Loudoun Ballet Company Brings New Verve to 'Swan Lake'


(Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:52 AM EST)

People who live in and around Loudoun County don't have to trek all the way to the Kennedy Center to see the ballet classics. The Loudoun Ballet Company will be performing “Swan Lake” at nearby Potomac Falls High School.

The venue shouldn't give arts-goers the impression that the performance will be at a high-school level. Although the company is made up of student dancers, those who come to see the shows are often astounded at the professionalism of the company.

“Because we're performing in high schools, audiences are always surprised at the high standard of dancing,” said the company's artistic director, Maureen Miller. “They think they're coming to see a ballet-school recital, but then they're very surprised at the dancing quality.”

To challenge the young dancers and to build their skills even more, Miller will have the company perform “Swan Lake” in its entirety - all four acts.

“We've slowly built up to four acts over the years,” Miller said. “‘Swan Lake' is a wonderful ballet to teach because it's a classic. There's nothing like the classics to really learn.”

The Loudoun Ballet Company is made up of upper-level students - called apprentices - from the Loudoun School of Ballet. The company also uses junior apprentices, a group of promising young dancers, also from the Loudoun School of Ballet, who hopefully will ascend to the senior apprentice position.

In total, there are 25 apprentices and junior apprentices - 24 girls and one boy. Apprentices are used for all the major solo roles, to give them the most experience possible, as amateur dancers.

The cast, which includes the apprentices and junior apprentices, as well as nine additional cast members and three professional guest artists, have been working hard for their spring performance, and so far rehearsals have been going well.

“The girls have been just fantastic,” Miller said. “It's a lot of choreography, and we're even working on Sundays.”

Miller, who is originally from Australia, is in her second year as artistic director for the Loudoun Ballet. But she is very familiar with the company, since she was its ballet mistress for more than 10 years.

She hopes that her leadership position with the company can make a difference in arts around the area.

“I'd like to educate young people a bit in the classics. Most people know the ‘Nutcracker,' but don't know the storyline of ‘Swan Lake,'” she said. “I want to make the arts more prevalent in the county, because the talent is unbelievable. The dancers are young, they give up their weekends and they work so hard to do these performances.”

The Loudoun Ballet Company will perform “Swan Lake” on Saturday, March 17 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m. For ticket information, call (703) 771-8074 or see the Web site at www.loudounballet.com.

"Swan Lake" will be presented March 17-18 in Loudoun County.

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