Behind-The-Scenes at Ballet Fantastique

My journey of ballet discovery began at a moderately-sized studio tucked behind the Downtown Athletic Club. I knew this was exactly where I needed to be, not because co-director Hannah Bontrager told me the address, but because a Zorro poster adorned every window pane.

I walked in cautiously; I mean, this was my first time ever walking into a professional ballet studio. I was directed upstairs to meet Hannah in person.

Below is a synopsis of my short trip to the studio, in photos and captions:

The opening night of Zorro is in t-minus seven days, so I wasn't too surprised to find Hannah busy on the phone working with the printer company to finalize the programs for the show. She then immediately sent emails to follow up with the conversation.

The opening night of Zorro is in t-minus seven days, so I wasn’t too surprised to find Hannah busy on the phone working with the printer company to finalize the programs for the show. She then immediately sent emails to follow up with the conversation.

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I coincidentally visited the studio on co-director Donna Bontrager’s birthday. They take some time out of practice to celebrate with some cake. This was a great opportunity to see how family-oriented ballet companies can be.

A costume check and fitting gets thrown in the mix for Fabio Simoes, who will play Zorro. He said that his shoes take at least two minutes to lace - but that's only with help.

A costume check and fitting gets thrown in the mix for Fabio Simoes, who will play Zorro. He said that his shoes take at least two minutes to lace – but that’s only with help.

Finally, practice begins. This winds up being a "cleaning" practice - meaning they only concentrated on perfecting one scene under the watchful eye of Donna.

Finally, practice begins. This winds up being a “cleaning” practice – meaning they only concentrated on perfecting one scene under the watchful eye of Donna.

As practice went on, I could begin to feel the tension in the studio and a sense that I should probably leave soon. That was confirmed when Donna politely asked me to, which I was fine with – I had gotten a good amount of photos and audio for my first day visiting. The tension was merely from trying to perfect the scene they were working on – a scene that will be performed for hundreds in just one week.

Overall I had a fun experience at the studio. It was definitely new for me, and I spent the majority of it trying to get a feel for it and what exactly I wanted/needed to shoot. I’m excited to come back again now that I have a solid idea of what I’m getting myself into. Thank you to Ballet Fantastique for giving me an exclusive look into the inner workings of your company!

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