Ballet Stars
Amy Herchenroether in Giselle with Saint Louis Ballet. Kelly Pratt, courtesy Saint Louis Ballet.

It's that time of year again: recital season! Memories will be made, including some hilarious ones. (Does it even count as a recital if something funny doesn't happen?) We asked four pros to share their most humorous recital memories from their student days, from costume malfunctions to onstage bloopers.

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Raffaella Stroik. Photo via stlouisballet.org

Update: Raffaella Stroik's body was found near a boat ramp in Florida, Missouri on Wednesday morning. No information about what led to the death is currently available. Our thoughts are with her friends and family.

Raffaella Stroik, a 23-year-old dancer with the Saint Louis Ballet, went missing on Monday.

Her car was found with her phone inside in a parking lot near a boat ramp in Mark Twain Lake State Park—130 miles away from St. Louis. On Tuesday, the police began an investigation into her whereabouts.

Stroik was last seen at 10:30 am on Monday at a Whole Foods Market in Town and Country, a suburb of St. Louis. She was wearing an olive green jacket, a pink skirt, navy pants with white zippers and white tennis shoes.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Vanessa Woods in Saint Louis Ballet's Swan Lake. Pratt + Kreidich Photography, courtesy Woods.

During her second season at Saint Louis Ballet in 2012, Vanessa Woods' search for a fulfilling side job led her to start her own. With a reputation of being "the business ballerina" (she earned her degree in marketing from Washington University in St. Louis' night program while dancing with SLB), Woods began brainstorming ideas with her mom.

After realizing seniors were overlooked in the dance world, Woods decided to create Vitality Ballet, a program for senior citizens. "I think as dancers we're used to being told what to do," she says. "At times it's hard to figure out what to do next, and how do you properly launch a website, and figure out pricing, and hire teachers?"

Woods teaching Vitality Ballet. Pratt + Kreidich Photography

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
Saint Louis Ballet dancer Kaila Feldspausch and Angus. Photo Courtesy Dancers & Dogs.

Last March photographer Kelly Pratt Kreidich came up with an idea: to photograph dancers and dogs...together. "It all came to me," she says. "I wanted the images to look really clean, simple and lighthearted. And obviously, because it's dogs, kind of silly." And thus, Dancers & Dogs was born.

Based in St. Louis, MO Kreidich and her husband Ian are a husband-and-wife photography team known as Pratt and Kreidich Photography. Four years ago, just for fun, they started taking pictures of a couple of the dancers in the Saint Louis Ballet, and when the company was in need of a Nutcracker photographer, they were hired. Now the duo is responsible for all of SLB's marketing and performance photography. So when Kreidich came up with her vision, she naturally reached out to SLB for dancers. "The company was really receptive to it," she says. "They've even been letting us use their studios."

Finding dogs wasn't quite so easy. "We have certain requirements. They have to be able to sit and stay and behave nicely indoors," says Kreidich. She put out a call to all of her canine-loving friends, promising fine art portraits of the dogs alone if their owners let them pose with the dancers.

SLB dancers Elizabeth Lloyd with Lola and Trooper. Photo Courtesy Dancers & Dogs.

Keep reading... Show less
Director's Notes
Gen Horiuchi with dancers Lauren Lane and Elliott Geolat. Photo by Sabrine Rhodes.

When Gen Horiuchi became the executive and artistic director of Saint Louis Ballet, his mentor Peter Martins offered the same wisdom that George Balanchine had given him: Running a company isn't just about ballet—you have to do and oversee everything. That leadership philosophy is what Horiuchi, now 53, has adopted at Saint Louis Ballet.

The Tokyo native and former New York City Ballet principal took over the financially troubled company from longtime artistic directors Ludmila Dokoudovsky and Antoni Zalewski in 2000. Within two years Horiuchi stabilized the organization's finances and restructured and revitalized the Saint Louis Ballet School. In 2010, he moved the organization into a new 7,500-square-foot facility with four studios.

Now in his 18th season with SLB, Horiuchi has increased the company's annual operating budget from $200,000 in 2000 to $2 million currently, grown the number of dancers from 13 to 25, and added more productions (when he arrived they were only perform- ing Nutcracker). He's also increased ticket sales and bolstered the school's enrollment from 50 to 350 students.

Keep reading... Show less
Summer Intensive Survival
Students at the University of Utah's Department of Ballet summer intensive. Photo by August Miller, Courtesy U of U.

Maura Bell was determined to have a ballet career. But as a high school senior, she didn't feel ready to audition for companies yet. “I knew I had more maturing to do, both technically and as a young woman," she remembers. Bell started researching collegiate options and discovered that Indiana University's ballet department hosted a two-week summer intensive for pre-college students. “The reputation of IU spoke for itself, so I decided to do the summer intensive to get a feel for what it would be like to go there."

The deciding moment came at the end of her second week, when department chair Michael Vernon led her and fellow students on a tour of IU's Musical Arts Center. “I remember standing on that stage—it's the size of the Met— and it just clicked: This was where I wanted to be, my dream school," she recalls. Bell auditioned for the ballet department that fall. Four years later, she credits the training and connections she made at IU with her ultimate post-graduation success: a contract with Saint Louis Ballet.

College summer programs offer students a chance to experience what life would be like as a dance major, and introduce them to a wide range of possibilities for their training and future career. Even those on the fence about going to school could benefit from spending a few weeks on campus—along with the strong focus on individual development, collegiate summer intensives allow students to meet year-round faculty and current dance majors, scope out the dorms and dance facilities, and do some major networking.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox