Central West Ballet has gone through numerous changes since its inception in 1987. Through high and lows, the Company has endured.
With a strong artistic quality vision, the Company can weather many challenges and situations, whether they are financialor other. This Company's resilience cannot be underestimated. When changes occur, the Company grows.
A professional ballet company relies of a mixture of high technical artistic maintenance and solid theatrical craftsmanship. Both are essential to the state of performances we present in order to inspire and elevate the audience. This powerful environment is what makes possible the development of artistic personality, charismatic lead dancers and wealth of creativity. Get all these ingredients in sequence and the rest will come. This is why the Company thrives in any situation.
Central West Ballet is an honest endeavor. Its core philosophy is based on artistic merit and selfless achievement. This brings prosperity and inspires the same kindred spirit in people. This is why we believe in the Company and have continued to succeed.
Every new season has brought quantum leaps in Central West Ballet's development. The Company has increasedits productions of complete full length ballets in recent years. From The Sleeping Beauty to Peter Pan and from Romeo and Juliet to Swan Lake, Central West Ballet hasn't cut corners. We have managed to push the envelope with more long form contemporary works to propel our dancers forward. Never before had the dancers been opened to works that challenged their stamina and athletic abilities to the limit. Central West Ballet has also given its dancers the opportunity to become accomplished entertainers in their own right. The Company has produced more expert showbiz dance events and old style vaudevillian ballets to audience acclaim. We have also carefully developed the dancers's passion for choreography and given them a solid avenue for their own original works.
Real world experience and true craftsmanship has enabled us to share a treasure box of works and events. The dancers of Central West are scholars of the art of dance and artists before them. This is an educational path like no other. Dancers come to Central West Ballet to live the art of dance. May the wind continue to flow through our sails.
Moving Through Time
25th in Synergy
Central West Ballet continues its quest for excellence as we near our 25th Anniversary next Season. Our way of making these goals is based on a belief in our own dancers, our faith in our own community and the rich resources of the Central Valley.
The Company's artistic level has dramatically risen steadily over the last 2 years. This is due to the fact that we branched out, giving the dancers a space of their own and increased our financial support to as many artists within the Company as is possible. Much debate has gone on about the viability of Central West Ballet as a professional contender in California's Central Valley. The majority of our company members are made of local performing artists who have been groomed and mentored by an experienced artistic staff. This synergy between dancers and the artistic direction of Central West Ballet is the reason for its unprecedented success. Indeed, it has become more and more frequent and important for the community to express their appreciation of our performances at the Gallo Center for the Arts.
This measure of compliment is the only one that matters to us. Central West Ballet is a company for the community by the community. The Company's growth toward a complete professional entity, its openness to the rest of the world and the fact that we gain more recognition from many key professionals in the business to this day gives our effort complimentary support. It celebrates, along with our community, what we are achieving here in Modesto.
The 25th Anniversary Season of Central West Ballet is one of focus on what the dancers of the Company are achieving; soul searching, personal best, creation from within, and communion with the incoming dance profession.
We look forward to this next year more than we have ever wished.
May the wind be in our sails as never before.
25th Anniversary ~ Unveiling to a Future
Seven years ago, Central West Ballet faced a new challenge; to open itself without limits and embrace the true hardships of realizing its goals toward new levels. In 2004, the oldest dancer in the Company was sixteen years old, the youngest, eleven. Today we have dancers in their twenties and thirties leading the way. One of the main reasons for this unprecedented success is that the core of current Central West dancers, that were with us at the beginning of this seven year tenure, have always kept hope within their hearts and an unbroken belief in their own existence as a Company. Without this precious element, none of our efforts would have seen the light of day. In seven short years, we have achieved several milestones in the Company's quest. Keeping our local talents and training them to excel in greater numbers at Central West has given a sense of continuity to younger generations. Knowledge brings confidence to our dancers and in turn, they have begun to pass on what they have experienced as they mature. The audience too has grown to appreciate the many efforts Central West Ballet has put into forging ahead. Despite some bumps in the road, we have kept our focus on the work at hand. When things did not seem to go our way, we continued to push the envelope and presented the best of ourselves on stage.
As the old adage says: "the show must go on" and with that came some measure of success every time we closed a show, and started on another one. The course of the Company edging toward becoming a professional entity was a mixture of boldness and necessity. Under this new tenure, the years 2004 to 2007 were spent restructuring the dancers in their technical proficiency and giving them the necessary tools to make a choice. That single choice was something they had never been faced with as a group. In previous years, the inevitable roll around of rotating members out of the Company, while replacing them with younger ones, was a fact of their teenage life. But once this course of action was expanded by enabling the dancers to have the prospect of a local career in dance, the Company was able to move itself toward the professional arena for the first time in its 20 year history.
Although there are important elements that keep Central West Ballet pushing forward as it has, the series of circumstances that further this development are more complex and varied than simply finding one or two reasons to explain the Company's ability in handling the pressure of keeping this new venture alive. Modesto's community cannot be underestimated in its general support of Central West Ballet. In fact, numerous individuals within the community have embraced Central West Ballet as a young professional Company and the number of supporters in this philosophy are growing. Our esteemed Board of Directors has been steadfast in supporting the Company's new goals and have continuously labored to raise funds to support our cause. Heartfelt and exciting fundraising evenings at the Endlsey's were as creative and visionary as they were a venue for doing business. These events alone unified the Company with its community in a constructive synergy. Our Ovation! Guild of dedicated supporters went a long way to help Central West reach across the community. Later, the dancers also mobilized in bringing their own support and efforts to raise additional funds, making their dreams a reality. Outside support and curiosity also brought in resources as the Company's enthusiastic energy reached beyond its home base.
One of the facts that helped the audience adopt Central West Ballet as its own Resident Company was that their local dancers grew up on stage in front of them. Just as parents take pride in their own children's accomplishments, so did the audience in their own dancers. At times, the technical struggles that surfaced onstage for the young artists only strengthened the audience's grass roots support, because every patron in the house witnessed the undying spirit of each individual on stage. The dancers picked themselves up, brushed themselves off, and on they went to the next solo or pas de deux. That all important element of faith, hope and true passion established the strong foundation they were building, step by step, performance by performance.
Over the course of these endeavors, there were from time to time, the usual naysayers and those who said that none of this would ever see the light of day. But this part of the story is but a fraction of individuals whose personal frustrations were best served with the highest patience on our part. We chose to take the higher road and not let the negativities disrupt our goals. Discontent is best left to those who live by this motto.
And thus, in 2004, we hit the ground running and each year has brought a new challenge to overcome. In 2005, upon the Centennial of Hans Christian Andersen, we created a new version of the famous ballet The Red Shoes to the original Easdale score. This important milestone was a metaphor for the years ahead. In The Red Shoes, a girl is offered a pair of red ballet slippers by a mysterious shoemaker. Out of sheer passion, she accepts the gift and puts the shoes on. However, she cannot remove the red shoes and the spell makes her dance on for eternity. Although the fairytale story is typically dark and dramatic, the core of the narrative strikes a vital resemblance to today's Central West Ballet Company. The red shoes have never stopped since then and our dancers have reached beyond their dreams, into a full fledged dance reality.
From the famous Red Shoes, we soon catapulted ourselves into other realms such as intense creative repertory programs where we established long form contemporary evenings, giving the dancers endurance and crucial partnering experience. Works entitled Canvas Emotions and Nature's Rite were the genesis of a new era and the shape of things to come. These first 3 years were also the final curtain call for Central West's performances in the High School system. The majesty of the Gallo Center for the Arts as the future home of Central West Ballet generated much anticipation.
The last seasons at Modesto High School Auditorium (now the Paul F. Tischer Theatre) saw the Company continuing its story ballets in originality with a full length Peter & the Wolf, and, a new version of Coppélia to bridge the gap as a youth organization. However the arrival of the Gallo Center, combined with CWB's 20th Anniversary, changed everything. In 2007, we could no longer function in accordance with past traditions. Faced with a true professional venue, we needed to make a decision. Our leading dancers were by then 18 years old and they were in it for the long haul. The Company was enjoying a resurgence in popularity and the performances were gaining ground on every level. It was in those formative years that we boldly stepped it up by presenting more and more industry standard shows, including investments in true professional costuming. This alone gave our dancers a taste in quality presentation and with that, a genuine pride on and off the stage. Many creative pieces became a staple of our image, works like 1001 Nights, Of Faeries and Elves, Existence and House of Folk, to name a few. As our Nutcracker Season was expanding, we also started renting better sets and costumes from other professional companies to present perennial favorites such as Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty.
From the first year at the Gallo Center for the Arts, we moved rapidly and boldly. Apart from a growing Nutcracker season, we created a first for Central West Ballet, bringing our audience the timeless Romeo and Juliet and in the same season, we brought in the full length Peter Pan, complete with flying and a Tick Tock Crocodile! After six years of grueling work, we then brought in, for the first time under this tenure, an internationally acclaimed choreographer who's influence cannot be underestimated. San Francisco Ballet's Val Caniparoli agreed to have Central West Ballet present his choreographies and with his work "Violin", we proved that we could rival other professional companies of the same size. Such incredible excitement and variety was met with standing ovations. The desire to establish Central West's future became a genuine concern.
By then our leading dancers reached their early twenties and the Company's responsibilities toward their dancing existence became another necessity. We then made two back to back moves that propelled Central West into uncharted waters. We moved the Company into its own space on Pentecost Drive and started to provide a nucleus of dancers a genuine form of remuneration for their dancing services. The season that followed was one of great excitement. We also established a choreographic workshop to nurture choreographic talents from within. Today, after a fast growing curve, we stand on the threshold of great years ahead for Central West Ballet.
It has been said that the act of Creation took seven days to come to life. Seven years ago, we gave ourselves the opportunity to let our dreams carry us and achieve what was considered impossible. Our hope is that the next seven years will see Central West Ballet flourish even beyond what has already been achieved.
I can speak for our organization in that respect, and want to thank you for letting all of us carry on this noble adventure toward a fulfilling future.