Performing arts academy prepares for last ballet in current location

Find out to where Portland Metro Performing Arts Center and School is moving – and get a first look at “Les Ruses d’Amour” – the last ballet they’ll be presenting in their old Gateway area building. It opens April 16 …

Young ladies take a moment from rehearsal to try on costumes for “Les Ruses d’Amour”, opening on April 16.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Nancy Yeamans, Director of Portland Metro Performing Arts Center and School (PMPA), looked exhausted, when we stopped by to talk on March 20.

She had good reason to look fatigued! Yeamans, her staff, and scores of volunteers are in the process of moving their organization from the tilt-up concrete-box-like building tucked away off SE 99th Avenue in the Gateway area – to their own building, in Montavilla.

Enduring PMPA volunteer dancer and actor Len Mills trades in his ballet slippers for work boots, as he and Jonathan Mullen construct the set for “Les Ruses d’Amour”.

While volunteers were constructing the massive set to be used in the upcoming production of the full-length ballet, “Les Ruses d’Amour”, Yeamans said she was excited to tell us about their upcoming production.

“Les Ruses d’Amour is a lively comic ballet featuring the lush music of Glazunov,” Yeamans told us. “It’s set in the splendor of an Italian villa, and the story is full of fun and surprises. Dancers, actors, jugglers and magicians bring this humorous story to life.”

Everybody enjoys the antics of characters Isabella and Damis, Yeamans smiled. “The two are betrothed strangers, who disguise themselves to avoid marriage. They are just two of a colorful cast of 50. We will have several accomplished alumni taking some of our leading roles,” she added about the ballet.

PMPA’s Director, Nancy Yeamans, blocks out a scene featuring peasant women, in the upcoming production.

Final performances in the old building
There will be 10 performances of their Springtime ballet, Yeamans told us – six of them “closed” shows for school groups; and four performances open to the public.

“It’s been a challenge,” admitted Yeamans. “We’re remodeling our new building, in Montavilla on SE Stark Street, as we go. This show, and the 2010 edition of “Hot Flashes”, will be the last performances in this building.”

By mid-April, all of their dance, music, theater and art classes – offered to young people of all ages and all levels – will take place at their new building.

These are just a few of the colorful dancers you’ll enjoy watching, as PMPA presents their full-length spring ballet program.

Public shows start April 17
PMPA’s lavish production of “Les Ruses d’Amour” offers public shows on April 17 & 24. Tickets purchased before April 9 are $15 each; but they go up to $18 each if purchased April 10th or later.

> NOTE: All performances will be at their current (old) space, 9933 SE Pine Street – just off SE 99th Avenue, between SE Stark and SE Halsey Streets.

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE, or call (503) 408-0604.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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