With Ventura’s Footworks Youth Ballet, students and audiences alike get to experience the utmost in classical ballet repertoire. Students fill lead roles whenever possible in productions like The Nutcracker every December, or Cinderella, Snow White, Swan Lake, and others every spring. “Our overall goal is to share the experience of quality classical ballet through the performances for all of our dancers, at all levels, and also for our entire community,” shares Kirsten Oakley, Artistic Director of Footworks Youth Ballet.
“This spring, we are especially thrilled to present three ballets almost completely cast with our students,” she continues. “Most students dance for the joy of dance and for the positive experience of participating in the production. Others have studied seriously for many years and are headed to prestigious summer programs and, eventually, to a professional career in dance. We encourage and nurture all levels.”
On Saturday, June 2nd, Footworks brings Giselle to the stage for a matinee (2 pm) as well as an evening performance (7 pm) at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. Giselle is the epitome of Romantic ballet. First performed in 1841 to the music of French composer Adolphe Adam, it is the story of love lost, remorse, and forgiveness. Not often performed, Giselle will offer Ventura County residents a special opportunity to experience a ballet that is often dubbed as moody and ethereal with a touch of the supernatural.
Footworks Youth Ballet will also feature a different production on Sunday, June 3rd (2 pm), with the matinee performance of the well-known children’s classic, Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev. “In our version of Peter and The Wolf, we include original and fun variations. Of course, you will see your old favorites, including the Wolf, Peter, Grandfather, the Bird, Cat and Ducks—but we will also feature lively performances by leaping Frogs, Villagers, Squirrels and Hunters, and an additional dream sequence for the Wolf,” says Laurin Boland, Director of the Children’s Division. “Kirsten always adds wonderful twists to the story, making our audience laugh while allowing more artistry for our dancers.”
Since the story ballet Peter and the Wolf is only a one-act production, Kirsten Oakley has added yet another genre of dance to the mix: Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, a George Balanchine-inspired ballet choreographed in the neoclassical style. A more sleek and modern style, it features classical ballet movements but with increased energy and speed, pared-down sets and costumes, and without any reliance on a narrative.
Footworks Youth Ballet is a nonprofit ballet company located in Ventura, California, whose purpose is to provide educational opportunities to young people and the community through the art of ballet. Each season, Footworks Youth Ballet coordinates Outreach events for school children, which occur this year on June 1st. The events are completely filled, allowing over 3,000 school children to experience the high-quality artistry of young dancers, ages 5 to 17, in a production that includes professionally created costumes, lighting and sets.
Oxnard Performing Arts Center
June 2nd: Giselle, 2 pm and 7 pm
June 3rd: Classical Symphony and Peter and the Wolf, 2 pm
For info/tickets: www.footworksyouthballet.org, or call 486-2424.