at Amherst Ballet
From your (Acting) Director... by Sueann Townsend
The calendar year 2012 began with the
sudden and unexpected resignation of Executive
Director, Catherine Fair. When the Board of
Directors asked me to step in to the position of Acting
Director for the remainder of the season my goal was
to make things run as smoothly and efficiently as
possible so that the learning process of the students
was affected as little as possible. Thanks to the stellar
efforts of Business Manager, Andrea Leibson and the
background support of the Board of Directors, it
seems that we have made it through the (not so cold
and not so snowy) winter and are approaching the
history of Amherst Ballet. And our youngest dancers will
perform class dances in a separate performance at 1:00.
Please note the Ticket Order Form included in this
newsletter and order your tickets early.
roughout the season we have endeavored to
broaden the scope of dance-related education on offer at
Amherst Ballet. Nutritionist Jennifer Smith from Walden
Behavioral Care spoke at an Upper School Meeting about
eating disorders.
We have hosted
“Pizza & a
Movie” nig hts
We have welcomed some new faculty members to
showing films
with dance, about
dance and about
dancers including
the team since the first of the year, many of whom are not
new to Amherst Ballet, the 40 year old organization, but
may be new to those of us currently at AB: Elizabeth
e Ballet Russes,
e Red Shoes, An
American in Paris,
bloom of spring in reasonably fine shape.
Rising, Katherine Bervera, and Kelly Torza (all previously
taught at Amherst Ballet) and former AB students Molly
Stamell and Rosalie Elkinton. It is particularly satisfying to
be able to hire teachers of such high quality who were, in
Catherine Fair & Therese Donohue
at Catherine’s goodbye party
• Photo: Michelle Serra
e Childre n of
eatre Street, e Ballerinas, Elusive Muse: Suzanne
Farrell and a comparison of different choreographic
part, trained here. Continuing with us are Heather
Reichgott and Lada Isupova—both of whom have been
accompanists for us and have stepped around the piano to
interpretations of Romeo and Juliet to audiences
comprised of Lower and Upper School students as well as
parents. We organized a group ticket purchase so that our
students and their parents could attend together the
teach—as well as Patrick Opran who started with us this
fall. Preparations for our May 26 performances continue
apace. Patrick Opran is currently choreographing a Jazz
performance given by the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the
Fine Arts Center on the UMass campus.
As spring brings renewal, we are renewing
dance work for inclusion in Historiography: 40 Years of
Amherst Ballet. Patrick’s piece is this decade’s contribution
to the repertoire performance; the remaining 4 works draw
from each of the decades since the 1970s. We hope that you
ourselves at Amherst Ballet. Come reflect upon the past
and present at the Historiography performances on May 26,
check out our (re)new(ed) website www.amherstballet.org
will join us at Bowker Auditorium in May for Patrick’s new
work and the other works on offer honoring the 40 year
Amherst Ballet
(thanks to parents Anne Durejs Brossard and Jerome
Brossard), and support us as Amherst Ballet boldly dances
into the future.
En avant!
2012 Youth Grand Prix Competition
Participant: Adele Fisk by Sueann Townsend
On 02 March Amherst Ballet dancer Adele Fisk
participated in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP)
Regional Competition in Torrington, CT. is was Adele’s
first time participating in YAGP. She performed the Fairy
Violente Variation from Sleeping Beauty in the Junior
Classical Division and a solo Allegro Prestissimo I
choreographed for her in the Junior Contemporary
Division. On 04 March Adele attended an all day workshop
that included ballet, variations, and contemporary classes
taught by the YAGP judges. Adele’s over all scores were high
enough that she was invited to attend the YAGP Intensive in
New York in April. is marks the fourth year Amherst
Ballet dancers have participated in YAGP. Every year at least
one dancer has either advanced to the final round in New
York or been invited to the New York Intensive.
Congratulations on all your hard work Adele!
✴ AB was featured in the “Spotlight” column
of Hampshire Life on March 16
✴ Sueann Townsend was featured in the “ID”
column of Hampshire Life on April 6th.
✴ AB has been invited to appear on Channel
22’s live Mass Appeal show on April 20. Our
dancers will demonstrate a ballet class in a
segment for “Fitness Friday.”
✴ WGBY, public television for Western New
England, is coming to interview Sueann on
April 11 for their Connecting Point program to
be aired at a future date. WGBY will also film
several ballet classes and an advertising spot
that day.
APRIL 15 – 20 •
School Vacation • Upper School
note rehearsals on the 21 & 22
APRIL 15 – 22 •
School Vacation • Lower School
APRIL 17 – 20 • Sleeping Beauty
VACATION CAMP for ages 6 – 11
APRIL 21 & 22 •
Upper School REPERTOIRE,
full run-through, 1:00 – 6:00
Classes resume
SAT, MAY 5 • Upper School Meeting
noon – 12:45
SAT, MAY 12 •
Upper School REPERTOIRE,
full run-through, 3:00 – 6:30
SUN, MAY 20 •
Upper School REPERTOIRE,
full run-through, 1:00 – 6:00
Upper School REPERTOIRE,
Bowker Aud, 3:30 – 9:30
SAT, MAY 26 •
Bowker Aud, 9:00 – noon • LOWER SCHOOL
PERFORMANCE Bowker Aud, 1:00
MON, MAY 28 •
No classes. Memorial Day
Dancing Dreams, 6:30pm
JULY 9 – 13 •
Dancing Princesses
SUMMER CAMP for ages 6 – 11
JULY 16 – 20 • Four Seasons
SUMMER CAMP for ages 6 – 11
REUNION (see back of Newsletter)
Bowker Aud, 3:00 & 7:00
AB wants to thank the designers who have made our website, newsletters, posters, brochures, invitations and programs look so
spiffy this year. Many thanks to Anne Durejs Brossard, Jerome Brossard, Leigh Dunlap, Sandy Littell and Mindi Sahner!
Amherst Ballet
by Heidi Stemple
Dance, Olivia will tell you, makes
her joyful. Watching her on stage, the
audience can see this is true.
Knowing Olivia now, it’s hard to believe she was
a shy child. But, she was. Her first day of dance class was a
failure—Olivia refused to leave her mom’s side. But,
dancing was the key to overcoming those quiet tendencies
and, at age 5, when her best friend dissolved into tears on
stage, Olivia simply danced around her.
One of Olivia’s early AB memories is dancing in
the Chinese Bell Dance at the Eric Carle Museum. Her
favorite part of that experience was having her hair styled
in two buns. Later, though, the dancing became central to
the joy. In the 2005 production of Swan Lake’s Polish
character dance, she felt “regal and important.” Aer that,
she took to the stage in various roles including as a demisoloist in last year’s Character Dances, and as both the
character Louise Norcross and a finale poem in Emily of
Amherst. In this May’s repertoire performance she will
dance in Patrick Opran’s Jazz Funk piece entitled Cirque
de Cité.
Olivia credits AB’s former Director Catherine
Fair for having a big effect on the way she dances. “She
taught me to keep my chin up and where to properly look
when I’d do my pliés. at,” she says, “made all the
difference.” Ms. Fair says Olivia worked “so hard as a
young girl to achieve her technique and she became a
beautiful dancer with poise, presence, and a great sense of
movement.” It’s that poise that her mom sees every day,
“in the set of her shoulders and the li of her chin and the
all-out joy she gets when the music starts.”
Besides dance, Olivia loves to sing. She plans to
continue doing both in college. Whatever she chooses to
study, her “tenacity, openness and lively spirit,” according
to Ms. Fair, “will serve her well in life.”
Is dance important to Olivia? Her mom says, “it
has enriched her beyond my wildest dreams.”
PHOTO BY: Moxue Zhang & Manuel Vazquez
Olivia says, “It affects everything.
e way I act, the way I feel…”
And—of course—it makes her
joyful .
by Heidi Stemple
Elora started dancing as a “little pink
pre-primary,” following her big sister to
AB. Mom Nancy says Elora was never
shy about performing—right from the
beginning. “She always had a smile on
her face when she was dancing.”
and as a Hot Box girl in Guys and Dolls, she has used
every bit of her dance training to be a better actor and
Besides dance, Elora’s main passion is singing.
She hopes to attend UMass next year and audition for
the a capella group, the Dynamics. Her “wonderful
grace and confidence that dance helped her find,” says
her mom, “has carried over into all parts of her life.”
At one summer workshop performance, which
fell on Elora’s 8th birthday, Mrs. Donahue let the
dancers improvise. Elora, not one to miss an
opportunity to be center stage, chose a very dramatic
Rachmaninoff piece and a flowing pink scarf. On
another occasion during her first Visitors’ Day, Elora,
much to Ms. Fair’s amusement, “launched into an
impromptu vocal solo” to accompany the pianist.
Elora loved each new class and performance
with her friends. Her most memorable was Shim
Chung when she sprained her ankle backstage and
managed to rally in time to dance as a red fish. Her last
ballet performance was in The Artic with sister Evie.
In recent years Elora has chosen to dance less
frequently and mainly in jazz and modern after
experiencing a decrease in flexibility. Though she had
heard stories from friends at other schools that their
teachers were not supportive of dancers with physical
challenges, she felt accepted and supported by her
teachers at AB.
Elora will be performing in Cirque de Cité this
spring. Even though she has danced less often with AB
lately, she’s still been in the spotlight acting, singing
and dancing in Amherst Regional High School
productions. She is grateful for her background in
dance that carries over into her acting. In fact, she says
that as a baby-stealing goblin in Outside Over There
Amherst Ballet
PHOTO BY: Moxue Zhang & Manuel Vazquez
And, when she is on stage—any stage
—she still has that same smile as she
did as a little pink.
Alumni News
Where Are They Now? . . . updates on AB alums
• We have some very sad news to report. Beloved AB
dancer Emily List passed away on Thanksgiving morning.
We were all shocked by the news and send our heart felt
condolences to her family and friends. • Jessica
Rindone Yates (Sibley), who taught at several AB
summer Teen Intensives and danced the dual role of
Odette and Odile in our 2005 production of Swan Lake,
gave birth to a son (Gray McClendon Yates) last
September. Jessica was thrilled to announce that Gray has
her toes. • Deborah Lardner married Michael Passafaro
in September; among her bridesmaids was Ana Caban.
• Margaret Woodbridge married Rocky Ward in San
Francisco in November. Sisters Libby and Laura were
both maids of honor at the Thanksgiving weekend
wedding. AB received a wedding announcement and lovely
photo of Margaret and Rocky with the Golden Gate Bridge
in the background. • During the Christmas holiday AB was
visited by Galya Ponomareva who expects to
complete her degree in dance from the University of
Cincinnati this spring. Galya spent last summer at the San
Francisco Conservatory of Dance. • Former AB teachers
Jennifer Rockwell Edwards and husband Ross were
in western Massachusetts briefly to visit family over the
holidays. Their stay was short because Jen had to get back
* Includes in-kind services
$1000 + Florence Savings Bank
$500 - $999
Tom Dumm
Principal Dancer/
$250 - $499
Libby & Bruce Stanforth*
$100 - $249
Patty Stuart & Chris Eliot*
Maria Gallo
Nancy Huntley
Andrea Leibson*
Monkey Business
Children’s Clothing
Cathy Osman
Paragus – Strategic IT*
Jean & Larry Rankin
Angeline Shenje Peyton
Dr. Fred & Louise Tillis
Gerda Wald
Jane Yolen
Corps de Ballet
$50 - $99
Ruth Black
Nonny Burack
Juan & Braulia Caban
to St. Paul to prepare for January performances with the St.
Paul City Ballet. Go to www.spcballet.org to see photos of
Jen in performance. Ross has also been performing with
SPCB and choreographed a piece last March in
collaboration with jazz composer George Maurer. • Last
summer Mariel Lugosch-Ecker was a globe-trotter—
dancing in Stuttgart and Tel Aviv. Mariel was selected to
participate in the Batsheva Dance Company’s summer
program where she Gaga-ed. Learn more about the
Company and artistic director Ohad Naharin’s movement
language (Gaga) in Dance Magazine’s February issue. Mariel
performed with the Second Avenue Dance Company of
NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in December. • Natania
Hume was chosen to paint a bear in Easthampton, MA
this year; her bear is entitled Winter’s Lament. The
Easthampton Bear Fest is a public art project in which lifesize fiberglass bears are transformed by artists and
displayed throughout the downtown area. Started in 2009,
the Bear Fest is a city-wide celebration of the arts with the
goal of raising money for local arts programs, artists and
organizations. www.easthamptonbearfest.com And thanks
to Natania for also contributing to raising money for AB;
two of her lovely vases were included in the Spring Fling
Silent Auction!
Jim & Gillian Duda
Jerry Bryant & Fran Goodwin
Maureen Lahti
Ed Leibson
Bhavna & Shardool Parmar
Linda Slakey
Meg & Peter Vickerya
Margaret Woodbridge Ward
$25 - $49
Tina & Michael Berins
Abby & Alan Dallman
Patty & Jack Donohue
Casey Girard
Maureen Manning (in memory
of Robert Bernatzky)
Kim Heffley McOsker
Rona Metcalf
Judy Smith
Otto & Diana Stein
Larry & Ann Steinhauser
Heidi Stemple*
Jane Wald*
Welsh & Associates
$1 - $24
Audrey Altstadt
Annette & Dean Cycon
The Heffley Family
Clare Hoffman
Melanie Sage
Summerlin Floors*
Marla Zippay
Spring Fling !!
Amherst Ballet as an investment in the future. A letter
from alumna Meghan Oefinger Enriguez was read by
By Andrea Leibson
board member Heidi Stemple and told of her enduring
affection for Amherst Ballet. It was gratifying to see alum
dancers and parents at the Fling—thanks to them for
their continued support.
It had a different name, a
different season and a different
venue but the result was the same.
is year’s Spring Fling continued
to generate much-appreciated
f undraising monies (nearly
$9000!) for Amherst Ballet.
e move from Harvest Fête in the Duda family
barn (thanks again to Jim and Gillian Duda for 7 Harvest
Fêtes in 7 years!) to Spring Fling at the Maple Ridge
Church and Community Center was negotiated in the
fall. e Board of Directors wanted to change up the
Board members Catherine Sanderson, Melanie Sage and Carlin Weirick
event and going to Maple Ridge was a perfect solution.
We had a great time in the large space that accommodated
dining, lounging, student performances, a jazz combo and
room to display auction items. e four course buffet
dinner was served in a separate area and the menu for the
evening was inspired by this May’s special repertoire
performances and featured food from around the world.
Entertainment was provided by the Jimmy
Burgoff uartet and four student choreographed works.
anks to choreographers and dancers Jessie Abdow,
Hannah Ackerman, Naomi Cooper-Monize, Paula
Fernandez, Adele Fisk, Lillian Moskin, Sara MossHorwitz, Maddison Stemple-Piatt, Ira Teveleva and Dae
Tyner. It was fun to watch them dance their own
Remarks were offered by board president
Angeline Shenje Peyton and acting director Sueann
Townsend. Alumna Lydia Wileden (class of 2007) spoke
eloquently about what Amherst Ballet meant to her and
encouraged those present to think of involvement with
Amherst Ballet
PHOTOS BY: Holly Lynton
Special thanks to the board members
who arranged the loely evening on
behalf of Amherst Ballet and the
following businesses and individuals
who donated goods and services to the
silent auction.
Historic Deerfield
Lisa Oram
35 South Cycle Studio
Natania Hume
Paradise City Landscape Design
Amherst Cinema
Nancy Huntley
R & P Liquors
Amherst Massage
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Salmon Falls Artisan Gallery
Casimir Kocot
Interlink Books
Elizabeth Scheffey
Cheryl Nina Salon & Day Spa
Interskate 91
Marla Solomon
Jacob’s Pillow Dance
Springfield Symphony Orchestra
Claw Foot Tub
Judie’s Restaurant
Heidi Stemple
Competitive Edge
Andrea Leibson
Summerlin Floors
Annette & Dean Cycon
Loose Goose
The Toy Box
Disney World
Lumberyard Restaurant
UMass Athletics
Tony DiTerlizzi
Mary Ann's Dance & More
Valley Veterinary Hospital
WEBS America’s Yarn Store
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Jane & Richard Weirick
Nancy Glass & Becky Michaels
Nathan Hale Inn
Wheatberry Bakery
New Century Theatre
Williamstown Theatre Festival
Hair by Harlow
Norman Rockwell Museum
Jane Yolen
In early February Amherst Ballet received a letter
telling us that we would receive a 2011
Florence Saving Bank Customers’
Choice Community Grant. We were asked
to keep notice of the award confidential until the
award ceremony. On March 7 acting director
Sueann Townsend and business manager Andrea
Leibson attended the award ceremony at the
Northampton Senior Center. Much to their
AB was awarded a $1000 grant after
receiving 103 votes out of the 8900 votes cast!
Florence Savings Bank President John Heaps told
Andrea that he hoped we would follow up this
year’s success by winning a Customers’ Choice
Community Grant again in 2012. We hope so
too! Please go to Florence Savings Bank’s website
www.florencesavings.com, VOTE for Amherst
Ballet and urge your friends to vote. Many thanks
to Florence Savings Bank for its generosity!
Non-Profit Org.
Amherst, MA
Permit #119
29 Strong Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Amherst Ballet’s 40th Anniversary Repertoire Performances
Saturday, May 26, 2012 at UMass Bowker Auditorium
Sueann Townsend, Acting Director
Andrea Leibson, Business Manager
Therese Brady Donohue, Founder
Angeline Shenje Peyton, president
Jane Wald, former president
Julia Rueschemeyer, vice-president
Mark Horwitz, treasurer
Libby Stanforth, secretary
Michele Cooke-Andresen
Andrew Fisk
Maureen Manning
Justyne Ogdahl
Michael Ortiz
Melanie Sage
Catherine Sanderson
Heidi Stemple
Ted Trobaugh
Carlin Weirick
James Duda
Mitch Gaslin
Pam Glaven
John Montanari
DeAnne S. Riddle
Stan Rosenberg
Howard Sonoda
Ellen Story
Plans for the August 4th Reunion
for former students, parents,
and board members are
currently underway. Please email
founder Therese Brady Donohue
([email protected]) so she can
send you an invitation. Plans for
the day include a luncheon and
a showing of archival films with
afternoon tea at The Eric Carle
Museum of Picture Book Art. It
will be terrific to see everyone
and share our memories! Can
you believe that Amherst Ballet
is 40 or that Therese is
celebrating her 75th birthday!?!

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