moments on stage


Hello, all!  Just wanted to pop in and share some photos from the dress rehearsal of Boundless Plotnikov.  Below is a mixture of shots from Surrender, Orchis, and Sharps & Flats.  Enjoy!

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All photos taken and owned by A. Cemal Ekin©

contemporary clarity

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It was a whirlwind of a weekend.  I danced in 9 ballets (that’s 3 different ballets, 3 times each), constructed a total of 6 buns atop my weary head (taking care to use the same combination of hairpins each time- superstitious much?), kept track of 7 separate costume pieces, and changed my tired feet between 2 different kinds of shoes from flat to pointe (3 if you count the fluffy slippers I accidentally wore to pt- true life: I am tired).  After an extremely energetic 3 days spent celebrating 10 years of the incredible, vivacious Viktor Plotnikov, I’m at a bit of a loss for words.  Fortunately, someone in the audience was feeling verbally inspired where my brain was blocked.  FBP principal dancer, Vilia Putrius, forwarded the following message to the company, written by Jim Turner, one of FBP’s dedicated photographers.

Here I am 70 years old and for the first time in my life I am exposed to dance. Over the past two seasons I have been fortunate as you know Cemal has included me in his photographic passion. As a result I have come to know you, Mindaugas, Ruth, Brenna, Eugenia , Kirsten and others. I watched as you practiced your art, watched your ability to make your body move as if it was the source of music itself. I started this email simply to say congratulations on a magnificent performance by you and all FBP dancers. Yet, congratulations is not sufficient by itself. I want you to know, this dance of yours, ballet, has changed me. Tonight as I watched I cried, not from sadness rather from pure joy of watching the expressions and movements that feasted my eyes. So, Vilia, Mindaugas, et. Al., instead of congratulations, the words that come to mind are simple indeed, ‘thank you.’   -Jim

Jim’s message was a revelation in my haze of exhaustion.  Perception seems to be the theme this month.  When you’re completely wrapped up in something day in and day out, it’s not hard to lose sight of just how affecting it can be on one less immersed in it.  Ballet is one of those art forms that is so much more accessible than it seems.  You don’t have to be a 4-year-old girl in a pink tutu or her mother to find joy in ballet.  You don’t have to be an artist, a classical music aficionado or even a human over the age of 2 (my 17-month-old niece goes crazy for Balanchine’s Nutcracker) to appreciate ballet, and that is one of its least known and most magnificent gifts: it moves us all.  Just ask my engineer father, his landscaping neighbor, or FBP’s hockey-player registrar; They never miss a show.

Jim’s ‘thank you’ inspired me to write a sort of ‘thank you for thanking’ reply.  So here goes…


Thank you for reaching out to the company and sharing your story.  It was beautifully unconcealed and brave, so nakedly sublime.  Your words of appreciation could not have been more rewarding to us.  You know, everything worth having in this world is only made valuable by its potential to be shared with others.  Ballet is a two-way art form.  As dancers, we work to move and inspire our audience, and with your lovely confirmation it seems we have had a successful weekend.

Thank you for proving that it’s never too late to become exposed to ballet.  Thank you for throwing yourself so willingly into the frenzied grasp of our beloved Plotnikov show.  Thank you for engaging yourself in our world, watching our stories through your camera lens and allowing yourself to feel them so wholly.  Thank you for everything you do for this company.  For your photography, your time, your support, and your tears of joy.  They mean more to us than you know.


first, third, fifth and last photos by A. Cemal Ekin, all others by me.

opening night: boundless plotnikov

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This has been the shortest theater week of my life, with tech rehearsals on stage beginning just yesterday.  That being said, it was a nearly 12-hour day spent clarifying spacing, lighting, costumes, and cues.  We moved into the Vets, staged an entire ballet, and ran a full dress rehearsal of the show, all before 10 o’clock.  I did not set foot outside the theater for over 9 hours.  9 hours, people.  We’re talking looooong day.  And today begins early once more, with another dress rehearsal on stage before tonight’s opening.

This is one of the most emotionally polarized shows I’ve ever been a part of.  Surrender expresses the turmoil of  lust, betrayal, deceit, and the ultimate triumph of love.  As choreographer, Viktor Plotnikov, says, it’s all about “surrendering to love” and “just letting things be”.  But as is the case in real relationships, the path to peace is not a smooth one.  The youngest of Plotnikov’s constantly conceiving brainchildren is Sharps and Flats, a comedy whose satirical tone could not be more opposite that of Surrender, making it the perfect foil to such a stark opening.  S&F also explores human relationships, but this time within the (slightly clumsy) structure of an orchestra of “broken musicians” navigating their way through their maniacal conductor’s ascent into musical madness.  The show closes with audience favorite, Orchis, returning from its premiere last season by popular demand.  This gravity-defying ballet leaves its audience speechless, with its dancers creating haunting, curved lines and “round shapes”, inspired by the understated beauty of drying, decaying orchids.  This is probably my favorite ballet to dance of the three, and not only for it’s breathtaking choreography but for my love of it’s inventive, commissioned score by Sonya Belousova, a young compositional genius.

If you are in the area, buy your tickets now.

If you are not in the area, buy some plane/train/bus tickets, then buy your Boundless Plotnikov tickets here.



I apologize for the unexpected quiet around here these days, life has been busier than usual!

I would also like to apologize for the fact that most of this post may not make sense to you.  It’s my inner monologue of studio life lately, and when Plotnikov is around, sometimes you just have to be there.

Ahh, the many emotions of a Viktor ballet.  Excited, determined, bored, happy, jealous, sad, ashamed, embarrassed, frustrated, lonely, afraid, angry, annoyed, shocked, in love, infuriated, disgusted, dead…no attitude goes unexplored.  Rehearsing three of his (all very different) ballets right now feels a bit like a soap opera; One minute I’m gossiping with my girlfriends, playing our arms violins, the next I’m “between the sheets” sleeping with other people’s husbands as they watch anxiously from stage right.  That is all, of course, interrupted by my frequent tendency to morph into an orchid, blooming and dying again and again in a surrealist, silent-movie-chase-scene-warp-speed fashion.  Unconscious bodies, easy hands, round shapes, walrus stomping, human cellos, lycra waterfalls, matrixes and tangos; The directions we are given may not always be what they seem.  In and out of long skirts, pointe shoes, flat shoes, quadruple wrapped tube dresses with a face on either end, wardrobe changes happen on stage, in the wings, and without warning.  A style so discernible, every day I’m awed by the incredibly vast range in tone of these three Viktor works.  Orchis, Surrender, and the yet to be identified New Work have me in a constant emotional evolution.

…and it’s time to hop on the roller coaster for yet another 8 1/2 hour dancing day!  Until next time…



The lively score of Peter Pan has temporarily slipped into hiding and the many sounds of 3 Viktor ballets have emerged in its place as the company prepares for Boundless Plotnikov.  The familiar theme of Orchis stretches its dark circus-like wings back into the studios once again, welcomed with open arms by a company who remembers this gorgeous ballet’s ability to leave an audience speechless.  Eerie robotic buzzing revs up into a heavy theme I can only describe as the soundtrack of my nightmares, setting an appropriately uncomfortable tone for Surrender;  It’s a dramatic piece where dancers stretch large strips of white fabric across the stage and around their bodies, creating a literal representation of the tension that lies at the heart of this ballet.  Also flooding the halls are the full, proud sounds of a classical orchestra, whose musicians and their instruments are all being comedically interpreted by dancers, as seen in the brilliantly strange mind of Mr. Plotnikov.

Above is a photo I snapped of a little experiment called the “human piano”…I told you he was brilliantly strange.  I’m all kinds of sore right now, but can’t wait to keep working on these stunning works tomorrow!  Until next time, xo.