Mitzi Heath, Co-Artistic Director of the Lafayette Ballet Theatre, provides a delightful take on why she has the most wonderful job in the world. On this episode of Discover Lafayette, Mitzi speaks about the theater and its conservatory, as well as upcoming tryouts for the 2018 annual Nutcracker Ballet performance to be held December 8-9, 2018 at the Heymann Center.
Lafayette Ballet Theatre (LBT) was founded in 1982, filling the need for a classical ballet company in our community. Its official school, Dance Conservatory, was established the previous year and supplies 90 percent of the company’s dancers.
Lafayette Ballet Theater is run by sisters Shannon and Mitzi Heath, both of whom were professional dancers. Their mother, Patty Heath, designs and creates the costumes: with tutus running up to $5,000 each, any talented young dancer has access to the appropriate costume no matter their financial situation. Committed to their craft, the Heaths pour their hearts, souls, and talents into LBT in order to sustain opportunities for classical ballet training and performances in our area. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, funding for LBT is generated through community financial support, grants, and tuition from the Dance Conservatory.
If you’ve never seen a live performance of the Nutcracker Ballet, please add this to your bucket list of life’s beautiful experiences. Guest artists from the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the entire dance community present this classical ballet in two acts, based on the story of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s “Nutcracker and the King of Mice” with original music of Peter Tchaikovsky. More than just dance, the Nutcracker is a tradition for many families who view this as the start of the holiday season.
Mitzi explained that with over 150 young dancers needed for this year’s Nutcracker Ballet, they are reaching out to invite all area dancers who are at least 8 years old, have completed one full year of ballet study, and be currently enrolled in an established dance program.
Auditions take place Sept. 8-9 for two performances of the full-length classical ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Sept. 8 auditions are for advanced to professional dancers, ages 15 through adult. Sept. 9 auditions are for dancers ages 8 through 14. Auditions are scheduled to take place at Lafayette Ballet Theatre, 201 Petroleum Drive, Lafayette LA. The cost is $35 to audition, and performers selected will incur a $300 charge which covers their costumes and all related expenses for the performance.
Through the support of the community, LBT has sustained its place as Acadiana’s professional ballet company, offering 28-week contracted positions to local artists, and a long-term student scholarship program.
LBT currently maintains an extensive complimentary ticket program, providing underprivileged children and adults, A Night at the Ballet, as well as supporting all of its educational programs that reach over 2500 children annually in schools and at the theater.
LBT students have gained acceptance into the School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet and many more. Mitzi shared that the ideal age for an aspiring ballet dancer is age 8, and training takes about 12 years for a serious student. Similar to a ball player, ballet is an athletic endeavor and not for the undisciplined!
For more information, visit http://lafayetteballettheatre.org
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