Magazine article Pointe

Kentucky Blue Bloods

Magazine article Pointe

Kentucky Blue Bloods

Article excerpt

Dancers Working

Mixing old and new keeps Louisville Ballet dancers in peak form.

Louisville Ballet Artistic Director Alun Jones's penchant for the eclectic presents his versatile dancers with roles that are challenging and fun. "When I was a student training in a black leotard and pink tights, I never imagined I'd someday be running around the stage barefoot with sunglasses on, playing a spy, which I did in a David Parsons piece called The Envelope," says company member Melissa Framiglio. She also dances more traditional roles like Odile in Swan Lake.

Founded in 1952, Louisville Ballet has been guided by Jones since 1978. Helen Starr, who was LB's prima ballerina for more than 20 years, assists Jones as associate director. The company has an annual budget of $2.6 million and hires 24 professional dancers and four to six trainees for 33-week season. Louisville also runs a school with 250 students and maintains a civic company that fills out the cast in the company's larger productions.

The classical repertory includes the fulllength ballets Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Don Quix, LB has also premiered more than 50 ballets and regularly features works by Balanchine, Tuor, Limon and Taylor.

"Alun and Helen are very focused on the artistry as well as the technical aspects of dancing," says Framiglio. One way they foster artistry is by offering special performance opportunities.

Each summer, the company presents a program called Freeform in which the dancers improvise to the music of a guest jazz musician. …

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