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BalletMet's Academy Director to retire

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Hello all,

I decided to place the article here because if you aren't a Dispatch subscriber, you'll have to pay to see it.

As Daryl Kamer is my mom, I am saddened by this but at the same time, I am excited for what Kennet will bring to us.


Dance academy names new director

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Barbara Zuck


Kennet Oberly, a Bostonian who has danced with leading European and American dance companies, will become director of the BalletMet Dance Academy in August.

An expert in the Bournonville style, Oberly, 47, will assume the position held by Daryl Kamer, who is retiring from the directorship after 26 years with the academy.

"I think Kennet has a wonderful combination of attributes," said Gerard Charles, BalletMet artistic director. "He has extensive knowledge of classical training, a wonderful understanding of the process of working with children, has had tremendous experience as a dancer and has also had the opportunity to discover what he really wants to do — which is to teach student dancers. This is a wonderful match."

Oberly has danced with the Stuttgart Ballet, Maurice Bejart’s Ballet of the Twentieth Century, the Tivoli Pantomine Theatre, the Houston and Boston Ballets and the Tulsa Ballet Theater. From 1982 to 1988, he was resident choreographer and ballet master of Ballet Iowa before serving as its artistic director from 1988 to 1991. He then returned to Europe to become ballet master of the Finnish National Ballet.

In a prepared statement, Oberly said, "I believe in methodical training that is coordinated with the muscular growth stages of the individual student. This is where the students learn to understand that dance is, foremost, an art form that needs to be respected for its gradual building process because the real mission is to foster artists, not just technicians."

The academy’s instruction has come in for occasional criticism in recent years for the curriculum — considered unorthodox in some quarters — initiated by Yoko Ichino beginning in 1995. Ichino, wife of former BalletMet artistic director David Nixon, was a Joffrey Ballet prima ballerina who brought yoga and other holistic exercise philosophies into both the academy and BalletMet dance classes.

Though she was not director of the academy, she was its lead teacher. Since 2001, when she and Nixon left for England, however, her role has gradually diminished. (Nixon is director of the Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds, England.)

"Her methodology of teaching was unique, and because of its uniqueness, it is very hard to replicate without her presence," Charles said. "The more definitive you are, the more people will either agree or disagree. . . . Certainly Kennet brings a different focus to his training, which I think will enhance what is in place already."

Oberly will become just the second academy director who is not also artistic director of the company. Until 2001, when Kamer was promoted from the academy’s artistic associate to director, the positions of academy director and company artistic director had been held by the same person.

Kamer’s role at BalletMet can hardly be overstated. She and her husband, Jack, were co-founders of BalletMet in 1978, and she has taught at the academy since then, overseeing the education of countless aspiring dancers.

"I love to teach," Kamer said. "I love to do everything I do, but I am looking to that place of having not quite so much responsibility."

Charles pointed to Kamer’s contributions to BalletMet.

"She has an amazing scope of children, of the art form and of what it takes to build an academy in a community like Columbus. At one time or another, every director (of the company) has turned to Daryl for advice." He forecasts a seamless transition: "The last thing Kennet said to me was ‘Please don’t let Daryl leave altogether.’ " Kamer will continue teaching at the academy.

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