Journey Into Dance

As talented dancers approach high school graduation, they often find themselves asking some tough questions, including “Should I abandon my love of dance and possible professional career to go to college, or should I postpone my advanced education to pursue my dance career?”

Our Ballet Mistress and Artistic Director, Dubraskha Arrivillaga, found herself faced with the same challenge. As she shared, “…my Mom always told me that she would let me dance as long as my academics were my priority.” Although she began her professional career at the young age of 14, Dubraskha kept her promise to her mother. Dubraskha graduated from high school at the age of 16, took two years off from school to focus on dance, and searched for a career that allowed her to dance professionally during the day and to attend school at night.

The same focus and determination that made her such an accomplished ballet dancer also helped her with her studies. At age 18, she enrolled in the Central University of Venezuela, from where she matriculated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “At a very young age, I learned to manage my time….I also learned that you can do anything you set your mind and heart to.  I made my Mom proud and was able to live my dream.”

Photograph (by Katie and Tony de la Paz): During the 2014 "Evening with Classical Ballet Theatre," students perform "Journey," by Christine O'Neal.

Photograph (by Katie and Tony de la Paz): During the 2014 “Evening with Classical Ballet Theatre,” students perform “Journey,” by Christine O’Neal.

As Dubraskha’s story highlights, higher education and professional dance careers are not mutually exclusive. Today’s graduates can have the best of both worlds! Check out this Dance Spirit Magazine article to learn more about the journey into dance! http://www.dancespirit.com/…/i-have-no-idea-what-i-want-to…/

Learning from the Masters — and from their Program

Ashley dances a beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy with Cavalier Norbert Nirewicz in Classical Ballet Theatre's 2014 performances of The Nutcracker.

Ashley dances a beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy with Cavalier Norbert Nirewicz in Classical Ballet Theatre’s 2014 performances of The Nutcracker.

We’re sure it has been a big week for our student Ashley, who has been performing in American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT) Cinderella at the Kennedy Center. This was quite an honor; not only because ABT is one of the world’s finest performing arts organizations, but also because Ashley was able to learn from two internationally acclaimed Principal Dancers, Julie Kent and Xiomara Reyes, both of whom are planning retirement in the near future.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/these-star-ballerinas-are-retiring–graceful-and-grateful-to-the-last-dance/2015/03/20/62f0ef6a-cf24-11e4-a2a7-9517a3a70506_story.html.

How did Ashley earn such an honor? First, she is a hardworking and talented dancer who has trained and performed with us for years. Second, she has earned coveted summer intensive opportunities with ABT – New York. Third, she has been exposed to the ABT-developed National Training Curriculum, right here at Classical Ballet Theatre in Herndon!

We are one of the few area performing arts organizations that train students using the ABT National Training Curriculum, considered the gold standard in the United States today. Incorporating elements of the Russian, Italian, and French schools of training, the curriculum embraces sound ballet principles and helps ballet instructors to teach students proper body alignment and technique as well as to give students the ability to adapt to various dance styles. Our Ballet Mistress, Dubraskha Arrivillaga, is fully certified in the curriculum. By using this curriculum, we are ensuring that we are safely working with the young people whose training has been entrusted to us, and, at the same time, we are teaching them skills that help them become successful!

Excellence for Every Child

As I often do, this morning I found myself mesmerized watching Classical Ballet Theatre’s company members immerse themselves in a modern class instructed by Artist in Residence Gillmer Duran. I say they were “taking a class,” but it seemed much more than that as they moved through their bodies and across the floor. All of the students were absolutely beautiful. Perhaps it was their years of training or their obvious joy of movement, or, as it was soon pointed out to me, perhaps it was the diverse gifts they bring with them.

“They are all different shapes and sizes,” enthusiastically commented a mother of a much younger dancer taking a class in an adjacent studio. She is right. Some are powerhouses with as much hang time as any basketball player; some are perfecters of challenging technique; and still others are open books oozing with artistic expression. Together, they form a company of diverse and successful artists who look forward to every opportunity to share their love of dance.

But, it isn’t just their inherent gifts. Each student has received the care of Classical Ballet Theatre’s faculty members. Under the leadership of Executive Director Cynthia Donavin, these esteemed faculty members welcome every dancer and focus on each student’s personal development. There are no favorites. Through a rigorous American Ballet Theatre ballet curriculum, contemporary dance training, master classes, and multiple performance opportunities, every one of the dancers have the opportunity and personal attention to develop to his/her full potential.

Thank you, Classical Ballet Theatre, for keeping your promise of excellence for every child.

— A CBT Parent, Going on 8 Years and Loving It!

What is it that we do at Classical Ballet Theatre?

Welcome to the first Classical Ballet Theatre (CBT) blog!

As the Executive Director of CBT, I am out in our community, on a daily basis, talking about the organization.  I am constantly asked “What is it that we do at CBT?”  I respond with an answer that has, over time, come to reflect the organization’s overall mission and that I also hope will be CBT’s legacy.  Cultural education is what we do at CBT.

What exactly does that mean?  Okay, literal definitions from Mr. Webster.  “Cultural” means “of or relating to artistic or social pursuits considered to be valuable or enlightened,” and “education” means “a program of instruction of a specific kind or level that can be an enlightening or instructive experience.”  This boils down to the definition of what we offer at CBT on a daily basis — A valuable artistic pursuit provided in a program of enlightened instruction.

Well, then you may ask, “What does ‘enlightened’ mean?”  Enlightened means “that which provides intellectual insight.”

CBT provides a valuable artistic pursuit that is taught and presented in a program that provides intellectual insight.

And that, my friends, is what we do at CBT on a daily basis.

See you next time for another look at “what goes on behind the scenes” at CBT!

–Cynthia