Classical Ballet Academy presents open air performances

INCLUDES VIDEO See students, many of whom live in outer East Portland, perform in this unique setting …

Between performances, the cast of Alice in Wonderland poses backstage for a photo, during the Classical Ballet Academy “Open Air Performance Series”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A most unique ballet show was presented in the Eastmoreland neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, June 12, along SE Reed College Place — as the Classical Ballet Academy (CBA) welcomed the public to their one-day-only “Open Air Performance Series”, free of charge.

Eight stages were set up in the wide grassy median of this boulevard to feature scenes from eight famous classical ballets: Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Alice in Wonderland, Don Quixote, Coppelia, The Firebird, Cinderella, and Snow White.

With music playing, dancers perform an excerpt from Alice in Wonderland.

“Our students, all 250 of them, ranging in age from age from 3 to 18, have been isolated at home and doing everything online – including academic school, and dance instruction,” explained CBA Director Sarah Rigles.

“Last December we really wanted to do something ‘in person’, and came up with what we called ‘Nutcracker Vignettes’ that we put on in the same area. Now, in June, with the support of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, we were also able to put on more shows here along Reed College Place,” Rigles told East Portland News.

As dancers interpret a segment of the Swan Lake ballet, an audience gathers to take in the free performance in this unique outdoor setting.

“Our students, many of them from outer East Portland neighborhoods, were so excited about the opportunity to perform again for live audiences!” Rigles continued. “I believe we succeeded in our mission of bringing the community together, and giving hope – both to our dancers, and the community at large.”

Due to the fact the stages were spread out over two city blocks, an audience estimate was difficult to make, Rigles remarked. “Our volunteers say they believe approximately 1,000 people viewed at least some of the programs on our eight stages, presenting 12 different classical scenes and two different contemporary scenes.”

Taking a break between their performances are the dancers of Don Quixote.

“We thank our key volunteers: Lindsay Lichtenwalter, JoAnne Cheechov, Kris Marcus, Matt Marcus, Tracie Erlandson, Sissy Dawson, Jason Davis, Ralph Welker, Mark Molchan, and Kayla Scrivner,” Rigles acknowledged. “And, we’re also so grateful for the Eastmoreland neighbors who were very accommodating and kind to allow us to hold this event, almost in their front yards!”

Learn more about Classical Ballet Academy
by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

As seen from “backstage”, audience members in the street enjoy the ballet dancers performing a scene from Coppelia.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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