Friday, March 6, 2015

Alexandra Cunningham and Susan Gartell prepare to take the Sacramento Community Center Theater's stage in the classical ballet Swan Lake

Two maidens, Alexandra Cunningham and Susan Gartell, some two decades ago, were both captivated by the beauty and grace of ballerinas moving on stage. But unlike Swan Lake's Odette, they were not subjugated by an evil prince; their holder was the dance- its power drawing them out of the forest of callings, and onto a clear and chosen path to becoming ballerinas.

Alexandra Cunningham
Sacramento Ballet
Cunningham, a dancer with the Sacramento Ballet and Gartell, a dancer with the Milwaukee Ballet, both being the epitome of grace and beauty, took time out of their busy schedules preparing to take the stage March 26th through the 29th in the the Sacramento Ballet's production of the classical ballet Swan Lake to give an interview about the exciting upcoming production.

Susan Gartell
Milwaukee Ballet
Each ballerina will assume dual roles of Odette and Odile, for two of the four performances. Neither has performed either role. Gartell has performed in Swan Lake as a professional dancer. But this will be Cunningham's first professional performance of Swan Lake.

Gartell said that Swan Lake is a great story about betrayal, redemption, falling in love and many human experiences and emotions and even though technique and stamina are important, she was quick to point out that "you can't do it {the ballet} without that," however "you have to make the audience love you and care about you."

Cunningham in the studio.
Both ballerinas have danced professionally now for a decade, and we talked about their evolution as dancers.  Cunningham said that over the years from apprentice to her current stage as a principal dancer her technique has improved tremendously and her fear has all but subsided.  She said, "I still get butterflies when I go on stage, but I'm not scared and I can just perform."

Visiting Milwaukee Ballet artist Gartell followed with a statement that spoke volumes about the strength of Swan Lake and how important this ballet is.  She said, "I have always referred to myself as a ballet dancer, but after playing Odile and Odette, I can call myself a ballerina."

Gartell on pointe.
Cunningham said that the role is "one of the most mature roles" she has ever had to play adding "It's a role that every little girl dreams of doing."

Both agreed that their upcoming roles are like the "pinnacle" of their careers and wonder where do they go from here.

This is an exciting time for these young ballerinas and an exciting time for Sacramento and its own World-class Ballet company.

Now is the time to mark your calendar or better yet purchase your tickets now any one of four performances of this sure to be incredible production of the grand ballet Swan Lake. Purchase tickets here.

March 26 @ 7:30pm
March 27 @ 7:30pm
March 28 @ 7:30pm
March 29 @ 2pm

Also next Friday, March 13, is the Sacramento Ballet's "Inside the Director's Studio," an informative event at the studio. Purchase tickets here.

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