‘An Evening of Ballet’ opens tonight at Bondurant Auditorium

An Evening of Ballet will feature student dancers with professional guest performers LeeAnn Elder and Kristopher Wojtera (center).

"An Evening of Ballet" will feature student dancers with professional guest performers LeeAnn Elder and Kristopher Wojtera (center).

Students in Radford University’s Department of Dance are gearing up to present “An Evening of Ballet” for three nights starting at 7:30 p.m. November 14 through 16, 2019. The program will last just under an hour and will feature four dance pieces, three of which are from larger works plus an original piece choreographed by Professor Inessa Plekhanova, Director of Ballet in the Department of Dance.

Plekhanova, who oversees the event, says that “An Evening of Ballet” rotates out every other fall semester with “The Nutcracker.” She says that running “The Nutcracker” each year would become redundant for the students in the program, so by changing the show every other year students get more variety and opportunities to explore new forms of dance. “An Evening of Ballet is a great chance for people to see different pieces from different ballets,” says Plekhanova. “Of course, in keeping with the holiday spirit, one of the four pieces we’ll show is an excerpt from The Nutcracker.”

Students are excited to be able to put on the program. Senior Reagan Mihailoff will reprise her role as Claire for the piece from “The Nutcracker.” She says that preparing for the event was a rigorous schedule, but she is always excited to perform as Claire. “The Nutcracker is my life,” she laughs. “But I really appreciate that Professor Plekhanova rotates the shows out each year. It gives us a chance to do different things. I can revise how Claire is portrayed and not just go through the same moves year after year,” says Mihailoff.

Student dancers pose for a scene from The Nutcracker

Senior dance major Sebrena Williamson is also eager to perform, though she says the schedule has been tough. Students began rehearsing for the show the day after Fall Dance Fest concluded, and they have rehearsed for nearly three hours each day for just under two weeks to prepare for the program. Williamson says that, while the schedule is taxing, it is a fun experience and she enjoys the people she gets to work with on stage. “Everybody is really supportive. We laugh together. We cry together. It’s just wonderful being able to be part of this,” says Williamson.

“An Evening of Ballet” will also feature guest performers LeeAnn Elder and Kristopher Wojtera. Elder is a Radford University alumna who graduated in 2014 as a double major, completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Department of Dance as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Wojtera studied ballet in his home country of Poland before moving to the United States. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from Hollins University.

Plekhanova says that she is proud of the work the students have done to prepare for this program and is eager to show audiences a variety of ballet styles. “We’re nervous, but it’s a good nervous,” she says. “The students have worked very hard to make this a great program, and we’re ready to showcase a variety of ballet styles for the audience.”

“An Evening of Ballet” runs November 14, 15 and 16, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall. Tickets are on sale at www.radfordactivities.com.

Nov 14, 2019
Jason S. Hutchens, Ed.D.