February 17, 2017
To: Katie Yagle
I was thinking about your suggestion that we go to see a movie when you’re in town, but I have something much more interesting in mind for our outing, that you’re not going to be able to see anywhere else!
When you come to Seattle on the second weekend in March, I want to take you to see the World Premier of the Jungle Book Ballet performed by the talented and exciting dancers with the International Ballet Theatre. The company director, Vera Altunina, and her fellow choreographer, Jerry Tassin, have been working feverishly ever since the New Year to create an entirely new ballet from scratch – bringing it from the drawing board to the stage in just 12 short weeks.
This isn’t the Jungle Book that Americans are familiar with, with music and characters stolen from a popular cartoon movie. No! This is a fresh, exciting, retelling of the Jungle Book, based on the Russian translation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic story.
The music – carefully chosen – pulsing and rhythmic, has been weaving its way through open studio doors, and down hallways to tease the senses and enliven hearts with anticipation of the fantastic dances and amazing choreography that will soon be ready for the stage. Classical Russian ballet technique combined with spirited Jazz and Modern dance will delight and amaze anyone who loves the art of Dance.
The costume designers are so busy! A completely new production means that new costumes both lovely and lively are appearing at rehearsals every day. Sadly, some of the costume ideas just don’t work, and that leads to a hallway brainstorming session to design, on the spot, a new costume that will be easy to dance in, and exciting to the eyes. And the set designers are working secretly “behind the scenes” to create sets that are fantastic, yet simple to move quickly on and off the stage.
Most of the dancers are both nervous and happily delirious with anticipation. Classical ballet is rooted in tradition, and it’s not everyday that a new ballet is born! It’s a chance of a lifetime to be among the first to bring a new production to life! There’s so much to learn and strive to master before opening night!
The International Ballet Theatre Company dancers are rehearsing every day, seven days a week, to bring the most beautiful, artistic, and professional work to the stage… And by Opening Night on March 11th, less than a month away, they will be flawless and heart-stopping!
The primary dancers in the Jungle Book are professional dancers, but happily, there are plenty of supporting roles for The International Ballet Academy’s younger students as monkeys, butterflies, wolves, peacocks, and more! Having children on stage in a ballet brings a playful and dreamlike quality to every scene. Nothing brings the joy of dance to life like a child bright-eyed and joyful to be on stage in an amazing costume.
Won’t you please let me know if I can save a seat for you and your guest? Only two performances are scheduled – Saturday, March 11th at 2pm and Sunday March 12th at 2pm. Of course, you’ll be my guest! I’m eager to share this fresh and exciting new ballet – the Jungle Book – with you!
I’m also planning to take you backstage to get a glimpse of how a ballet is brought to life – from the vision of the Director and the choreographers, the creativity of the costume designers and set developers, to the hidden work of our backstage staff and volunteers, to the presentation of the entire Ballet by exciting and powerful dancers. You’ll have a chance to meet Ms. Vera, Mr. Jerry, and my many friends in the Company.
I’m so looking forward to sharing this with you! Just let me know if you can make it by writing me at my email above. Of course, I’d love to hear from you by phone or text, so feel free to call me if you have time.
All the best,
P.S. Please let me know soon if you can make it, so that I can get some great seats up front for us. Since there are only about 400 seats in the Meydenbauer Theatre, there’s really not a bad seat in the house, but it’s super fun to be up near the front!
P.P.S. Some really cute pre-production photos are popping up on Ms. Vera’s Facebook feed – check out the Tiger costume!
* Note: I was not hired to write this letter, but it is a good sample of the type of writing you can expect from me.