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August 30...new apprentices have arrived and are taking classes...no official word yet on new company members...should be quite interesting...keep in mind that the dancers are not paid for this: it's voluntary (except for those rehearsing in the afternoons) so one usually doesn't see entire company.

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I was able to drop by the Park Blocks yesterday.

Looks like 3 of last year's apprentices have moved up to company: Candace Bouchard, Ansa Deguchi & Leann Underwood (who actually moved up last spring). Additionally, two new company members have been hired: Holly Zimmerman & Damian Drake.

Gone are Chris Brough, Erica Cole, Louis Phillipe Dionne, McKenzie Fyfe & Larke Hasstedt.

And this year: 13 apprentices!

The class was taught by a Ms. Kemp, from PNB, who is contracted as Ballet Mistress through Nutcracker .

Afternoon rehearsal had Mr. Stowell setting a Swan Lake Act III pas on Allison Roper & Artur Sultanov. The other Odile was absent: Yuka Iino is stuck in Japan waiting for visa approval. She should have been here for rehearsal on Monday. Seems that the anti-terrorist measures have slowed these things down. A board member is urging Senator Gordon Smith to intervene on behalf of the ballet. The only terror associated with this situation is the thought of Ms. Iino not appearing as Odile!

I was disappointed to see that the company was unable to expand by even one dancer. (Apprentices are not paid) Still only 20 company members. Obviously money continues to be very tight. It's going to be a long way to a major story ballet.... At least we'll get a taste of one this fall. Maybe OBT can shake the money tree if they bring down the house with Act III.

It was not lost on me that a stone's throw from the stage, the Portland Museum is spending tens of millions to upgrade and renovate. The money is here. OBT needs to become very smart to get its fair share.

As always: a gorgeous day watching beautiful young dancers in a park.

Life doesn't get much better.


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