Photography by Will Brenner.

Alum James Cunningham Choreographs New Work in Classics with a Twist at CCM

Alumnus James Cunningham (BFA Ballet Performance, 2010) returns to CCM to choreograph the world premiere of La Nymphe Brisée, one of the four short dance pieces that make up CCM’s final Mainstage performance of 2016, Classics with a Twist. The dance performance opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 and continues through Sunday, Dec. 4 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

James Cunningham with Youngwon French and Bradley Harris.

James Cunningham with Youngwon French and Bradley Harris.

Cunningham, a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet, says La Nymphe Brisée loosely revolves around how people can become entangled with negative influences. The score was written by two composers — Youngwon French, who works as a pianist with the Cincinnati Ballet, and CCM composition graduate student Bradley Harris.

“Youngwon came to me one day last winter with this piece of music that she wrote late one night,” recalls Cunningham. “Immediately when I heard it, I was drawn to its haunting sorrow and simplicity.”

Cunningham says they originally didn’t have an outlet to make the work come to life but then he was approached by Jiang Qi, CCM Dance Department Chair, about guest choreographing for Classics with a Twist.

“I figured it would be the perfect chance to use this beautiful piece of music,” Cunningham says. “With a high energy beginning, a beautiful middle and a lyrical and peaceful ending, I set out to make a dance.”

Youngwon French’s piece became the central movement of the three-part work. Bradley Harris wrote two pieces to serve as bookends, the first upbeat and the second lyrical and serene. It’s certainly unusual for music of any kind to have multiple composers, but the collaborative experience of pairing fresh choreography with original music is also new to Cunningham.

“With this new composition I had the chance for the first time to be able to discuss directly with the composer and make adjustments. While respecting each other’s creativity, of course. I believe this makes the collaborative final product a much richer piece of art.”

Many CCM alumni visit the college as guest artists to coach students who share the same goals, dreams and worries that they once held, and perhaps still do. It can be a nostalgic and inspiring experience for the alumni but it also connects students with like-minded professionals as they pursue their careers.

“It brings back a lot of memories for sure,” Cunningham says. I think similar shared experiences with professors and classes has helped me to bond and break the ice with this new generation of students. The whole feeling is kind of full circle to me. It’s about giving back and touching the future. All art is cyclical and passed on, dance is no exception.”

Not only did Cunningham learn the art of ballet as a student at CCM, but he also honed a number of new skills that have made him a better dancer and choreographer.

Because of his time at CCM, Cunningham can confidently apply “out-of-the-ordinary” stage make-up and discuss stage lighting with lighting designers. He adds that courses in anatomy and injury prevention have done “wonders to save [his] career, too.”

“CCM gives you more than just how to smile under the spotlight onstage,” Cunningham says. “It provides a full range of knowledge of the performing world around you.”

Cunningham is now in a position to share all of that knowledge, both experiential and academic, with current CCM students as they work to create an entirely new piece of art.

To see La Nymphe Brisée, make plans to attend Classics with a Twist, which runs from Dec. 1 through Dec. 4 at CCM.

The performance also includes Schubert’s Winterreise choreographed by Jiang Qi, Alexander Glazunov’s Scènes de ballet choreographed by Michael Tevlin and Warm Hearts and Hot Feet, a collage of iconic works from the ’40s and ’50s, choreographed by André Megerdichian.

Visit the CCM Box Office website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Classics with a Twist are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Student Salutes
CCM Spring Dance Concert

CCM’s Mainstage Series Continues with Classics With A Twist

The Department of Dance at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music presents a selection of traditional works with new choreography in Classics with a Twist, running Dec. 1-4 in Patricia Corbett Theater. This Mainstage Series dance performance also features the world premiere of La nymphe brisée, choreographed by CCM alumnus James Cunningham of the Cincinnati Ballet.

Tickets for Classics with a Twist are available through the CCM Box Office.

Tickets for Classics with a Twist are available through the CCM Box Office.

The program begins with Schubert’s Winterreise, originally a song cycle that tells the story of a love-struck man whose journey leads him deep into a formidable winter world. With original choreography by CCM Dance Department Chair and Professor Jiang Qi, Winterreise features students dancing to an intimate piano-cello arrangement of this romantic classic.

Up next is the world premiere of La nymphe brisée, composed by Youngwon French and CCM composition student Bradley Harris. Cincinnati Ballet soloist James Cunningham (BFA Ballet Performance, 2010) returns to choreograph the new ballet, which features energy, beauty and lyricism.

Alexander Glazunov’s Scènes de ballet follows with original choreography by Michael Tevlin, associate professor of dance. Using Glazunov’s music for inspiration, Tevlin traces the history of ballet through a series of dance vignettes each reminiscent of the styles of great ballet masters such as Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Michel Fokine and Frederick Ashton.

For the grand finale, Assistant Professor André Megerdichian choreographs a collage of iconic works from the ‘40s and ‘50s in Warm Hearts and Hot Feet. The piece features old favorites such as Harry Belefonte’s rendition of Banana Boat Song (Day-O) and Ben. E. King’s Stand By Me, among others.

Classics with a Twist
is a collection of diverse works that showcase the versatility of the students and faculty in CCM’s Department of Dance. Tickets are available for purchase through the CCM Box Office.

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Classics with a Twist are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Charlotte Kies

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
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Exploring Magic and Mystery in the Music of ‘Cendrillon’ with Mark Gibson

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music continues its Mainstage Series with Jules Massenet’s classic fairytale opera, Cendrillon (Cinderella) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 in Corbett Auditorium.

Directed by Robin Guarino, the J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair in Opera, this charming story takes place on the set of a movie where more than just Hollywood magic is in play. In addition to the familiar love story and characters of the original fairytale, CCM’s production includes an added dream sequence, which blurs the lines between dreams and reality.

'Cendrillon' preview photography by Adam Zeek.

‘Cendrillon’ preview photography by Adam Zeek.

Jules Massenet’s enchanting musical score shines under the direction of Mark Gibson, Director of Orchestral Studies at CCM. Graduate student Charlotte Kies had the pleasure of speaking with Professor Gibson about the spellbinding music that brings this opera to life.

Have you conducted Massenet’s Cendrillon before? How is it different from the classic fairytale?
No, this is my first Cendrillon. I’m so excited! The basic shape of the Cinderella story remains the same in Massenet’s opera, but what sets it apart is the exquisitely beautiful music shared by Cendrillon and Prince Charming, as well as the duets between Cendrillon and Pandolfe, her father.

Have you made any changes to Massenet’s original music that the audience might like to know about?
In order to accommodate the concept of the production as envisioned by the director, Robin Guarino, we have made appropriate cuts to move the action forward, but the music is all Massenet and all quite lovely.

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“Cendrillon” preview photography by Adam Zeek.

This opera features a handful of offstage musicians. How is their role different from that of the pit orchestra?
Massenet wrote some magical effects for instrumental ensembles performed outside the pit at several moments in the opera. In Act Two, there is a delightful trio of flute, viola and harp that represents an onstage divertissement during the ball. In Act Three, harp, celesta and organ join an offstage chorus to create a splendid effect in support of the fairy godmother’s supernatural presence. Trumpets and drums introduce the final scene of Act Four with a brilliant D-major fanfare when Cendrillon and the Prince are reunited.

Robin Guarino named Cendrillon as one of your personal favorite operas. What are some of the reasons that you love this particular opera?
The music is so wonderful! Stylistically, it moves between neoclassical and rococo forms and lush romantic duets. The story is charming and vocally gratifying. I just find it irresistible.

What are some of the challenges that the orchestra students face in learning and performing this opera?
As in most romantic operas, the orchestra must be flexible in terms of tempo and rubato in order to accommodate the singers. There is also the matter of French style that demands beauty of sound and delicacy of timbre.

One of your students, Yael Front, will conduct a matinee performance of Cendrillon. What kind of challenges do conducting students face when working on a piece of this magnitude, and what are a few of the things you expect them to learn or take away from this production?
First, as always, there is knowing and understanding the text, the design of the story and its dramatic arc. Second, there is mastering the style and sound of Massenet’s orchestration. Finally, there is the pliancy of gesture needed to shape phrases and accommodate the singer’s vocalism. All in all, quite a series of challenges, and Yael Front, a brilliant young conductor from Israel, has proven more than up to them.

Do you have anything else you’d like our readers to know about the music in this production?
Come, enjoy, laugh, cry, rediscover the wonder of theatre, fall in love again with theatre through the music of Massenet’s Cendrillon.

CCM presents Cendrillon on Thursday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 20 in Corbett Auditorium. Find more information on the production in the program below:

Performance Times
8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17
8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Cendrillon are $31-35 for general admission, $22-25 for non-UC students and $18-21 for UC students with a valid ID. Customizable subscription packages are also available.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Opera Department Sponsor Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal

Opera Production Sponsor: Genevieve Smith
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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

CCM News
'Romeo and Juliet' photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM Announces 2016-17 Mainstage Series of Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre and Opera

CCM is pleased to announce details for its 2016-17 Mainstage Series of acting, dance, musical theatre and opera productions. Between Sept. 29, 2016 and April 15, 2017, CCM’s stars-of-tomorrow and world-class faculty and staff members will present eight diverse masterworks, which span the spectrum of the theatre arts.

Mainstage Hero Image

Click the graphic for more information.

Dubbed “a season of passion, courage and romance,” CCM’s 2016-17 Mainstage Series will bring new interpretations of popular classics in the fall with a retelling William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a revival of the nine-time Tony Award-winning musical A Chorus Line, a flirty and fun-filled production of the fairytale opera Cendrillon and a mixed repertoire dance concert featuring Classics with a Twist.

In the spring, CCM will also present the Mainstage Series debuts of stirring drama Her Naked Skin, powerful musical Mack and Mabel and epic opera Idomeneo, along with the Dance Department’s celebration of Masterworks and Beyond.

Production and ticketing details are listed below. Single tickets go on sale beginning Aug. 29, 2016, but subscribing is the best way to guarantee your seats for these must-see shows! Fully customizable renewal subscriptions are on sale now with priority seating before July 15, 2016. Subscription packages for new subscribers will go on sale July 18, 2016.

Additional Information
Titles and dates are subject to change – rights pending. To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

For a complete calendar of events, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.
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CCM 2016-17 MAINSTAGE SERIES
Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre, Opera

ROMEO AND JULIET
Written by William Shakespeare
Brant Russell, director

“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” William Shakespeare’s legendary tale of young love and bitter hatred returns to the CCM stage like you’ve never seen it before. Witness the deadly feud between the Montagues and Capulets in this subversive retelling of the Bard’s iconic story. It’s a comedy ­— until it’s not.

Performance Dates: Sept. 28 (preview), Sept. 29–Oct. 2, 2016
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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A CHORUS LINE
Conceived and originally directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Diane Lala, director and choreographer
Roger Grodsky, musical director

A nine-time Tony Award-winner, and one of the longest-running productions in Broadway history, A Chorus Line tells a strikingly honest tale about the backstage world of musical theatre as 17 dancers vie to make the final cut for the latest smash hit. As the auditions proceed, the diverse backgrounds and motivations of the hopefuls come to the fore, revealing stories that run the gamut of human experience and emotion as they all compete with and learn about one another. It is a process that will change them all forever… for better or worse. A Pulitzer Prize-winning fusion of dance, song and drama, A Chorus Line is a powerful metaphor for all human aspiration.

Performance Dates: Oct. 20–30, 2016
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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CENDRILLON (CINDERELLA)
Composed by Jules Massenet
Libretto by Henri Caïn
Mark Gibson, conductor
Robin Guarino, director

One of the world’s most beloved fairy tales comes to the CCM stage in a new modernist production! Despite being under the thumb of her evil stepmother, a poor girl wishes for her dream to come true. Enter her fairy godmother, who provides a ticket to the ball! The poor girl meets Prince Charming and they fall in love. When the clock strikes 12, though, she vanishes… leaving only a single shoe behind. Jules Massenet’s elegant score brings wit and charm to this timeless romance based on Charles Perrault’s telling of the Cinderella fairy tale. This production is sung in French with English supertitles.

Performance Dates: Nov. 17 – 20, 2016
Location: Corbett Auditorium
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CLASSICS WITH A TWIST
CCM Ballet Ensemble
Jiang Qi and Andre Megerdichian, co-directors

CCM’s Department of Dance opens its performance season with a concert of mixed repertoire featuring alumnus James Cunningham of the Cincinnati Ballet, who will choreograph a new work La Nymph with music by Youngwon French. Highlights also include a performance of Schubert’s Winterreise with choreography by Dance Department Chair Jiang Qi and accompaniment by CCM students Yijia Fang, cello and Xinyuan Li, piano. In addition, the graceful performers from CCM Dance will mount a staging of Glazunov’s Scénes de Ballet with choreography by Associate Professor Michael Tevlin, and Assistant Professor Andre Megerdichian will choreograph a collage of dance scenes spanning diverse genres.

Performance Dates: Dec. 1–4, 2016
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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HER NAKED SKIN
Written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Richard Hess, director

London 1913. Women are demanding the right to vote. Thousands of suffragettes of all classes serve time in Holloway Prison in their determination to gain equality through the vote. Their willingness to suffer for social injustice serves as the backdrop for an unlikely love story set in a period of turmoil. Described by the Independent as “a great drama about women, by a woman,” Her Naked Skin premiered to great acclaim at London’s National Theatre in 2008. By exploring the hunger for political and personal emancipation, this play plants a defiant feminist flag center stage. This production contains adult themes and is not recommend for young audiences.

Performance Dates: Feb. 8 (preview), Feb. 9–12, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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MACK AND MABEL
Based on an idea by Leonard Spigelglass
Book by Michael Stewart
Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman
Aubrey Berg, director
William Evan Roider, musical director
Patti James, choreographer

Set against the madcap world of Keystone Kops, Bathing Beauties and pies-in-the-face, the tumultuous relationship between workaholic film director Mack Sennett and his silent-screen star Mabel Normand was the stuff of Hollywood legend. With a memorable score by Broadway master Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage aux Folles) Mack and Mabel is a star-crossed, bittersweet love story that explores both the lighter and the darker side of the Golden Age of Comedy. Nominated for eight Tony Awards, Mack and Mabel was praised by the New York Times as “a musical in the old and true tradition.”

Performance Dates: March 2–5, 2017
Location: Corbett Auditorium
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IDOMENEO
Composed by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco (after Antoine Danchet)
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Marcus Shields, director

Set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, Mozart’s opera seria weaves a tale of gods and monsters, unrequited love and selfless heroism. During his perilous journey back to Greece after years at war, King Idomeneo pledges to sacrifice the first mortal he finds to Neptune in exchange for a safe journey home. When that mortal turns out to be his son Idamante, Idomeneo struggles to find another way to appease the gods, which creates dire repercussions for the people of Crete. Completed in 1780 when the composer was only 24 years old, Idomeneo is widely considered the first of Mozart’s great operas and remains a favorite of opera houses around the world. This production is sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Performance Dates: March 30–April 2, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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MASTERWORKS AND BEYOND
Jiang Qi and Deirdre Carberry, co-directors

Celebrate spring’s arrival with the CCM Ballet Ensemble as they present an exciting mixed bill. Highlights of the program include George Balanchine’s masterwork Valse-Fantaisie with a restaging by guest artist Viki Psihoyos. This concert also includes a world premiere created by Alabama Ballet associate artistic director Roger Van Fleteren, along with new works by CCM faculty members Michael Tevlin and Andre Megerdichian. Valse-Fantaisie is performed by permission of George Balanchine Trust.

Performance Dates: April 13–15, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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Mainstage Series Subscriptions
The 2016-17 CCM Mainstage Series of acting, dance, musical theatre and opera productions includes subscription packages for six-or-more show, four-show and three-show combinations.

Renewal subscription packages are on sale now. CCM’s fully customizable subscription packages range in price from $69 – $188. Subscribers to CCM’s 2015-16 Mainstage Series can receive priority access to seating by renewing their subscriptions by Friday, July 15, 2016.

New subscriptions go on sale July 18, 2016. Single tickets will be available for purchase beginning Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

Concert Series Options
As the largest single source of performing arts events in Ohio, CCM also offers world-class chamber music, choral, jazz, orchestra, percussion, piano and wind ensemble concerts each season. CCM’s Mainstage subscribers receive priority access to Ariel Quartet subscription packages, CCM Concert Series flex ticket packages, prepaid parking and other exclusive perks.

Full programming and package details for CCM’s 2016-17 Ariel Quartet Series and Concert Series will be announced in July. Visit ccm.uc.edu for more information.
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A preeminent institution for the performing and media arts, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the state of Ohio.

Titles and dates are subject to change. For a complete calendar of events, please visit us online at http://ccm.uc.edu.

CCM News
Rehearsals for CCM's April 2016 production of SWAN LAKE.

Building a Ballet: E-Media students give inside look at CCM’s ‘Swan Lake’

CCM Electronic Media and UC journalism students take us behind-the-scenes with a look at the rehearsals for next week’s production of Swan Lake. The video series chronicles all of the work and dedication students, faculty and staff put into the lavish new production of Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet.

Students within the News Writing and Reporting class, taught by Assistant Professor of E-Media Hagit Limor and Journalism Professor Bob Jonason, created the videos, which star faculty and students within CCM’s Dance Department.

In the video above, Dance Department chair and Swan Lake co-director Jiang Qi discusses the work that goes into presenting such an iconic ballet. He explains:

Swan Lake is one of the top classical ballets in the repertoire. It’s almost textbook. You learn Swan Lake and then you get much stronger. This is an art form that requires a lot of physical and mental endurance to get through.”

The videos and photos, created by students Brevin Couch, Mark D’Andrea, Tyler Dunn, Daniel Honerkamp, Ailish Masterston and Andrew Wilkins, can be viewed on the Building a Ballet website. Visit the website to view interviews with dance students Madison Holschuh (Odette), Sam Jones (Prince Siegfried), and Kiahna Saneshige (Odile). The package was recently featured in Cincinnati Magazine.

Swan Lake is only the second story ballet ever presented as part of CCM’s Mainstage Series. The production runs April 22 – 24 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium.

Co-directed by Jiang and Professor Deirdre Carberry, the production features students from CCM’s BFA Ballet program, which Dance Magazine has hailed as one of the country’s “top programs to consider.”

The lavishly staged spectacle features accompaniment by CCM’s lauded Concert Orchestra under the direction of Professor Aik Khai Pung.

This production marks the first time in CCM’s nearly 150-year history that a dance production has featured brand new costumes designed and built in-house. You can learn more about the work that went into costuming Swan Lake here.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 22
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 23
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Swan Lake are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/swan-lake.

Parking and Directions

Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Production Sponsors: Rosemary & Mark Schlachter, Teri Jory & Seth Geiger and Graeter’s

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Story by Curt Whitacre

CCM News CCM Video Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
Dean Mogle holds the white and black swan design sketches for CCM's production of Swan Lake.

From Sketch to Stage: The Making of CCM’s ‘Swan Lake’ Costumes

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There is a shortage of tutu makers in the world, said CCM Professor and Head of the Costume Design and Technology Program Dean Mogle, who faced the daunting task of designing costumes for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet.

CCM is working to fix that shortage by training the next generation of costume designers and technicians, whose work will debut on stage in the conservatory’s first ballet production to have costumes designed and built in-house.

A timeless tale of love, magic and mystery, Swan Lake will grace the Corbett Auditorium stage from April 22-24, marking the second time in CCM’s nearly 150-year history that a full-length story ballet has been included in the Mainstage Series.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Staff and students within the Costume Design and Technology program have worked on the ‘Swan Lake’ costumes for the past 18 months.

Presented by CCM’s Department of Dance, the ballet uses three different casts and the principal roles are all double cast ­— which is challenging for the costume shop students and staff responsible for ensuring the pieces fit each dancer correctly.

“You have to understand what dancers go through—what they need,” Mogle said. “Balance becomes really important.”

Costume designers and technicians must consider the weight of the fabrics and headpieces so the dancer can retain their natural balance. There is also limited “real estate” on the costume for artistic expression or characterization, Mogle said. If a female dancer needs to be lifted, safety dictates the fabric around her waist can’t be too slick and can’t get caught on anything.

“The ballet world is a totally different beast.”

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Newly designed costumes for the Hungarian Czardas in Act III of ‘Swan Lake,’ made by costume students and staff. To the far right is Prince Siegfried’s jacket, made by Jessica Barksdale.

Mogle, with a team of students and faculty within the Costume Design and Technology program, has worked on the Swan Lake costumes for the past 18 months. They’ve borrowed and modified some costumes from a previous CCM performance of Brigadoon and the Broadway production of Cyrano, The Musical. Costumes for the principal and specialty roles in the ballet are newly designed and made.

Iconic white tutus, bodices, vibrant dresses and rich fabrics have taken over their workshop. The costumes are designed in the traditional style typically associated with the classic ballet. CCM plans to reuse and rent out some of them after the performance.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Jessica Barksdale is building Mogle’s design for Prince Siegfried’s costume, which will be worn in Acts III and IV.

Mogle, who previously designed costumes for the Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker, watched five or six different productions of Swan Lake to prepare for his costume designs. The pieces are still evolving on a daily basis, he said.

“Since we are making the production to last about 30 or 40 years, we don’t ever want to get too wild and crazy with the concept because it is pretty traditional,” Mogle said. “The things that really change in a traditional ballet like this are going to be the specialty characters.”

Those include the newly designed and made pieces that will be worn at the ball in Act III, where the Queen invites potential wives from Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Naples and Poland to match with her son, Prince Siegfried.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

A sketch and sleeve of Von Rothbart’s Act III costume, made by Erin Winslow.

At the ball, Prince Siegfried will wear a newly designed black and gold jacket made by Jessica Barksdale, first-year costume technology graduate student. Rothbart, the evil sorcerer who cursed the prince’s love Odette, will wear an intricately detailed costume made by senior costume technology student, Erin Winslow, as part of her capstone project.

Barskdale and Winslow are also making the iconic white and black swan costumes for leading female characters Odette and Odile. Associate Professor of Costume Technology Regina Truhart is managing all costume production for the ballet.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

The in-progress white and black swan costumes for characters Odette and Odile are being made by Jessica Barksdale and Erin Winslow, respectively.

After 27 years at CCM, Mogle is familiar with the 30,000 costume pieces the conservatory has in stock. Luckily, the costume department was able to pull pieces from past performances of Brigadoon and Cyrano to modify them for courtier and peasant costumes in Swan Lake.

The costume department dyed some of the costumes in bright jewel tones and added details such as sashes, sleeves, aprons and hats. Net petticoats were used to make the costumes lighter and easier to dance in.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Costumes from the CCM production of ‘Brigadoon’ are being modified for the female peasants in Act I of ‘Swan Lake.’

“Every time we do [Swan Lake], we’ll add more to it and rely less on our costume stock,” Mogle said, adding that when the ballet is performed again in 6 years they will likely build new peasant costumes.

“That’s how some companies do it anyway. They’ll use tutus from many kinds of shows. Pulling together a show like this from all of these different places is a great exercise.”

Acquiring materials is one hurdle but then, of course, the costumes must actually fit.

It helps that musical theatre bodies and dancer bodies are similar in stature, Mogle said. It would cost around $5,000 to reproduce one of the Cyrano costumes today.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Costume technicians included three clasp sizes on the ‘Swan Lake’ bodices so they can be adjusted for different dancers.

With three different casts, and double-cast principals, it was important to make the costumes interchangeable for different dancers. The technicians included three clasp sizes for the bodices to make them more adjustable and, in some cases, built extra costumes.

The process and pieces are evolving daily, with more adjustments expected after fittings and the dress rehearsals. A beautiful design can look perfect on a mannequin but flawed when put on a body that needs to breathe, dance and kick. That is why it’s important for the costuming students to learn each step in the creative process, said Mogle.

 “The whole focus of our program is teaching design and technology so designers know how to make stuff and makers know how to design stuff. So they all have the same sensibility as to how things should look and how they should be handled. If the knowledge base in those two roles isn’t strong then things fall apart.”

After the designs are sketched, the appropriate fabrics need to be found, Mogle said of the costuming process. Then there’s making the patterns and cutting them out of the cloth and stitching them together. There’s also fabric painting and dying and mask and jewelry making.

“Each one of those is a profession in itself,” Mogle said. “The more skills you have as a technician and the more kinds of plays and operas and ballets that you can design as a designer, your job market opens up. It’s a good part of training and real life experience.”

Co-directed by Dance Department Chair Jiang Qi and Associate Professor of Dance Deirdre Carberry, the Mainstage Series production features students from CCM’s BFA Ballet program. The lavishly staged spectacle features accompaniment by CCM’s lauded Concert Orchestra under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Aik Khai Pung.

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Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake runs April. 22 – 24 in Corbett Auditorium. Tickets are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/swan-lake.

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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Production Sponsors: Rosemary & Mark Schlachter, Teri Jory & Seth Geiger and Graeter’s
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Story by Rebecca Butts

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CCM’s production of Leoš Janáček’s 'The Cunning Little Vixen.’ Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM Slideshows: Leoš Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’

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Come see Leoš Janáček’s fantastical opera The Cunning Little Vixen, which opens tonight (Friday) at 8 p.m. and runs through Sunday as part of this year’s Mainstage Series.

Directed by Vince DeGeorge, this anthropomorphic opera explores the intimate relationship between man and nature. This production will be conducted by Mark Gibson and sung in English, with a new translation by CCM Professor Emeritus David Adams.

Learn more about the performance or view the cast list.

Leoš Janácek’s
THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN
An Opera in Three Acts
Critical revised version by Jiri Zahrádka
Used by arrangement with European American Music Distributors Company, U.S. and Canadian agent for Universal Edition Vienna, publisher and copyright owner.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 8
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to The Cunning Little Vixen are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 for UC students with a valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/cunning-little-vixen.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Opera Department Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal

Opera Production Sponsor: Genevieve Smith

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