Gerda and the Snow Queen

Act One
Long ago, in a quiet, quaint village, if you looked closely, you might find a charming scene: two children dancing with delight. Friends since the cradle, Gerda and Kai’s hearts happily unfolded to each morning like the roses and bluebells that bloomed between their houses. All was wonder in their world. Gerda and Kai would only stop their dancing long enough to listen to the wonderful stories Gerda’s grandmother would share. 

How could these innocents know that such fantastic tales would weave their way through their own young lives? 

IMG_2590.jpg

One day, the grandmother told the children of a Snow Queen, who had lived a dark and twisted existence for so long, her heart had grown ice-cold. It was thought the Snow Queen had fallen under the terrible spell of a magical mirror. 

Kai and Gerda learned the legend of the magic mirror as well; a mirror created by a hobgoblin to twist the view of anyone who looked at his reflection in the mirror. The hobgoblin hoped to wreak havoc, knowing people’s views of themselves and everyone and everything else in the world would become distorted. Blessing looked like curse; virtue appeared as vice. In short, anyone who fell under the mirror’s awful enchantment started down the path of becoming as depraved as its maker. 

A mischievous crew of goblins, tag-alongs to the evil hobgoblin, endeavored to take the mirror all the way to heaven, curious to see what mayhem it could wreak there. But on their way up, up, up, so fitfully did the impish goblins laugh, that they dropped the mirror. The mirror crashed to the ground, shattering. And so the story went that whoever encountered even the smallest shard of the broken mirror would see only the earth’s brokenness, its sin and sadness. 

Oh, the tales Gerda’s grandmother told! 

So don’t you know that just after she closed her storybook, Kai, the kindest of boys, got a speck in his eye? And that it was no ordinary fleck of dust, but one of the tiny bits of the hobgoblin’s mirror? Kai instantly began acting odd. Gerda couldn’t help but see his sudden indifference toward her, his aloofness. 

And then Kai disappeared. 

He followed the Snow Queen, the very Snow Queen from grandmother’s story, but no one in the village had a clue what had happened to him. Gerda didn’t either, but she knew from a place deep inside that her friend was in trouble. And so, being a girl of great love and loyalty, she decided to go find him. 

Act Two 

Wearing a scarf Kai had given her, Gerda dashed off without a doubt. She must find her friend. She came to a rippling river and wondered if it held the key of how to get to Kai. But the river had no answer. 

As she wandered away from the river, two blackbirds flitted among the branches of the forest, chattering cheerfully, as blackbirds do. “Look! We have a visitor!” one exclaimed. The pair was easily excited, and they hurried down from the trees, surrounding Gerda. They peppered the girl with questions, speaking all at once. 

Somewhat startled and struggling to get a word in, Gerda tried to tell the eager creatures about her search for Kai. “Oh! I saw a boy in the castle. Maybe it was your friend,” the blackbirds interrupted. 

“Come this way!” cried the blackbirds as they dove into Gerda’s path. And so, she followed them as they guided her to a castle’s gates and into its royal court. 

The blackbirds introduced Gerda to a royal princess—and her new prince. 

“Perhaps here is the boy you are searching for!” they said, thinking the prince was Kai. 

Gerda was crestfallen. Seeing her disappointment, the princess tried to console her, giving her a pair of red shoes to keep her safe on her journey. 

Gerda resumed her wandering in the forest and was cheered by the sight of woodland fairies and a sprite, impishly peaking at her from behind the trees. Feeling tired and quite out of harm’s way, Gerda lay down to rest. 

But a band of gypsies, led by a robber girl, crept up from out of the trees. They were not so friendly. They poked her and taunted her. Even though she was frightened, Gerda trusted enough to show the robber girl the scarf from Kai and explained about her quest. The robber girl returned Gerda’s favor by stealing the scarf right out of her hands. Gerda realized the gypsies were more interested in her things than her story. But Gerda tried once again to plead with the robber girl for help. Seeing her great love, the robber girl relented, giving Gerda back the scarf and offering to introduce her to a white stag. 

IMG_2518.jpg

The mystical animal appeared, dancing with the robber girl, who then left Gerda to the aid of the stag. Gerda set off to continue her journey. But when she went to the right, the white stag blocked her. And when Gerda turned to the left, again, the white stag barred the way. What kind of help was this? Where could she go? Gerda, trapped by the white stag from going anywhere at all, sank to her knees in prayer. 

Ah, that was just where the white stag wanted her, and off the creature ran into the wood. A group of angels came to Gerda while she beseeched God for help. 

The wood was transformed. Gerda found herself in a Land of Ice, with snow- laden branches and flakes falling from the sky. Gerda looked about and realized Kai must be near, and then Kai himself appeared, still following the Snow Queen. Upon finding Kai, Gerda ran to him, cried for joy. He wept as well, weeping the enchanted speck right out of his eye. The evil spell was broken, and Kai was back to his sweet old self whom Gerda grew up with. 

The Snow Queen would not give up immediately, however, and she strove to keep the two friends separated. The angels protested. Then the blackbirds, the princess, the robber girl, and the white stag appeared and pushed the Snow Queen and her wicked influence away. 

Gerda introduced Kai to the new friends who led her to him. And the merry band of children and helpers returned to the little village, amongst the familiar faces of the townspeople. All looked on warmly as Gerda’s grandmother was reunited with the children. 

And so things were as they should be again, set to rights after a long journey that was anything but straightforward—but nothing if not miraculous.

 

Gerda and the Snow Queen Auditions


Auditions are fast approaching to take part in our Winter Concert: Gerda and the Snow Queen!

We are simply enchanted by the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale and love sharing the story with our audiences. Fairies and Villagers, a Snow Queen and Hobgoblins, a Princess and her Court, alongside Gypsies, Stags, Crows, and Angels, all join together to weave a story of friendship and hope in the face of adversity.

Auditions will be held September 14th and are open to all Still Pointe students ages 5 and up!

IMG_3472.jpg
IMG_2056.jpg
IMG_1353.jpg
IMG_3210.jpg
IMG_2239.jpg
IMG_2092.jpg
IMG_3436.jpg
IMG_2071.jpg
IMG_2379.jpg

Summer Intensive 2019

With Summer just around the corner, we are excited to introduce you to our incredible, inspiring teachers for Still Pointe’s Summer Intensive 2019! Join us June 10th through 14th for a week of dancing and dreaming as we work from 10am-4pm daily, soaking in the best of what these working professional dancers have to offer!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY!!!

Jillian Mitchell

KitModusHeadshots-9585.jpeg

Jillian Mitchell's training began in Michigan at the Milligan School of ballet, with Karen Milligan. She continued at the Harid Conservatory and finished at Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Jillian spent summers attending National Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, and on scholarship at Complexions. Upon graduation, she joined New Jersey Ballet. Jillian also worked with Rebecca Davis Dance, Roxey Ballet, and Georgia Ballet. In Atlanta, Jillian worked with Proia Dance Project, and gloATL. In 2017, she founded the company, Kit Modus, which is in residence at Callanwolde Fine Arts center where she also serves as ballet artistic director.

Lucas Labrador

IMG_6834.jpeg

Lucas Labrador was born in Cosquín, Argentina. He spent two seasons at Ballet Nacional de Argentina under the direction of former Royal Ballet principal dancer Inaki Urlezaga. Lucas toured Argentina, Spain and Portugal, performing roles in Swan Lake, Carmen, Paquita, La Traviata and Giselle. In 2016, he accepted a full scholarship to study at The Rock School in Philadelphia. In January 2017, he won first place in the pas de deux category at the Youth America Grand Prix in Atlanta and second place in the ensemble category at the New York City finals. As a member of Atlanta Ballet 2, his repertoire included lead and starring roles in Beauty & the Beast and Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, plus roles in Swan Lake and Don Quixote. Most recently as an Atlanta ballet apprentice he has performed “the premiere” by Ricardo Amarante, “Return to a strange land” by jyri kilian, the new Nutcracker by Yuri Possokhov, “Sylphide” by Johan Kobborg, and “Sandpaper” by Mark Morris. 


Nick Hagelin

12961548_1124876554198355_4785565734571559251_n.jpg

Nick is a seasoned performer, with a rich background in the performing arts.  Born in New York City with  two professional singers for parents, he trained at School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center, and went on to dance internationally with American Ballet Theatre, The Kirov, and Carolina Ballet.  He moved to Atlanta in 2009 and has enjoyed a rich career on stage dancing and performing with Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Lyric Theater, Atlanta Hawks, and dozens of dance companies and schools throughout the southeast. 

Nick Hagelin is an award-winning singer/songwriter, dancer, and actor living in Atlanta, GA.   His soulful voice and loving spirit have earned him millions of views on Youtube and a strong run on Season 10 of The Voice, where he finished Top 9.   He has been featured on The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, NBC, CBS, FOX, We TV, FX, E! News, US Weekly, and People Magazine.  

Join millions of viewers at www.youtube.com/nickhagelin, stay connected with @nickhagelin, and explore the music at www.nickhagelin.com


Carly Hammond

IMG_1142.JPG

Carly Hammond began her formal training at the Geiger Ballet under the guidance of artistic director Mary C. Geiger, and attended summer programs at Ballet Chicago, San Francisco Ballet, and Juilliard. She is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington with a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance and an Outside Field in Education.
Ms. Hammond is a recipient of Jacobs School of Music Dean’s Scholarship and is a four-time cash scholarship winner at Regional Dance America. While attending Indiana University, she performed principal roles in Appalachian Spring, The Four Temperaments, and Donizetti Variations, and was featured as a soloist in Violette Verdy’s Variations for Eight and as Sugar Plum Fairy in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker.
She was a member of the corps at Ballet San Antonio for the past 3 years. There she performed featured roles in Gabriel Zertuche’s Dracula and The Nutcracker, as well as a Harlot in Ben Stevenson’s Romeo and Juliet and the Pas de Trois in Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake. Ms. Hammond performed the principal couple in Gerald Arpino’s Confetti, and as a demi-soloist in Frederick Franklin’s Tribute. Most recently, Ms. Hammond danced the role of Kitri’s Friend in Willy Shives’ Don Quixote and Gerald Arpino’s Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. 

Rebekah Diaddigo

IMG_2285.JPG

As the founder and director of Bluebird Uncaged, Rebekah’s passion is to bring hope and dignity through dance. From sitting mesmerized by the Nutcracker as a toddler to training at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education to dancing principal roles, she has experienced the power, freedom, and joy in using dance to communicate.
Rebekah is a freelance artist from Atlanta, GA and has appeared with companies such as the Fly on a Wall, Proia Dance Project and Southern Arc and most recently the Atlanta Opera in La Traviata.  Some of her favorite roles include Swanhilda in Coppelia with Ballet Southeast and the Faun Couple in Alexandre Proia’s Four Seasons with Georgia Ballet. Her choreographic credits include, the opener for Passion 2014, Victoria Canal’s City Shoes music video, a short film, White Umbrella, which tells the story of a trafficking survivor from bondage to redemption, as well as the annual stage production of Sterling’s Path, a multimedia fairytale of hope. 
Rebekah loves using dance to serve internationally and has travelled to countries such as Panama and Cuba to perform and conduct workshops. She also loves mentoring the next generation through teaching. Most recently she curated the Uncaged Community Dance Festival where some of Atlanta’s leading dance companies converged for a week of collaboration. 
Rebekah holds a BA in Communications from Thomas Edison State University. When she's not in the studio, Rebekah enjoys spending time with her family, reading, winding down with hand-embroidery or making flower crowns.

Interested in Still Pointe?

Interested in Still Pointe? Email us to start a conversation about whether or not we are the studio you're searching for! May is a wonderful month to stop by for a visit to get to know us and observe a class! Or dip your toes in the water by enrolling in the summer offering that's right for you! 

Summer Camp is perfect for 4-8 year olds! This year we'll be dancing around the world and learning to appreciate how even though we may dance in different ways, we're all God's children! 

For older dancers, we hold Summer Intensive for those students who just can't get enough and are itching to dance all day long! They'll be inspired by working professionals who have turned their love of movement into careers. 

Summer Classes are perfect for maintaining and growing a student's technique during the off months. If you're looking to join us in the fall, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know you and to determine your placement for the 2019-2020 season

Summer Camp: Dance Around the World!

This summer we are so excited to dance around the world! Our summer camp for 4-8 year olds will explore the beauty of how we are different and how much we are the same! We’ll learn new steps from around the globe, dancing our favorite way: TOGETHER!!!

Join us as we explore music and dance from around the world, movement games, crafts, snacks, choreography, and devotional time about how we are all God’s children!

Dates: Monday through Friday, June 24-28
Time: 9:30am-12pm
Cost: $145
*Early Bird Discount: $135 if registered by May 1st.

World Ballet Day

It’s time! World Ballet Day will begin here on the East Coast of the United States tonight at 9pm (still October 1st over here) with streaming from The Australian Ballet in Melbourne. Classes will continue to stream throughout the day on October 2nd.

This is a collaboration that live-streams morning and afternoon classes and rehearsals from 5 incredible ballet companies across the globe! We will get to see glimpses from The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet. 

You can watch the footage on the World Ballet Day website or through any of the 5 companies' official Youtube pages!

http://worldballetday.com

Happy watching!

Melissa Hayden

Every fall, we like to put out two photographs, which, for the rest of the year, are tucked in an inconspicuous corner of Miss Grace’s desk. The pictures come out in the fall in part because they match the décor at this time of year. One, mounted with an aubergine mat and the other, with the genuine faded orange effect that comes with 1970s photographs. But the reason we love these two pictures is not because of their coloring. We love them because they are photographs of Melissa Hayden, without whom, there would be no Still Pointe. 

IMG_7553.JPG

Melissa Hayden was a Canadian ballerina who danced with Radio City Music Hall and Ballet Theater (later to become ABT) before joining New York City Ballet in its earliest days. From 1955 until 1973, she was a leading ballerina under the direction of George Balanchine, appearing in more than 60 ballets. She was often partnered by Jacques D’Amboise and was known for her strength and tenacity. Upon her retirement, she devoted the rest of her life to teaching, which is how she came to impact a great many students, including a young college girl named Eleanor.

 Melissa taught Eleanor at Skidmore College, becoming the single most impactful teacher Eleanor would ever have. Millie had a determination and very personal teaching style that pushed Eleanor in the critical years of early college.  The small number of students at Skidmore worked to Eleanor’s advantage, receiving the attention needed to compensate for the obstacles of her early training and starting “late” as a 12 year old. Millie had been known as a fierce and determined dancer. She maintained those attributes as she transitioned into the new phase of her career as a teacher. 

Though not often known for being warm and fuzzy in the studio, Melissa nurtured her students’ technique and their spirits. She and her husband invited poor college dancers to their house for steak dinners and some much needed R&R. She mentored her students and looked out for them. Eleanor had not come from a wealthy family and tuition at Skidmore was already a stretch for her. But Melissa looked out for the young dancer who had little to recommend her besides her determination. Millie herself hadn’t had the “perfect body”, so advantageous to ballet dancers; but because of this seeming shortcoming, she knew how to mold imperfection into beauty. And for all the stories about her, Melissa and her husband bought pointe shoes for that poor student from Philly without a perfect body. 

 Melissa moved to Seattle for a short time, prompting Eleanor to transfer to North Carolina School of the Arts to complete her degree. Millie later returned to New York and opened her own studio, which served many professional dancers seeking her vast knowledge. Upon leaving the Canadian company Entre-Six, Eleanor went to New York where she spent her third year of training under Melissa. It was from there that Millie made the connections that moved Eleanor (and now her husband Rob as well) to Atlanta and the Atlanta Ballet. Eventually, Melissa found her forever home in Winston-Salem at NCSA. 

So in the end, though Melissa had an incredible career as a professional dancer, it’s her legacy as a teacher and a mentor that we strive to honor today. Melissa was a force, but that force made Eleanor’s dream of dancing professionally possible and eventually led to Still Pointe. We hope that Millie would be proud, peeking out from her photographs at a studio full of imperfect, but tenacious students.  

Becoming Snow

MJS-16+(2).jpg

Still Pointe's auditions for our winter concert are coming up. We thought you'd enjoy this beautiful essay written by one of the cast members of our 2015 production of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs.

Becoming Snow by Maggie Boggs

Friday night at seven, I stand behind a pair of rust-red curtains. The opening music drifts from the speakers, and a hush falls over the audience as the warm notes slowly permeate the room, signaling the start of the ballet. Adrenaline rushes through my body, seeping my every limb with excitement and terror. I clench my teeth as I wait for my cue. I probably look half-mad: I am jumping a bit, even shaking my arms up and down. Anything but think of the audience, sitting in silent anticipation. I turn to my friend and fellow dancer.

“You’re going to do amazing, Margaret!” she insists.

I’m not so sure. We briefly hug, and I whisper to her a word of encouragement as well. I turn back to face the empty stage, waiting to be filled with movement. The music is still playing, shifting into a slightly less heavy, more carefree-sounding section. My stomach is butterfly-filled, my legs Jell-O. My mouth is so dry I’m not certain I can smile. It’s almost time to start. A few more notes, and then it begins. I begin.

I see the blur of white ovals in the dark of the wings-- the faces of my fellow dancers, the faces of my close friends. These friends are expecting me to walk on stage and begin the production we’ve all worked so long and so hard on. I take a deep breath. Please, God, I pray silently, stay with me here. I can’t do this without you.

I hear my note, the note that signals me to the stage, and to my either glorious, or not-so- glorious introduction to the ballet Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I rise up to demi-pointe, put on my most radiant grin, and hesitantly step out from the back wing, onto the stage. Blinding golden light hits my face, and I can feel my pupils dilating as my eyes adjust.  The pale yellow skirt of my dress begins to billow softly around me, almost comfortingly, as I begin to dance--dancing the part of Snow White herself.

Oh, so she’s that girl, you might be thinking. And I know what you mean. That girl who started ballet when she was three, that girl who’s so flexible she could easily be a contortionist, who has always been at the top of her class, and always will be. That girl who walks into an audition with confidence, undaunted. The sort of girl who writes an essay about being the lead in a production just because she can. But no. Actually, I’m not that girl, and I don’t think I ever will be.

In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite.

When I was nine, a late starting age for a dancer, I began ballet at a small studio called Still Pointe. At first, I attended classes once a week, and my mom would make up all sorts of fun games to make the hated task of pulling on my tights more enjoyable. Sometimes the tights would get a minute or so in the dryer in order to warm them up, and other times my mother would hold them out and I would jump into them, a game that was abruptly ended as soon as we ripped a pair of brand-new $18 tights.

I hated tights.

But I loved ballet. I fell especially hard for it roughly three years ago. However, my twin sister, who had always danced alongside me, decided to quit. I was astonished. Quit? How can anyone put the words “ballet” and “quit” into the same sentence? I wondered. As my sister said goodbye to ballet forever, my passion for dance increased and continues to grow.

I love it all—the comforting rond de jambes that create semi-circles on the gray marley that lines the studio floors. I adore adagios, during which your body is always moving, growing, reaching. I love the buzz of a recital, with its makeup, costumes and live audiences. I like the feeling of a good clean arabesque, when suddenly I find myself balancing on the edge of a wispy cloud overlooking a sky splashed with the pastels of a sunrise. I hold deep respect for the piano music that dance cannot exist without. All of these things, and many more, play a part in my passion for ballet.

This love overshadows the fact that I’m an introvert, I’m not very flexible by dance standards, I’m unusually tall for a dancer, and I started late. If I’d ever tried to enter a fancy dance school in Russia, they would’ve taken a split-second glance at me and my non-ballet-built body and wave me away. Nyet! My showing up probably would’ve made for a great laugh over their lunch break, as a matter of fact.

However, I’m very blessed. I’m blessed to be acquainted with Jesus Christ, who teaches me that what he has given me is enough for his plan for my life. I’m blessed to live in America, where dance is slightly less rigorous and demanding of perfect genes than it is in Europe. I’m blessed to live a mere 20 minutes away from Still Pointe, a place where anyone who wishes to dance is accepted and loved, a place where I see my closest friends five days a week, a place where we often start class in prayer, and a place that, in less than two years, I’ll be completely heartbroken to leave behind when I depart for college.

I was also blessed to be cast with the part of Snow White. After I auditioned for the ballet, my family went on a trip to Kentucky to attend my uncle’s wedding. The day the cast list was supposed to come out was the date of the rehearsal dinner. We were all seated around beautiful white tables adorned with a motley of flowers, and served with excellent food, food I could barely manage to swallow because I was so tense for that cast list to arrive in my email inbox. I kept checking my phone under the table (quite rudely) until I finally saw the loading bar of a new email. I excused myself from the table, and frantically stumbled down a hall until I found an appropriate venue to receive the news, where no one could see my reaction: the bathroom. I clicked on the email with trembling fingers, and when I read my name next to the part of Snow White, a few tears of joy slipped down my cheeks. Somehow I ended up sitting crisscross-apple-sauce on the tiled floor, rocking side to side in disbelief, chin tilted upward as I thanked the Giver of all gifts for the part. I went back to the table, a big teary, snotty mess, and quietly told my parents the news.

So, after months of rehearsals, preparations and prayers, I finally slipped into a beautiful costume and donned a bright red bow. Somehow, despite my nervousness backstage, I was able to dance fully and joyfully once I stepped onstage. With God’s hand guiding me, the worries seemed to melt away.

Time slowed down, and I became Snow.

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it's off to auditions we go!!!! 

Still Pointe is ready to get going on preparations for our winter concert, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Our winter concert is an optional performance opportunity in which our dancers of all ages come together to perform a story ballet. 

Auditions will be held Saturday, September 15th. Any student who auditions will be cast in the production. 

Families new to participating in our winter concert should attend an informational meeting on Saturday, September 8th from 12pm-1pm. 

We can't wait to see all of your best happy, grumpy, sleepy, sneezy, and shy personalities shine through at auditions! 

Breaking Pointe

From the time they are itty bitty, dancers dream of going on pointe. Those magical shoes that lift the dancer above the floor and give them the ethereal quality of floating. 

When will it be my turn? My friend already has pointe shoes! It's all I've been dreaming of. It's all my daughter ever talks about! (It's even hard for the moms to wait!) I'm at the breaking point! I don't want to wait any longer! 

The longing is a time-honored rite of passage for most dancers. But we don't make you wait just for the sake of waiting. At Still Pointe, we are very careful not to begin dancers on pointe before they are ready. Students don't magically earn the right by turning 12. Pointe shoes aren't like tap shoes. Pointe class isn't new or separate from technique; it is an extension of a student's technique. It is integrated into a student's regular classes when they become ready.

So what does it take to be ready? Responsible ballet schools are looking at a variety of factors. Number of years of proper training and the mastery of fundamental technical elements, strength, age and bone development, foot/ankle anatomy, and future plans all play a role in determining pointe readiness. Improperly rushing any of these elements can negatively affect not only a student's technique going forward, but can also impact self-confidence and enjoyment of dance as well as risk short term injuries and long term anatomical consequences for the future adult's feet, knees, and lower back. 

So we urge you to wait, sweet student. Trust your teachers' assessment and believe that she has your best interest at heart. Ballet is a practice of building. Building technique, building muscles, building patience. Because once you are ready? That's when you will float above the ground. 

 

Cinderella moment. 

Cinderella moment. 

Mrs. Rogers takes each Still Pointe student for their very first pointe shoe fitting. 

Mrs. Rogers takes each Still Pointe student for their very first pointe shoe fitting.