Around Orlando: A Chat with Orlando Ballet’s Executive Director Shane Jewell

On Wednesday, you got to know a little about the Artistic Director of Orlando Ballet, Mr. Robert Hill. Today, please get to know the Executive Director of Orlando Ballet, Shane Jewell. 

Shane_Jewell
Mr. Jewell. Image from the Orlando Ballet website, featuring a smashing bowtie! 

Jen Bradley: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, first of all!

Shane Jewell: My pleasure.

JB: Let’s jump right in. You came to Orlando from Oklahoma City and have a degree in Film Theory. How did you come to be involved with ballet?

SJ: Well I’ve been involved in the arts my entire life and in musical theater, went to college on a musical theater scholarship. Then decided I wanted a more marketable degree so I went for film theory. After college I worked for this one company that presented national touring Broadway shows for tent cities in the Midwest, and I became Executive Director of a Classical Music Festival and then Executive Director of Oklahoma City Ballet. As someone who’s on the business side, going to the ballet I fell in love. It’s one of the few performing arts organizations where your performers and talent is in the studio Monday through Friday, just as I or you are. You take them into the office and go sit in on rehearsals and be close to the art they’ve created. Most times, even with regional theaters with rehearsals or tours or concerts, the artist comes in, they perform and they leave. You don’t get to know them or know their stories, watch them create this beautiful piece. So I really fell in love with being able to observe the process.

Continue reading “Around Orlando: A Chat with Orlando Ballet’s Executive Director Shane Jewell”

Orlando Ballet’s Bevalie Pritchard reveals the secret to the Nutcracker’s success: it takes a village

The Nutcracker Ballet is such an intrinsic part of Christmas that it would be difficult to imagine a world without the music, and without the well-known story performed through dance. The reason why the ballet is so magical is the cast of children who convey all of the new wonder of the season.

Continue reading “Orlando Ballet’s Bevalie Pritchard reveals the secret to the Nutcracker’s success: it takes a village”

Around Orlando – Retrogaming Done Right at Gamer’s, Inc.

They’re warm, they’re friendly, they’re knowledgeable. They can converse easily on a range of titles on any number of systems dating from the last 35 years. Best of all, they listen to you.

Gamersinc_Exterior

Around Orlando is a new feature here at Late to the Theater, wherein Achariya and I detail local Orlando flavor. So whether you’re thinking about visiting, moving here soon, or just want to explore from the comfort of the internet, have a seat and take a gander at what The City Beautiful has to offer!

[Disclaimer: I received no compensation or special favors for writing this article – it is entirely to Gamer’s, Inc.’s credit that they inspire a dedicated following.]

Nestled in the suburban franchise paradise that is Waterford Lakes, Orlando, you will find an independently owned gaming shop. Upon first glance, you’ll notice orderly rows of cases – everything from Atari titles to used Xbox One and PS4s – and freestanding demo stations where you can sample Halo on a first-gen Xbox, or Duck Hunt on NES, complete with orange gun. As well as the clean floors and meticulously alphabetized game boxes, you’ll see gaming manuals, figurines, and locked cases with rare or collectible cartridges and discs inside. Reconditioned systems wait behind the glassed counter. Spend a few minutes roaming the aisles and you’ll hear at least one, maybe two excited customers exclaiming over some long-forgotten childhood treasure. You might see parents buying something to share with their kids.

And then the staff greets you.

That’s how you know you’re in Gamer’s, Inc.

They’re warm, they’re friendly, they’re knowledgeable. They can converse easily on a range of titles on any number of systems dating from the last 35 years. Best of all, they listen to you. Maybe things have gotten better in gamerspaces in recent years and I’m just out of touch, but in an age of Gamergate and doxing, it seems borderline miraculous to find an environment where customers aren’t dismissed as filthy casuals. Naturally, a positive environment such as the one found at Gamer’s, Inc. engenders a loyal following. Check out their Yelp review or their Facebook community if you don’t believe it.

And if you don’t believe it, believe them. They were kind enough to take time from their busy days to answer some questions for this feature.

Continue reading “Around Orlando – Retrogaming Done Right at Gamer’s, Inc.”

Interview: Orlando Ballet Director Robert Hill’s quest to keep the passion going in Carmina Burana

This past week, we were given a second opportunity to interview Orlando Ballet director Robert Hill during a rehearsal for Dies, nox et omnia (Day, night, and everything), one of his dances for the upcoming Carmina Burana.

We sat in the relocated rehearsal space of Orlando Ballet (more about this exciting news below) and looked on as prima ballerina Kate-Lynn Robichaux learned her dance by 21st century means: watching her 2013-era self perform it on a video monitor. “I’m much more chill about this dance today than I was back then,” Robichaux said. “It’s probably because you just got married,” Mr. Hill responded, and Robichaux grinned as she raised her left hand to show off her ring.

Mr. Hill bounced between chatting with us and leaping up to help form the dance in front of us, explaining to the dancers that the theme of this piece was the male dancer’s exploration of his passion — his reaching within to find emotion, reaching back out to share it with the world. Robichaux performs the embodiment of his dream, allowing her body to be contorted and moved and carried in a complex series of lifts as she lives out the melancholy of male dancer’s imagination.

We pulled up the lyrics to this one while we watched, and Mr. Hill chuckled, explaining that some of the lyrics were impossible to interpret literally. But in this one, the male soloist sings themes that are timeless enough to still be top-40 fodder, and the dance seems to interpret the lyrics well: “Your fair face makes me weep a thousand times, but your heart is ice; to restore me, immediately would I return to life with one kiss.”

How to explain this ballet? Mr. Hill debuted it with Orlando Ballet in 2013, in collaboration with Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra conductor John Sinclair. They were looking for an interesting piece that could combine choral, orchestral, and dance elements to make a dynamic impact on audiences, and struck gold when they decided on Carmina Burana. The music, composed by Carl Orff in 1936, has a lot in common sound-wise with Igor Stravinsky, and is based on medieval yet surprisingly relevant poetry.

Continue reading “Interview: Orlando Ballet Director Robert Hill’s quest to keep the passion going in Carmina Burana”

Around Orlando – Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl

Around Orlando is a new feature here at Late to the Theater, wherein Achariya and I will detail local Orlando flavor. So whether you’re thinking about visiting, moving here soon, or just want to explore from the comfort of the internet, have a seat and take a gander! We will be sure to disclose any goods or services we receive. 

Recently I discovered a friend’s fiancée runs an awesome YouTube channel tying together some of my interests – horror, Halloween decor, and living in Orlando!

Say hello to Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl!

Continue reading “Around Orlando – Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl”