News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Arts: Avery Ballet bids a fond farewell to three of its own
BY FRANCES WOMBLE
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
The Avery Ballet Company will say au revoir to three of its dancers this month. Aaron Anker, Morgan Iannazzo and Michaela King are graduating seniors and will be attending dancing programs throughout the country. Performances are scheduled over the next two weekends to celebrate the accomplishments of the Avery Ballet dancers.
On Saturday, the Friends of Dance at the University of Mary Washington is sponsoring a dance concert called “Ballet and Beyond,” featuring advanced dancers from Avery Ballet as well as invited guest dancers and musicians. The show, lasting about an hour and a half, is a mix of classical and contemporary music and dance and will benefit the Sonja Dragonmanovic Haydar scholarship.
Next weekend, Avery Ballet is hosting its annual in-studio performances. Many of its dancers will participate, but Anker, Iannazzo and King will be highlighted. Proceeds will benefit the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation.
“[These] performances will highlight the end of an era of training at Avery Ballet,” said Lisa Avery, director of the company. “The final performance will undoubtedly be a tearful end to this very exciting two-week run of performances.”
“I’m really excited for the graduating performance the weekend of June 8th,” King said. “We have been working on quite a variety of pieces for this show. We’ll start off with ballet, and then we’ll change costumes and do something more modern. Then, we’ll jump right into another ballet piece. It’s fun to do variety pieces like that, but it can be challenging. You really have to focus and get into a different mindset for each piece.”
King, who has been at Avery for almost nine years, said she thinks the performance will be bittersweet.
“It feels special because it’s like a goodbye piece. [Anker, Iannazzo and I] alternate dancing and we all have 16 or 32 counts to dance alone.”
Anker has studied under Avery since he was 13 years old and has attended summer intensives at The Rock School for Dance Education, Carolina Ballet and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell summer program at the Kennedy Center.
“I think the upcoming performances, both on June 2nd and the weekend of June 8th, promise to be both very exciting and inspiring for the audience,” he said. “There is such a diverse group of dancers at Avery Ballet right now that we have the opportunity to show off individual dancers’ talents in pieces that are choreographed for our specific group of dancers.”
Avery said she is very proud of her dancers’ accomplishments.
“It gives me great pleasure to present these fine students to the community in their final performances in Fredericksburg,” she said. “For every child that walks through the doors at Avery Ballet, we try to nurture, teach, respect and encourage them in their desire to dance. The training is not only in dance, but in life. The job of training these dancers is never taken lightly. Their success is our reward as well!”
This summer, Anker and King will both attend Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell Summer Intensive at the Kennedy Center. Anker will then attend Chautauqua Summer Intensive while King attends the Pittsburgh Ballet Summer Program.
Iannazzo, who has studied at the ballet company for the past four years, said she is very grateful to Avery and her other dance instructors.
“They definitely helped me progress as a dancer and helped me figure out who I am,” she said. “I feel like these four years have been building up to the performance at Mary Washington. It is really exciting.”
In the fall, Anker will attend the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where he will be receiving a dean’s scholarship. Iannazzo will be attending Shenandoah University where she will be receiving an artistic scholarship. King will attend the Graduate Program at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
WANT TO GO?
What: “Ballet and Beyond”
When: Saturday, June 2, 8 p.m.
Where: University of Mary Washington, Dodd Auditorium
Cost: $15 adults, $5 students. Tickets available at Dancer’s Wardrobe, Fredericksburg Visitor Center, at the door and online
What: Avery Ballet Spring Dances
When: June 8, 7 p.m.; June 9, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: Avery Ballet, 810 Caroline St.
Cost: $10 at the door
Info: 540/371-6088; averyballet.com
Frances Womble is a recent graduate at University of Mary Washington and a freelance writer.