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Master Ballet Classes with Wendy Whelan and Francois Perron

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An event:

Manhattan Movement & Arts Center presents

Pointe and Pirouettes:

Master Ballet Classes with

Wendy Whelan and Francois Perron

Monday, February 21, 2011

Manhattan Movement & Arts Center presents Pointe and Pirouettes on Monday, February 21, 2011 at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center at 248 W. 60th Street, NYC (between Amsterdam and West End Avenues) in the Lincoln Center area.

Pointe and Pirouettes is a day of master ballet classes and pointe shoe fittings. Dancers will have the opportunity to have pointe shoe fittings by master fitters as well as master ballet classes with Francois Perron, Manhattan Youth Ballet's Managing Artistic Director and Official Ballet Coach of the Billy Elliotts on Broadway beginning at 10:30am, and New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Wendy Whelan, beginning at 1:30pm. Master Pointe Shoe Fitters from the companies Freed, Capezio, Grishko, Sansha, Bloch and Gaynor Minden will be in attendance.

The master ballet classes are from 10:30am - noon and 1:30pm - 3pm. Pointe shoe fittings will be held from noon to 4:30pm. The master classes are $25. Registration is available at http://www.manhattanmovement.com/calendar/.

Francois Perron, the Managing Artistic Director of Manhattan Youth Ballet, is a graduate of the Paris Opera Ballet School where he studied under the direction of Claude Bessy. Francois comes from a family of dancers: his aunt Lycette Darsonval was an etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet and was in the original cast of "Symphony in C" by Balanchine. His uncle Serge Perrault was a principal with Roland Petit and his mother was part of the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet. Before moving to the United States in 1984, Francois danced with La Scala in Milan, where Maurice B'jart invited him to Brussels as part of Les Ballets Du XXe Siecle. His first principal contract came in 1980 with the Northern Ballet Theatre of England, where he danced the entire classical repertoire, including Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. A second principal contract followed from Ballet Du Nord and principal roles with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City led him to join the New York City Ballet, where he danced for six years. In 1993, he briefly danced with American Ballet Theatre and has since freelanced his talent. He has appeared with DanceGalaxy, Dances Patrelle, New York Theatre Ballet, Ruth Page's Nutcracker, Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, and the Colorado Chamber Ballet and in several "Dance in America'" programs. He served as Ballet Master for New York Theatre Ballet as well as for Florence, Italy's Maggio Danza. In 1997 he accepted a full faculty position at Studio Maestro in New York City where he has contributed significantly to the syllabus and teaching directive. Francois is regularly invited to guest teach at major dance schools including Miami City Ballet, the Academy of Nevada Dance Theatre, St. Louis Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Point Park College (Pittsburgh) Summer Program and American Ballet Theatre Young Dancer Summer Intensive. Francois' first choreography was performed at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall for the New Year's Vienna Celebration performed by the New York Theatre Ballet. He also choreographed part of the second act in Northeast Ballet's Nutcracker. Francois has staged the Annual Spring Workshop Performance, including Giselle, Second Act; Sleeping Beauty, First Act; Paquita; Balanchine's Chaconne Pas de Trois; Corsaire Pas de Deux; and Bluebird Pas de Deux. Private students have entered competitions with Francois' choreography, including the recent Youth America Grand Prix Gold Medalist in the Contemporary Category of the Boston and New York City Competition. His private students have been accepted at the Paris Opera Ballet School and as company members at American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and North Carolina Dance Theatre. Francois is also part of the Eugene Lang College/New School University faculty and Julliard. Francois is currently coaching the boys for the Broadway show Billy Elliot.

Wendy Whelan was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where at the age of three she began taking dance classes with Virginia Wooton, a local teacher. At age eight she performed as a mouse with the Louisville Ballet in its annual production of The Nutcracker. Joining the Louisville Ballet Academy that year, she began intense professional ballet training. In 1981 she received a scholarship to the summer course at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, and a year later, became a full-time student there. In 1984, Ms. Whelan danced as an apprentice with New York City Ballet. Ms. Whelan became a member of New York City Ballet's corps de ballet in January 1986. She was promoted to the rank of soloist during the 1989 spring season and to the rank of principal dancer in the 1991 spring season.

About Manhattan Youth Ballet

Manhattan Youth Ballet (MYB) is a non-profit organization committed to providing the highest artistic quality of instruction and dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the art of dance within the local community. The Company is committed to providing the opportunity to experience ballet to audiences who might not otherwise have that chance.

Since moving to its new home at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center in September 2008, over 2,500 New York City school children have participated in lecture demonstrations and/or been Manhattan Youth Ballet's invited guests at full-length performances. This year MYB has strengthened its Outreach program by partnering with the Police Athletic League. Manhattan Youth Ballet also hosted the benefit Healing for Haiti, which raised over $50,000 for the Haiti relief effort.

About Manhattan Movement & Arts Center

Manhattan Movement & Arts Center was developed by Rose Caiola as the home of the Manhattan Youth Ballet, a graded, pre-professional ballet academy and performance company. Ms. Caiola, a former dancer and actress, founded the academy in the fall of 1994 as Studio Maestro at 48 W. 68th Street, and today serves as the youth ballet's executive artistic director.

The school is modeled after the European academies and adheres to the French School of classical ballet technique. Under the direction of Francois Perron, managing artistic director, the Manhattan Youth Ballet has acquired a reputation for excellent teaching in an intimate and individually supportive environment. The school's graduates have danced professionally with American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet de España, San Francisco Ballet and Complexions.

As the ballet academy grew, the search for a larger space inspired in Ms. Caiola a highly personal vision of a studio and theater complex that would encompass all aspects of dance education and performance.

mmac opened its doors in June 2008, occupying a dramatic bi-level space within The Element, a luxury high-rise condominium. In addition to the Manhattan Youth Ballet, mmac's studios and theater host daily adult dance and fitness classes, the mmac Kids program, summer intensive programs, as well as an array of performances and special events.

For more information about mmac, visit www.manhattanmovement.com.

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