A PAUSE TO LOOK BACK…
To help celebrate our next decade of dance, we’ve asked American Midwest Ballet dancers to share some of their favorite memories from the company’s first ten seasons, as well as interesting stories from their own backgrounds. We’ve paired their recollections with photos and short videos. We hope you’ll enjoy reminiscing with them as we look forward to what’s coming next! Keep watching this page for new additions…
Where Memories Are Made
Many of our dancers’ favorite memories are made in our beautiful studios at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center. We recruited AMB company artist Katerina Schweitzer to give us a behind-the-scenes tour of this amazing arts facility.
Tornados and poppies and monkeys, oh my!
Dancing four very different roles in Erin Alarcón’s The Wizard of Oz – a tornado, a poppy, an Emerald Court member, and a monkey soldier – gave Elena a satisfying artistic challenge and a treasured memory.
“…i saw everything come together”
Choreographing his ballet Poseidon gave Matthew Lovegood a rewarding collaborative experience: a custom backdrop created by artist Monique Belitz, specially-created costumes designed by AMB costume designer Deborah Overturff, and performing with a cast led by admired colleague Kelsey Schwenker.
Life at the dancer house
The summer of 2020 will be memorable for AMB dancers Elena, Rachel, Cameron, and Wyatt. They all share a house – the Dancer House – and during the summer they found ways to keep their technique in shape while staying safe at home (along with Rachel’s and Wyatt’s dogs.) They made this video to show what it’s like…
Anna Swenson: “the lyrics really rang true”
Dancing Erika Overturff’s solo work Blackbird was a profound experience for Anna. “I really wanted to make sure that I brought to life this beautiful piece of music and this choreography,” she said. “I looked into the history of the song itself… [it] was inspired by the 1960s civil rights movement, and the words, the lyrics, really rang true to me.”
NORA CARR: “I Just Loved Every minute”
Of being cast in Erin Alarcón’s ballet Bricolage, Nora recalls: ‘I just loved every minute. I loved the rehearsal process, I loved taking it to the stage… It was a fast-paced, high-energy ballet that was so much fun to dance. The choreography matched the music perfectly, and I remember stepping out onto stage every time with a huge smile on my face, enjoying every step!’
ELENA CARTER: OUTREACH IS PERSONAL
‘I am passionate about outreach,’ says Elena Carter, recently promoted to company artist for Season 11. For Elena, that passion comes from personal experience: as a third-grader growing up in Seattle, she was chosen for the DanceChance outreach program of Pacific Northwest Ballet. Every day, a school bus would take her to a ballet class at PNB’s studio and then bring her back to school – ‘…just in time for recess!’ she recalls. That outreach program was key to Elena’s future: ‘If it were not for this DanceChance program,’ she says, ‘I would definitely not be a ballerina now!’ Read more about AMB’s commitment to community outreach and education.
Rebecca Brenner: Friendships make it special
‘Performing Spanish in The Nutcracker with my fellow spicy señoritas was a great memory! Year 2 of the same cast was extra special! We had more confidence and were able to have more fun onstage dancing together and living our best lives surrounded by great friends 🙂’
Katherine Eppink: Dual Role
‘I have so many good memories from American Midwest Ballet and also Ballet Nebraska. One in particular that comes to mind is opening night of Wizard of Oz, which also served as Bret and Sasha’s wedding! Only a few days before Bret and I were sharing a dressing room in Sioux City and we were talking about her impending wedding. I became aware that her parents as well as Sasha’s were planning on coming the see Wizard at the Orpheum and I offered to officiate a wedding for them. She talked it over with Sasha and they both happily agreed. We worked out a few details like when and where (on stage, after class) and they decided to keep it a surprise. A week later they were married an hour before curtain call with their family and the company as witnesses. That night the company danced what I think was one of our greatest performances to date! What an amazing day that was!’
Alexandra Hoffman: An Emotional Connection
‘One of my favorite memories has to working with Mariana Oliveira on Death and the Maiden. I loved learning the beautiful choreography and connecting so deeply to the character’s story. I will never forget all of the emotions this piece left me feeling after every run-through or performance. It will forever be a defining moment of my career.’
Erin Alarcón: It’s all about community
‘Over the last ten seasons I’ve loved becoming a member of the AMB community. I’ve formed lasting friendships with not only the dancers but also the artistic staff, production team, costume department, guild and our supporters. This is a team of individuals whose kindness and support have been instrumental in my growth as a person and an artist over the last decade.’
Rebecca Brenner: Shakespeare Runs in the Family
‘A favorite memory is dancing the role of Hermia from A Midsummer Night’s Dream! It was my first time performing as a main character, and her character was so fun! I enjoyed dancing the choreography and pairing it with the drama of Hermia’s character. It was also extra special for me because my mom played Hermia when she was in high school. I grew up hearing her stories and never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to perform such a role. I loved having her in the audience to watch, along with my dad, my husband and his parents.’
Whitney Walsh: A “bucket list” role
“One of my favorite AMB memories was dancing Little Swans in Swan Lake! That ballet is a bucket list ballet for me, so getting to perform such iconic choreography with my best friends on the Orpheum stage was a dream!”