How a 9-Year Old Found His Outlet Through Ballet

Our son JD is 9 years old. He is a typical boy in every way — he plays video games, skateboards, rides bikes and climbs trees — you name it, he does it! But still, for years we had never found his outlet. He was becoming increasingly difficult in school, not following directions, rebelling against the teacher and not focusing. We were in parent teacher conferences almost weekly. We knew he was brilliant, but we just couldn’t convince him to show it.

JD was cast as a party boy for the 2010 Columbus Ballet performance of the Nutcracker, which trains at the CSU Dance Conservatory. As the dancing and rehearsals became more intense we noticed something amazing — JD’s grades, attitude and behavior changed by 180 degrees. We were so proud and impressed with him. Yet, sadly once the Nutcracker performances ended, we noticed JD’s behavioral issues return.

He was again cast as a party boy in 2011 and we saw once again, his enthusiasm, motivation and positive behavior at school and at home take hold. This time he buckled down harder and achieved high marks on his end-of-year testing. We caught on to the positive correlation between JD’s behavior and dance, so over the summer of 2012 we signed JD up for a summer dance class and discussed the option of him taking weekly classes. He would have to participate in an all girls class but he didn’t care…he was happy to be able to dance and even perform. This past winter, JD was cast as Fritz in the 2012 Nutcracker performance. His excitement to be performing this role was indescribable!

JD Allen during rehearsal at the Springer Theatre.

JD during rehearsal at the Springer Theatre.

JD looks forward to continuing his training in classic ballet as he matures in dancing. He loves the stage, he loves being dramatic and using his actions and emotions to help tell a story.

What do we —his parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and teachers see? A young man who had matured greatly, has stopped acting out negatively, does his homework without fighting, gets good grades in school and has developed into a perfect gentleman. We are so thankful for the opportunities that the Columbus Ballet and CSU Dance Conservatory have provided. And more so, we are thankful to have found a great outlet for JD to better himself and become the bright student we all knew he could be all along!

Submitted by Joseph & Amber-Elaine Allen and Family

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The Columbus Ballet Delivers an Outstanding Nutcracker Performance

If you went to see the Nutcracker at the RiverCenter,  you already know how amazing this performance was. Since this was my first time going to a ballet performance, I didn’t really know what to expect. Although I did expect there to be beautiful ballerinas, the grandeur of the show caught me off guard. The stage was lavishly decorated with perfect lighting, and the performers were extravagantly dressed giving the show a magical Christmas ambiance. I think everyone had to have left with a warm fuzzy feeling that night.

In the beginning of the performance, I was initially pleased with the obvious effort to make this a magical moment for the audience because of the superior quality of everything involved. From time to time you’ll see ballet on TV or maybe online, but for me I never took the time to appreciate ballerinas’ talent until I watched them in person. It’s very cool to see how they can make ballet look so fluid and effortless. As I was watching them dance, all I could do was imagine myself trying to do the same moves and realizing how hard it would be. I definitely have to give them props for being able to keep the pace, balance and strength to perform like that.

My favorite part was the sugar plum fairy’s dance which happened to be portrayed by Anna Rodriquez. She was absolutely flawless in her performance. The perfect touch was added when the light hit her jeweled outfit and tiara making her glimmer from head to toe. It was such an awesome performance. Bravo to the Columbus Ballet for working so hard!

If your little one was swept away by the magic of the ballet you may want to consider registering them for upcoming ballet classes. They’ll have a chance to learn from other experienced ballerinas such as Anna Rodriquez, who happens to be an instructor at the CSU Dance Conservatory, official school of the Columbus Ballet. For more information, visit http://ballet.columbusstate.edu/ or call 706.507.8070.

-Kindra Hunter

Rediscover the Magic of the Nutcracker

Throughout the Holidays there are many activities and performances that set a dreamlike tone. The ballet may be one of them, in particular, the Nutcracker. Every Christmas season ballet companies all over the country perform the Nutcracker, bringing back memories of Christmases past. The Nutcracker Ballet originated from E.T.A Hoffman’s story, “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” in the 19th century. Marius Petipa, a dancer from France, created the ballet choreography for the original performance of the Nutcracker in St. Petersburg, Russia. Interestingly, when this ballet debuted it wasn’t very popular. Today, the Nutcracker is considered one of the world’s most renowned ballets.

On December 10th– 11th the Columbus Ballet Company will perform the Nutcracker at the RiverCenter. Click here for ticket information. This is a fantastic opportunity to boost the warm fuzzy feeling that Christmas gives you. It’s also a perfect night out for the family, or you and a special loved one. Let yourself get swept away in the enchanting story of the Nutcracker. Preview the storyline with this brief summary:

The Stahlbaum’s are hosting a party on Christmas Eve. When Drosselmeyer arrives at the party, he gives Clara and Fitz gifts. Fitz immediately becomes jealous of Clara’s Nutcracker doll and breaks it. After Drosselmeyer repairs the doll, the night eventually comes to an end. Clara sneaks out of bed to cuddle with her Nutcracker doll under the Christmas tree and falls asleep. At midnight, the doll comes to life and has to defend Clara and himself in a battle against the Mouse King.

Luckily, the Nutcracker, his army of toy soldiers, and Clara won the battle against the Mouse King. The Nutcracker turns into a Prince and takes Clara to the Land of Snow, and then on to the Land of Sweets where they meet the Sugar Plum fairy. They tell the fairy of their victory against the Mouse King and she rewards them with a variety of captivating dances. At the end of the story, Clara wakes up underneath the Christmas tree with her Nutcracker doll.

Take some time out to delight in the holiday season this year.  For tickets and pricing information visit the RiverCenter.org. It’s only natural to be mesmerized by the beauty and grace of ballerina after you watch them perform. If you or your children are inspired to learn more about the art of ballet, visit ColumbusState.edu/Ballet for registration information.

-Kindra Hunter

“Prominent Russians: Marius Petipa.” Get Russianalized – Russiapedia. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. <http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/opera-and-ballet/marius-petipa/&gt;.

“The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet.” Nutcracker Ballet – Performance Directory and Nutcracker Ballet Information from Ballet Buzz. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nutcrackerballet.net/html/nutcracker_story.html&gt;.