There are dance recitals, and then there is the Macomb Ballet Company.
Founded by Ann Parsley in 1983, the MBC is a pre-professional group developed to allow serious ballet students between the ages of 8 and 25 to perform full-length ballets on stage.
“It’s not competitive. It’s just to perform,” said Lori Henderson, president of the MBC board of directors. “It is a big commitment, because you have to show up for all your rehearsals. They expect professional ballet and that is what’s put on.”
Two full-length ballets are performed each year, with performances of The Nutcracker every December, and classical ballets such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia that take the stage in the spring.
Open auditions for the company are held twice a year, with the first of the summer auditions being held this Saturday at the, the company’s home theatre.
A second audition will be held Aug. 31 at the same location.
There is no residency requirement for members, but once a dancer is accepted into the company, there is an annual fee to cover company expenses.
Saturday, Aug. 13
- Ages 13-25: 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Must be on pointe. Must be 13 years old by Jan. 1, 2012.
- Ages 12 and up: 1-2 p.m.
- Ages 8-11: 2:15-3 p.m. Must be 8 years old by Jan. 1, 2012.
Wednesday, Aug. 31
- Ages 13-25: 4-5:45 p.m. Must be on pointe. Must be 13 years old by Jan. 1, 2012.
- Ages 12 and up: 6-7 p.m.
- Ages 8-11: 7:15-8 p.m. Must be 8 years old by Jan. 1, 2012.
*Registration is held 30 minutes prior to each audition.
Members are required to audition every year to allow them to move to higher levels within the company as their skills increase. And because the company is purely performance based, all members are required to continue lessons at a studio to build their technique.
While many of the company’s members attend founder Ann Parsley’s Dance Studio, enrollment at Parsley’s is neither required nor expected of members.
However, even the youngest company members must have some formal training prior to auditioning.
Now 12-years-old, Macomb Township resident Olivia Kosloski, has been dancing with the company since she was 9.
Her continued membership in the company is driven by three factors: her passion for ballet, love of performance, and camaraderie with fellow dancers who, through the years, have become her friends.
“She has a met a ton of great girls (in MBC) and friends from other schools that she might not have met up with any other way,” said Lisa Kosloski, Olivia’s mother and MBC board secretary. “I really think these girls all really genuinely care about each other.”
It is this friendship that former company member Sarah Schleicher remembers most from her time in MBC.
“Looking back, MBC was really a source of community for me,” Schleicher said. “I was so proud to be a company member. I moved here when I was in elementary school and as a younger student, I remember really looking up to those girls and wanting to be just like them.”
Olivia Kosloski is experiencing those feelings of awe now as she, like Schleicher and others before her, trains for the day she will receive the coveted part of Clara or the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.
In the meantime, audiences can see the entire company perform the The Nutcracker this December at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. The Wizard of Oz will follow in the spring
"It’s a little hidden gem in the community," Lisa Kosloski said. "People are surprised at how professional and how good (the performances are), with most of the main dancers being high school age and younger."
For more information visit the MBC website.