyette, Principal Dancers with Pennsylvania Ballet - Part 1

Today I am bringing to you another husband & wife team, Lauren and Francis Veyette.  You may recognize the last name from a few of my previous interviews and this is because Francis is Andy Veyette’s brother.  This also means that Megan Fairchild, Robbie Fairchild and Tiler Peck are all intertwined not only through ballet but also through marriage.  You’ll hear today that they spend most of their holidays together and the six of them are extremely close.  I truly loved this interview for so many reasons – one because of the most unique journey taken by Lauren in dance. She was interestly quite fast tracked into the New York City Ballet, while still in high school, but then chose a different path – one that was more of a perfect fit for her.  Lauren actually left her professional career to pursue college and then went back to dance and is now a Principal dancer with Pennsylvania ballet.  And her husband, Francis….one of the four Veyette brothers shares a ton about his life growing up in California and the amazing sacrifices his parents made to help him pursue his career in ballet.  Francis is also a principal dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet and has recently received a promotion and is now the director of Pennsylvania Ballet 2 which is their second company.  

51mins

6 Feb 2015

Rank #4

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28 - Miko Fogarty, Moscow IBC 2013 Gold Medalist

Sixteen year old Miko was born in London in 1997 and moved to the US when she was two years old. Currently she trains with Tatiana Pali and Alyona Yakovleva-Randall at the Indiana Ballet Conservatory, and Kaoru Jinushi in Japan. Between 2008-2010 she returned to London three times to train at the Royal Ballet School's International Summer Program where she danced solo in the final performances and received the Commendation Award each year she attended. Miko was listed as one of The Most Influential People of 2011 in the Dance Spirit Magazine and has received worldwide recognition for her dancing. She was Gold Medalist twice at the World Ballet Competition in Florida (2009 and 2011), and won Bronze the New York Finals of the Youth America Grand Prix (2010). As a selected participant in the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria (2012), she was awarded the Distinction Diploma and won the Bronze Medal. Miko was invited to perform on the YAGP's 2011 Ballet Grand Prix Tour and danced with accomplished artists: Igor Kolb, Oksana Skorik, Elisa Carrillo Cabrera and Mikhail Kaniskin. Miko is known the world over among aspiring ballerinas as she was one of just six dancers featured in "First Position", the award-winning documentary film about preparing for the Youth American Grand Prix ballet competition. In 2013 Miko won Best Swiss Dancer in the 41st Prix de Lausanne, and was offered full-year scholarships from 5 European ballet schools as well as two schools from the US. To crown the year, she won the Gold Medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition. Miko is currently training for another busy year filled with competitions and gala guest appearances.

32mins

28 Mar 2014

Rank #5

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75~ Lauren Fadeley Veyette & Francis Veyette, Principal Dancers with Pennsylvania Ballet - Part 2

Today I continue with Part Two of my interview with Lauren and Francis as we dive deeper into turning hurdles or disappointments into opportunities to learn and grow. As you will hear, Francis leaves the interview to meet with a friend ~ Matthew Neenan who will be a guest in an upcoming episode.  Before he leaves, however, he shares with us his words of wisdom for aspiring dancers. Lauren and I continue our discussion as she shares with me what it was really like to to dance in the hit movie, "Black Swan". (she still received royalty checks from that experience)  Be sure to take a look at their Shownotes page where you will see some fantastic footage of their photo shoot with award winning photographer (and Balancing Pointe's previous guest), Jordan Matter.   You can find their show notes page at BalancingPointe.com under Podcast.

38mins

13 Feb 2015

Rank #6

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65 - Kathryn Morgan ~ from NYCB to You Tube sensation

Kathryn Morgan began studying ballet at age three at Mobile Ballet in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. She attended the summer program at the School of American Ballet in 2004 and enrolled as a full time student that fall. Kathryn joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice in June of 2006 and became a member of the corps de ballet of the Company in February of 2007.  In October 2009, Kathryn was promoted to soloist. In August of 2012 Kathryn left NYCB due to a long-term struggle with hypothyroidism (an under-functioning thyroid). The condition is difficult for anyone to deal with, but it’s especially devastating for dancers—it robs you of energy and causes weight gain.  Since then, along with focusing on getting her medical condition stabilized, Kathryn has been actively dancing with the Mobile Ballet.  Kathryn has also used her background in ballet to create a You Tube channel providing make up tips for the stage as well as other advice for aspiring dancers.  Kathryn is now healthy, strong and ready to re-enter the dance world. http://ifthepointeshoefits.com/ https://twitter.com/KMorganBallet http://facebook.com/KathrynEMorgan https://www.youtube.com/user/Tutugirlkem

54mins

14 Nov 2014

Rank #7

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16 - Olivia Boisson, Corps de Ballet, New York City Ballet

Olivia Boisson is a member of New York City Ballet's corps de ballet. She was born in Queens, New York, and began her dance training at the age of six at The Ballet Arts School of Forest Hills. She later studied at the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2000 before enrolling as a full time student at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, during the fall of 2004. In August 2012, Ms. Boisson became an apprentice with NYCB, and the following December, she joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet.

31mins

25 Dec 2013

Rank #8

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53 - Mikayla Lambert, School of American Ballet, NYC

Mikayla Lambert high school senior and a student of the School of American Ballet which is the official training academy of the New York City Ballet, which was established in 1934 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein as the first and most essential step in their quest to create an American classical ballet company. SAB, located at New York City's Lincoln Center, is today the premier ballet academy in the United States, training more students who go on to become professional dancers than any other school. SAB's former students fill the ranks of the New York City Ballet and other leading U.S. and international ballet companies. Students who train year round first attend a five-week Summer Course at SAB.  Acceptance into the Summer course is by audition only.  SAB  accepts only 200 ballet students from around the world.  As soon as the Summer Course classes commence, SAB’s faculty begin to closely assess summer students’ potential for year-round training at SAB.  By the end of the five weeks, a very select few dancers are invited to stay and train with the school for their winter term.  In any given year, approximately 15 percent of summer students are invited to continue at SAB as Winter Term students. Mikayla Lambert who is one of these select students. 

36mins

22 Aug 2014

Rank #9

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79 ~ Sarasota Ballet's Director Iain Webb

Born in Yorkshire, England, Iain started ballet at the age of 14 and moved to London at 16, where he trained for two years with The Rambert School of Ballet, a year at The Royal Ballet School and a further year as an apprentice with The Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet where he was offered a full time position.  In 1989 he transferred to The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. In 1996, Iain Webb retired from The Royal Ballet, but was invited back as a guest artist to give three farewell performances.  After retiring as a dancer, he was invited by Matthew Bourne to be Rehearsal Director for The West End, L.A. and Broadway seasons of Swan Lake.  He continued to work with Bourne on his production of Cinderella.  In 1999, Iain was asked by Tetsuya Kumakawa to join his newly formed K-Ballet Company in Japan as Ballet Master. Two years later was appointed Assistant Director. In July 2007, Webb took over the directorship of The Sarasota Ballet and during the last four seasons the company has performed 102 ballets & divertissements which include 16 world premieres, 55 Sarasota premieres, 4 new productions and 27 American premieres.  Iain's interview not only inspires but provides valuable tips and words of wisdom for anyone interested in a career in dance. http://balancing-pointe.com/ http://www.sarasotaballet.org/ http://www.yourobserver.com/article/leaping-page

1hr 25mins

4 May 2015

Rank #10

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VALENTINE'S DAY Special ~Heather Ogden & Guillaume Côté ~ Principal Dancers, National Ballet of Canada

Guillaume and Heather joined the National Ballet of Canada around the same time – in the late nineties, becoming Principal dancers in 2004 and 2005. And although they knew each other for years, it was not until many years later that they began dating. They discovered a chemistry between each other when they were paired together but did not act on this discovery for quite some time. Their chemistry was strong on stage, so Heather and Guilluame were paired for many lead roles and the audience loved what they saw. Today, the couple look forward to spending time with family and enjoying each other in the studio.  Their friendship and energy as a couple is infectious and their interview together purely inspirational (not to mention fun).

33mins

15 Feb 2014

Rank #11

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43 - Jillian Vanstone ~ Principal Dancer, National Ballet of Canada

Jillian Vanstone was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia where at age six she began ballet studies at the Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts. Within two years she had already determined that dance was her life’s calling. In 1994 she passed the rigorous audition process to be accepted into Canada’s prestigious National Ballet School in Toronto where she later earned two coveted awards. Following her graduation Vanstone entered the National Ballet of Canada in 1999, was promoted to second soloist in 2003, to first soloist three years later before being appointed a principal in 2011.

49mins

20 Jun 2014

Rank #12

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55 - Isabella LaFrenieare, Apprentice ~ NYCB

Isabella is a graduating high school senior who is also dancing professionally as an apprentice with NYCB a prestigious honor provided to few.  Isabella grew up living in many states but wound up for many years living in Illinois in a suburb outside of Chicago.  She would travel 1 1/2 hours each way into the city to train at the Joffrey Ballet.  When Isabella was entering into her 9th grade year she auditioned for the School of American Ballet (SAB) winter term and was accepted.  SAB which is the official training academy of the New York City Ballet. After the SAB Workshop performances in her 11th grade year, Isabella was asked to be an Apprentice.  During her senior year of high school Isabella has been juggling a full load of school and dancing professionally with the NYCB company.  Today we learn more about what it is like to be an apprentice in one of the top companies in the world. Nearly all of the current members of New York City Ballet received training at the School of American Ballet and entered the Company through the Apprentice Program, which is jointly administered by NYCB and SAB. Only students enrolled at the School are eligible for apprenticeships. NYCB does not hold auditions. Each year, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins invites a small number of advanced students, usually ranging in age from 16 to 18, to become apprentices, providing the first stage of their professional careers. Apprentices take class and rehearse with the Company six days a week at NYCB’s Lincoln Center facilities. 

45mins

5 Sep 2014

Rank #13

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20 - Laurel Keen, Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Laurel Keen was a Principal dancer for nearly a decade with Alonzo King LINES, a contemporary ballet company based in San Francisco. In her years with the company, Laurel originated 21 roles, was featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine and earned the prestigious Princess Grace Award. In describing what makes her an exceptional artist, Alonzo King once said,"Her clarity is like calligraphy carved in steel...her faultless honesty and sincerity... her ability to be rather than do." Laurel grew up in Minneapolis where she began her training at Minnesota Dance Theatre, studying there from the age of seven until she reached high school. During this time, she also received training from the School of American Ballet, Dance Aspen, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School (PNBS). She moved to Seattle and continued with PNBS as a professional division student. Laurel was able to perform and tour with the company, dancing in several Balanchine works. Upon completing her training with PNBS, Laurel returned to Minneapolis and to the Minnesota Dance Theater as a company member. In 2002, she joined Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco. In 2006, her fifth season with LINES, Laurel received a Princess Grace Award, one of only six dancers that year to receive the award. As an additional honor, the Dance Panel voted to recognize Laurel with the Princess Grace Foundation-USA's Chris Hellman Dance Award. This award, endowed by Prima Ballerina Chris Hellman and her husband, F. Warren Hellman, represents the panel's high regard for a dancer's work and dedication to dance.

33mins

24 Jan 2014

Rank #14

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11 - Allison DeBona, Soloist Ballet West - TV show Breaking Pointe

Allison DeBona is a Soloist with Ballet West of Salt Lake City, Utah and a featured cast member on CW's hit reality television series Breaking Pointe. By design, her role as the latter has catapulted her dancing and her life as a ballerina into public prominence. After witnessing declining ticket sales and slashed budgets at Ballet West, (as well as other companies world-wide) she readily participated in the reality series in hopes of bringing ballet to a more mainstream and modern audience. As such, she has successfully created a social media audience of more than ten thousand followers. Among them, naturally, are thousands of aspiring dancers of every genre looking up to her, watching her, and wondering how they could be her. So, given how her goals meshed with those of our podcast, naturally we wanted to tell her story. It may surprise some that Allison's journey has not been typical for a dancer. In fact, Allison quit dancing at 13 and did not start again until she was 16. Later she decided to pursue the college route before becoming an apprentice to Ballet West in her early 20s. Forthright and determined, Allison succeeded in getting a start  with Ballet West and is now a soloist dancing great roles and great choreography. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she trained with The Parou Ballet Company under Debbie Parou, followed by the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet under Jean Gedeon. Allison then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ballet from Indiana University. She joined Ballet West in 2007 and was promoted to Demi-Soloist in 2011. The success of the television show has translated to success for ballet, bringing larger audiences for Ballet West at home and abroad. The popularity of the series can also be seen as the inspiration for other reality based productions about ballet companies around the world.

48mins

13 Dec 2013

Rank #15

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25 - Julia Erickson & Aaron Ingley- Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre - Part One

Julia Erickson Julia Erickson, originally from Seattle, is a Principal Dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She is also the creator and co-owner of Barre-Real Food Bars, alongside Aaron Ingley. You may also recognize Julia from Gaynor Minden pointe shoe ads. Julia began her training at age seven in Level 1 at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She continued training on scholarship at PNBS and later at San Francisco Ballet School. She toured to Europe and Asia with PNB and danced with the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet for two seasons, prior to joining Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2001. As creator of Barre, Julia has a second career with partner and co-owner Aaron Ingley. Stemming from a rigorous rehearsal schedule for Swan Lake in Spring 2010, Julia sought a better in-between rehearsal snack. At home in her kitchen, she created just that. She shared them with other dancers receiving rave reviews. Soon she and Aaron found themselves in the role of entrepreneurs with a growing snack bar business. Barre is available nationally in Whole Foods Stores as well as online. Hear more from Julia and Aaron about Barre-Real Food Bar in Part Two of their interview on January 17, 2014. Aaron Ingley Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Aaron studied musical theater at Young Actors Theater before beginning ballet training at age 13 with Southern Academy of Ballet Arts and Tallahassee Ballet. Aaron completed his professional training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, where he performed with that company at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival and the 2000 Hong Kong Festival. He was also featured as Tom Snout in PNB's production of George Balanchine A Midsummer Night's Dream produced for television by the BBC. Aaron performed professionally with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for nine seasons. A versatile dancer, Aaron was featured in numerous classical and contemporary roles and served as the company's Principal Character Artist during that time. In addition to performing and teaching ballet, Aaron is a professional actor and recently completed degrees in History and Management at University of Pittsburgh. A consummate innovator, Aaron pushes the boundaries, helping expand the ways in which art is conceptualized and defined. Aaron is an avid cyclist and as co-owner of Barre, enjoys creating delicious, healthy snacks in the kitchen with Julia.

48mins

7 Mar 2014

Rank #16

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26 - Barre Food Bar-Part Two

The Barre Story In 2010, professional ballet dancers Julia Erickson and Aaron Ingley set out to create Barre Food, a health-minded snack bar that provides exceptional nutritional fortification specifically for the elite athleticism  and precision artistry of a dancer. As all professional dancers do, they experienced physically demanding rehearsals coupled with little time to eat. Dissatisfied with the energy bars on the market, Julia retreated to her own kitchen and developed an easy-to-consume, highly nutritious and great tasting bar. Marketing her creations to colleagues in the studio and students at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, they quickly developed a following. Julia knew she could fulfill a need in the market and enlisted the talent of her friend and business partner Aaron. Today, Barre produces and distributes health-minded snacks and performance products specially formulated to live up to the rigors of such a demanding artist-athlete lifestyle. Barre is proud to donate a portion of its proceeds to arts education programs, to help increase access to art across all levels of society and give back to that which has been such an important part of their lives. We think there are many parallels. Don't people say that ballet is the best training for, well, almost anything?! Hard work, faith in oneself, dedication, a hunger to fulfill one’s potential…these are all things required for success in both careers.

14 Mar 2014

Rank #17

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194 -Gina Pero: Dance-preneur, Elite Performance Coach, Speaker, former Radio City Rockette

On this episode Kimberly chats with Gina Pero who will be The Premier Dance Network's newest host to join her network of amazingly talented hosts.   Gina Pero has turned her pain from obstacles such as a brain injury, scoliosis, and reverse bullying into her purpose.  Going behind the curtain to learn about her and others personal experiences, influences, and triumphs will empower you to take action on the life you really want. The Gina Pero show will feature dialogue from family, professional colleagues, industry experts and performing artists,  as she goes beyond one’s achievements and into the journey each individual took to arrive at their current destination. The Premier Dance Network Balancing Pointe website

57mins

20 Jun 2016

Rank #18

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76 ~ Ballet 422 - Producer Ellen Bar ~ Part One

Ballet 422 Producer Ellen Bar is the wife of Director Jody Lee Lupas and shares with Balancing Pointe more about her experience in producing this most amazing documentary that made its world debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014 and is now being presented in movie houses all over the U.S. In 2011, after 13 years as a professional ballerina, Ellen became the Director of Media Projects at NYCB, where she is responsible for developing and producing the company's film and video content. In less than two years, she has worked with some of the best young filmmakers in New York to produce and/or direct over 30 short documentary films for the company. BALLET 422 is her first feature-length documentary.  From first rehearsal to world premiere, BALLET 422 takes us backstage at New York City Ballet as Justin Peck, a young up-and-coming choreographer, crafts a new work. With unprecedented access to an elite world, BALLET 422 illuminates the process behind the creation of a single ballet.

40mins

20 Feb 2015

Rank #19

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64 - Nao Kusuzaki, Soloist Houston Ballet

Nao Kusuzaki was born in Ehime, Japan and grew up in Japan, Washington D.C., and Boston. In Japan, Ms. Kusuzaki trained at the Yatsuzuka Ballet. In the United States she trained with Mary Day and Patricia Berrend at the Washington School of Ballet and with Tatiana Legat, Laura Young, and Sydney Leonard at the Boston Ballet School. Ms. Kusuzaki has danced professionally with Boston Ballet for five seasons. In 2004 Nao joined Houston Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet.  In 2008 she was promoted to Soloist.

41mins

7 Nov 2014

Rank #20