Week of August 31-September 4, 2020
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Welcome to ABTKids Daily, American Ballet Theatre’s new home for families and educators to discover digital content for their virtual classrooms. Join us each day to Meet an ABT Dancer, engage with an ABT Teaching Artist, learn fun facts and enjoy ballet-themed activities from the comfort of your own home.
As America’s National Ballet Company®, ABT is dedicated to preserving and extending the great legacy of classical dancing, through exciting performances and educational programming of the highest quality, presented to the widest possible audience.
Join us each Monday morning to bring the joy of classical ballet to your family. A weekly curriculum will be posted for your discovery!
ABTKids Daily is generously supported by
Explore this week’s materials below or view the archive here.
Watch a profile of Devon, filmed while she was a member of ABT’s corps de ballet.
Join Mr. Jeff, Ms. Alexis and Mr. Richard as they introduce you to one of ABT’s fabulous ballets. Learn a dance, stop and sketch, and don’t forget to have fun!
Did you know that ballet was not always presented on a stage or in the theatre. Ballet’s beginnings date back to 15th century Italian royal courts, where kings and princes used ballet to fill their courts with artistry to impress other powerful families. Ballet was originally performed in large rooms or in the gardens of the palaces, not in a theatre or stage, and movements were small and restricted by many layers of clothing.
Louis the XIV of France is credited with popularizing the art form of ballet, and soon ballet moved from court to stage as a way to showcase and present dance to a wider audience.
So, you may wonder, how are ballets created now?
Today, we explore ABT’s production of Alexei Ratmansky’s Whipped Cream, following the ballet’s journey from creative concept to opening night!The Making of Whipped CreamWhipped Cream LibrettoWhipped Cream - From Sketch to Stage
Whipped Cream had its World Premiere on March 15, 2017 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. Enjoy a rarely-seen time-lapsed video capturing the entire process of bringing this amazing production to life for the first time!
Every Thursday we pull a photo from our archives and share it with one of our ABT dancers. You never know what stories may come from a single snapshot!
“While I was a student at the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, I performed as a supernumerary (an extra dancer on stage) during the New York City premiere of Whipped Cream at the Metropolitan Opera House. To celebrate the premiere, many of us ‘supers,’ as we call them, got to ride on a special Whipped Cream float through Manhattan the morning of ABT’s annual ABTKids performance! In this photo, we had just gotten back to Lincoln Center from our route right through Times Square. I remember feeling a little nervous at first, standing at the very front of the float, but seeing the shocked and excited reactions of the onlookers made me relax and embrace the Layer Cake Girl character. Waving to those huge crowds in our larger-than-life costumes is something I’ll never forget!
To play the Layer Cake Girl, I tried to personify a cake by imagining how the dessert would walk and talk if it could. This was new to me since I usually draw inspiration for roles from a living being, such as a swan or princess, rather than a yummy treat! I hoped to convey the sweetness of a cake to the audience through my joyful presence and huge smile.
Two years later, Whipped Cream became one of the very first ballets I performed in as an apprentice with the Company. Looking at this photo, it’s hard to believe that I had no idea that I would revisit this ballet as an ABT dancer so soon! Now, I dance as one of the whipped cream ladies, where my character is a similarly sweet treat. I used my experience from acting as the Layer Cake Girl to inspire my new role. In this dance, there is an arm gesture where was act as though we are wafting the delicious whipped cream scent from all around us. This visual always gets me into character and helps the audience to see each of us as dollops of whipped cream!”
Describe a time when you felt more prepared because of a previous experience.
Can you find five items that are different in these two Whipped Cream scenes?
(To view images side by side, click here.)
Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.
In the Spring of 2020, @ABTSchool launched virtual classes taught by former ABT dancers, ABT JKO School faculty and ABT teaching artists – all certified in the ABT National Training Curriculum.
Recommended for ages 2-4 and 5-8, these classes engage ABT’s youngest students and their families, as well as the global community at large, by exploring musicality, fostering creativity and imagination, and teaching ballet fundamentals.
View the full series on @ABTSchool IGTV or ABT’s YouTube Channel.