Trading Papers for Pointe Shoes – Columbia, Princeton, and Harvard present the Ivy Ballet Exchange this weekend in NYC

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While most Ivy League students can be found working hard in the library, there’s a growing group of students that can be found working hard in a very different place on campus – the dance studio. Despite the demands of ever-looming midterms, term papers, reading lists and group projects, many Ivy League students are making time for ballet. On Saturday February 15th and Saturday February 16th, Princeton University Ballet and Harvard Ballet Company will be joining Columbia Ballet Collaborative for the first ever Ivy Ballet Exchange, to be held at Miller Theatre at Columbia University.

The idea for a performance exchange began a few months ago at Columbia, with the basic goal of celebrating the commitment to ballet that CBC shares with dancers in similar student-run groups at Harvard and Princeton. Spearheaded by CBC’s former Artistic Director Elysia Dawn, the Ivy Ballet Exchange (IBE) has quickly become a large-scale event, with the three schools combining to present nearly 75 dancers performing in 12 pieces. Though all three schools have their fair share of student dance groups, CBC, PUB, and HBC are unique – operating like professional companies, these three groups strive to connect their dancers to the world of professional ballet by commissioning works from emerging and established choreographers, offering opportunities for networking, and bringing high-quality performances to their respective campuses.

CBC has spent the first half of the semester prepping for the concert, and as the host school, we’ve had quite a lot on our plates. In addition to rehearsing four pieces (two from CBC’s repertory, a new commission, and a guest performance of a Justin Peck piece), CBC’s Artistic Director Rachel Silvern has spent the last two months organizing a 12-part show, scheduling three different tech times, and arranging for the visiting dancers to stay with Columbia students. Likewise, Ms. Dawn and IBE Assistant Chair Kaitlyn Gilliland have spent countless hours coordinating with HBC and PUB to secure funds to rent Miller Theatre, Columbia’s best theater for dance.

This weekend, I’ll be dancing in Les Ballerines, a piece choreographed for CBC’s Spring 2013 season by Columbia alumna Caitlin Dieck (class of 2013). Set to three pieces by Philip Glass, the piece was created for a corps of nine dancers with one soloist role, which will be danced this weekend by former NYCB member Shoshana Rosenfield. Of the 10 dancers in the piece, four of us are replacing previous cast members, and though our rehearsal period has been relatively brief, the process has been an excellent exercise in thinking on our feet (pun intended). In addition to Ms. Dieck’s piece, CBC will also be presenting an excerpt of Columbia student and former Complexions dancer Kimi Nikaidoh’s All Things New, a new piece entitled Nothing is Lost by former NDT dancer Andi Schermoly, and Justin Peck’s (a former Columbia student who’s choreography for Year of the Rabbit began with a pas de deux for CBC dancers) Furiant, to be danced by Barnard College (an undergraduate college of Columbia University) student and NYCB principal Teresa Reichlen and her partner, Robbie Fairchild.

If you’d like to come see us this weekend, you can buy your tickets either at the Miller Theatre box office (W 116th St and Broadway) or online. General admission tickets are $20; student tickets are $10; group rates available.

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 9.16.23 AMClick the photo above to watch a preview video of the Ivy Ballet Exchange.

To learn more about what’s going on at Columbia Ballet Collaborative this season (believe me, I have some exciting news about our Spring 2014 season coming soon!), visit our website.

If you are interested in ensuring the continuation of CBC mission to commission and present new ballets each year, consider becoming a Friend of CBC. For more information, please contact Alyssa Hubbard, CBC’s Fundraising Director, at columbia.ballet.collaborative@gmail.com.

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