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General Interest

  • Valentine’s Day with Seth Orza & Sarah Ricard Orza

    Seth Orza, Soloist and Sarah Ricard Orza, Corps de Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet.  Shown here in "Petit Mort".

    Seth

    Ah, Valentine’s Day! It’s the time of year when we shower our true love with tokens of affection, whether they be in the form of a box of chocolates, a gushy card, or a dozen roses (or all of the above!).

    In the dance world, Valentine’s Day can be especially wonderful as couples not only live, but oftentimes work, together. We decided to get an inside look at the blessings of Valentine’s Day through the eyes of the dancers themselves. First up is Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza of Pacific Northwest Ballet!

    Vala: “How did you two meet?”
    Seth: “We met in New York at the School of American Ballet’s when we were both 13.”
    Sarah: “We met at the summer course. Then we got together and started dating seriously when we were both at the School of American Ballet for their year round program when we were 17. And we’ve been pretty much together ever since then. We’ve been together now for 12 years and married for 2 ½ years.”

    Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza shown here at SAB Summer Course, 1995 (Age 14). Seth & Sarah met at age 13.

    Seth

    Vala: “Congratulations, that’s wonderful! So what’s the best thing about being married to a fellow dancer?”
    Sarah: “Well, I think that the dance world is just so small and intimate; sometimes it’s hard to explain or even relate to people who aren’t in the world on a daily basis—what’s going on, or what the daily ups and downs are like. So, if I’m having a bad day, Seth already knows why and that’s good.”
    Seth: “We try to help each other out along the way through the pressures of ballet, performing, and all that.”
    Sarah: “Oh, and travelling. If we tour, it’s great. It’s really nice to have your loved one with you when you’re going to all those places.”

    Vala: “How do you two plan to make this Valentine’s Day special?”
    Seth: “Well…” he says with a sly tone, “it’s kind of a surprise.”
    Vala: (Laughing) “Oops! I don’t want to ruin anything!”
    Seth: “We try to do something special every Valentines day, but it’s hard after twelve years to do something different every time.”
    Sarah: “There was one year when I had the genius idea of getting chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva. So I got a dozen chocolate strawberries only to find that in the fridge at home, Seth had also gotten a dozen Godiva strawberries!” she laughs.
    Seth: “We had a lot of chocolate strawberries!” he chuckles.
    Vala: “Great minds think alike! So, do you have any last words of advice for fellow dancers out there?”
    Seth: “It’s nice being in a relationship with a co-worker—or a dancer—and it does work out.”
    Sarah: “It’s definitely a balance, though. I mean, we’re together at work all the time and then at home all the time. So sometimes there’s days when one of us has to step back and take some space—be it at work or at home. You just find that balance with spending all of your time together.”

    Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza on their Wedding Day

    Seth

    Vala: “Do you ever have a day when you really don’t want to be with the other person but you still have to work with them?”
    Seth/Sarah: “Oh no, never!” they laugh in unison.
    Seth: “Of course, but I think that happens in any relationship.”
    Sarah: “We have partnered together a lot, and that has challenges…”
    Seth: “Yeah, working together professionally…I mean, if she’s just around it’s one thing, but if we’re working together, it’s kind of hard sometimes.”
    Vala: “Well thank you both so very much! I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!”
    Sarah: “Thank you! You have a happy Valentines Day, too!”

    by Denise Opper, Media Relations Class Act Tutu & Vala Dancewear

    This post first appeared Valentine's Day, 2010.

  • Happy 4th of July, America! Love, Vala

    Happy 4th of July!In celebration of our Independence Day this 4th of July, we here at Vala Dancewear wanted to take a moment and say, "Thank you" to all the hard-working dancers out there. Whether you wear your Vala to company class, rehearsal or summer course, we are PROUD and HONORED to serve you!

    Vala ~ Proudly Made in the USA

    When you purchase from Vala, you not only get a gorgeous leotard that moves, stretches and breathes (and let's face it - makes you look hotter than a firecracker!),  you also help boost our country's economy. That's because Vala Dancewear has been, and always will be, manufactured right here in the USA.Made-in-USA-Crop-plain-for-web-100

    With Vala, you get more than just a fabulous leotard. You also get American pride, American quality and all-American beauty!

    So, on behalf of all of us here at Vala...Happy 4th of July! And thank YOU for making us the hottest fashion-forward dancewear company in the nation! We LOVE you!

  • Vala Dancewear & PNB soloist, Lindsi Dec - Pointe Magazine Exclusive

    Photo by Nathan Sayers

    Photo

    "Lindsi Dec steps out from the “Rubies” corps, lowering her arms slowly, a flash in her eyes. And then she bursts into action, her 5' 9" worth of angular beauty unfurling into head-high extensions. Darting and slinking through Balanchine’s hip-jutting steps, the Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist is having the time of her life. And so is the audience." - Pointe Magazine

    Congratulations to Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist (and Vala Dancewear model), Lindsi Dec - on her awesome feature in the October/November issue of Pointe Magazine! Read all about Lindsi, her rise to fame and her incredible work ethic here.

    {PS: On page 10, Lindsi is modeling Vala Dancewear's "Siren" in one of our new colors.   Don't miss it!}

  • Book Review: Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear

    jack6.000x9.000.inddOkay, ballet fans - be honest. How awesome would it be to spend an entire year exploring the inner-workings of one of the world's most celebrated ballet companies?

    Just think: You would observe countess rehearsals, exhilarating performances, daily classes, nerve-wracking auditions and necessary board meetings. You would get to know the dancers and their artistic director, the stage hands, lighting directors, costume designers, marketers, fundraisers - even catch a glimpse of a few dance moms and their children.

    Every question would be answered. Every rumor laid to rest. Absolutely no one (and nothing) would be off limits! It would be a dream come true, right?

    Well, give yourself a good pinch because trust me - you're awake and your wish has been granted! In his newest book, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear, best-selling author, Stephen Manes pulls back the gilded stage curtain and shares what it was like to spend a year with Seattle's own Pacific Northwest Ballet.

    Four years in the making, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear isn’t just another textbook-ish tome; it instead reveals just how ballets are produced, marketed, and funded. In short, this beefy book – with all of its juicy gossip and first-hand dancer accounts – boldly goes where no balletomane has gone before!

    Through Manes’ watchful eye, you’ll discover many facets and secrets of the Land of Ballet such as: What it takes to keep the holiday cash-cow known as Nutcracker running year after (endless) year; how the company survived its most tumultuous, injury plagued and downright stressful staging of Roméo et Juliette; the harsh reality of “body is destiny”, and just how much a dancer will (can?) put up with - physically and emotionally - before calling it quits.

    You will be a fly on the wall during artistic director, Peter Boal’s most difficult decisions and discover why he and others in his position must be “willing to be hated”. You’re there as members of the “Who’s Who in Choreography” (Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp, Jaime Martinez, and Bernice Coppieters), give corrections and guidance for proper staging of their work. You’ll also witness the drama that surrounds a dancer's life - the fiery contentions, the painful jealousies and cherished friendships.

    Also revealed are the accounts from Pacific Northwest Ballet School students, as well as those from the oftentimes unsung "heroes of the pit" - orchestra pit, that is.

    Now although PNB is certainly at the book’s center, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear is by no means exclusive to the Seattle crowd. In fact, this literary work of art (not exaggerating!) could have just as easily been written about any other top ballet company, from New York to London. Because no matter how you slice it, a dancer’s needs, desires, fears and frustrations are the same.

    Quite honestly, I cannot say enough great things about this book. Its exciting and insanely in-depth coverage of "life on the inside" is exactly what tired, musty-dusty dance library shelves have been craving for years! Stephen Manes has done an excellent job at conveying all the intricacies of a ballet company's success, without sacrificing a single note from the chorus of countless artistic voices behind it. (Bravo!)

    From union mandates to marketing strategies, to painful injuries to exhausting perfectionism, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear leaves no stone left unturned and is an absolute must for the die-hard ballet fan!

    To read excerpts (Come on, you know you're dying to!) and to purchase a copy of the book in either hardcover or digital format, please visit Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear.com

  • Stiefel, Murphy Head to Royal New Zealand

    Gillian Murphy and Ethan Stiefel, at home with their Abyssinian cat, Selah. (Photo Credit: Brian Harkin for The New York Times)

    Gillian

    Dancer extraordinaire, Ethan Stiefel and his equally amazing fiancee`, Gillian Murphy are heading to New Zealand in preparation for Stiefel's new gig as Artistic Director of Royal New Zealand Ballet. In The New York Times feature, Stiefel discusses both the transition and his plans for the company, along with the struggle of having to prepare their beloved "anti-travel" cat for the journey... Read more here.

  • Stunning Collection of Dance Photos from the 20's - 90's

    dancephotocollectionnytimesCheck out this outstanding collection of black and white dance photos from the 1920's through the 90's, courtesy of The New York Times!

  • Elissa Fuchs - 90 Years Old & Still Dancing Strong

    Looking for a little inspiration to keep your momentum going? Check this story out...

    How many people can say they'd like to continue working right into their 90's? Elissa Fuchs already is....It was nearly 90 years ago when Fuchs was only three years-old that she made the decision dancing is what she wanted to do.

    "That was all I wanted to do, go on the stage. And at 16, my dream came true through just a miracle," she said.

    Fuchs landed a job performing the Vaudeville circuit. That kicked off her career on Broadway, then performing with the world class Russian Ballet and then onto the Metropolitan Opera. Fuchs said she was doing what she was born to do.

    "I was someone else on the stage. I loved being on the stage," she said. Read the rest of this amazing story here.

  • Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo's Bernice Coppieters Tackles Role of Instructor

    Bernice Coppieters in Roméo et Juliette. Photo courtesy: The Prague Post, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo

    Bernice

    For the past 20 years, Bernice Coppieters has danced all of the leading roles in Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo's repertoire, including Juliet in "Romeo et Juliette". (Side note: We had the privilege of reviewing Pacific Northwest Ballet's performance of this piece back in 2009, in which Coppieters' beautiful fingerprints could be seen and felt throughout the entire evening.)

    Now this gorgeously complex dancer talks about one of her most rewarding roles to date: instructor.

    In her early 40s, Coppieters' age is not a sensitive topic of conversation, as one might expect. She isn't scared of the fact that her career as an active prima ballerina is very likely coming to its end. She says she is putting her focus in a different direction, working with dancers in companies around the world who are staging Maillot's productions.
    Read more here.

  • Yamaha Pianos + Pittsburgh Ballet = Sweet Music!

    yamahapianoPittsburgh Ballet Theatre is celebrating its partnership with Yamaha - making them the company's official piano supplier - with a piano sale. Nearly 80 pianos of all sizes will be available for purchase, including some of PBT's own pianos. A portion of these proceeds will benefit the ballet company. The partnership provides PBT with pianos for its studios and the opportunity to buy new pianos over the next five years. "Live music is integral to our curriculum," said PBT school operations director Aaron Rinsema. Read more here.

  • Winger Contributing Writer to Attend SAB

    Photo courtesy of Alston Macgill

    Photo

    Thirteen year old Alston Macgill received a highly coveted invitation to attend the year-round program at School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York. Alston began her dance training at the tender age of 2, was one of the top 12 of the Youth American Grand Prix at age 11, and recently took top honors at the YAGP in Philadelphia. In addition to her outstanding talent, the young lady is also a contributor at The Winger! Read more about Aston's exciting journey here.

    Congratulations, Alston! :)

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