Tulsa Ballet welcomes four TBII dancers to main company for 2012-13 season

Mar 21, 2012 in General News


TULSA, Okla. – March 21, 2012
– Artistic Director Marcello Angelini announces four new additions to the Tulsa Ballet main company from the Tulsa Ballet II (TBII) second company – Jaimi Cullen, Brittney Feit, Chelsea Keefer and Andrew Silks. All four dancers will enter the main company.

“This year, for the first time since its inception, we are seeing the results of our long range artistic plan pertinent to our second company, TBII,” Artistic Director Marcello Angelini said. “When we started this ensemble we envisioned it as a feeder into our main company. We felt that, by providing a bridge for talented young dancers between the academic studies of dance and the professional world, we would prepare them to begin their professional career with companies at the caliber of Tulsa Ballet. With a repertory ranging from the classics to Forsythe, Kylian, Tharp and McGregor, it is almost impossible for young dancers to enter a company like ours without previous experience dancing, or at least learning, the works of the masters. Our plan seems to have worked. Our young dancers were afforded the opportunity to learn our complex repertory and a record number of four achieved a level of proficiency that carved a place in the main company for them.”

For the past year or two years, these young dancers have been working closely alongside of and performing with the professionals in the main company. TBII dancer Chelsea Keefer was discovered at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix. Upon her acceptance into TBII, Keefer was given many opportunities to perform due to her strong technique and talent.

“My favorite part about being a TBII member is how much we have been able to work with the main company and to have been given the chance to be in company performances throughout the year,” Keefer said. “I was very lucky from the beginning of the season to be in the company performances such as Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow and William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. “

In spring 2012, Keefer had the opportunity to understudy the role of Juliet in Edwaard Liang’s world premiere of Romeo and Juliet. She then performed the balcony pas de deux with Tulsa Ballet Principal Alfonso Martin at the inaugural Icons & Idols gala.

“It was such an amazing experience working with Edwaard and it has been my dream to perform as Juliet,” Keefer said. “I loved being able to rehearse with the principals. Being able to see how they became their Juliet was such an amazing thing to watch.”

Andrew Silks was also discovered at the Youth America Grand Prix and has enjoyed the performances opportunities with not only the Tulsa Ballet main company, but also the opportunities performing with TBII.

“I've worked with the company in almost all of their productions,” Silks said. “I love the environment at Tulsa Ballet, very friendly and welcoming and everybody is very helpful. With TBII, it's been great having the opportunity to dance Basilio in the excerpts of Don Quixote that we are performing on TBII’s Oklahoma Spring Tour. Performing Ma Cong's ballet Folia has also been a major highlight. “

How to Audition for Tulsa Ballet II
Dancers who are interested in TBII may audition by class, at the Tulsa Ballet studios, during the Pointe to the Future audition tour, or by video submission. To schedule an audition class in Tulsa, please contact Colleen Lahti via e-mail at colleen.lahti@tulsaballet.org or by phone at (918) 749-6030 ext. 278. Those wanting to audition during the Pointe to the Future tour can find the audition locations, dates, and times on the ballet school tab of the Tulsa Ballet website. All video and DVD’s should be clearly labeled and postmarked no later than April 15st. Please send it to Colleen Lahti/TBII Manager 1212 E 45th Place Tulsa, OK 74105. Make sure to include a headshot and résumé with your video. You must be at least 18 years of age by the beginning of the season to be considered for TBII. For more information please visit www.tulsaballet.org.

About Tulsa Ballet II
Tulsa Ballet II is the official Pre-Professional Ensemble of Tulsa Ballet. TBII was designed to provide a bridge between the student phase of an aspiring classical ballet dancer and the professional career. Through a national audition search, the most talented and committed young men and women have been invited to Tulsa to refine their artistic and technical skills by working with the upper levels of the school and the professional company.