My Daughter Wants To Meet a Ballet Dancer
January 31, 2011 3:22 PM   Subscribe

How can my seven-year-old daughter have a shot at meeting any of the dancers in a professional ballet production?

My daughter is taking ballet and we are planning to take her to The Kimmel Center in Pennsylvania to see Swan Lake. She really wants to meet the dancers (any of them, really).

My thought is to have my daughter write a letter to the dance company explaining that she is a dance student, that she will be at a particular performance and that she would love to meet any of them.

I can't seem to figure out WHERE and TO WHOM such a letter should be addressed. It doesn't seem to make much sense to send it to the Kimmel Center since the ballet in question is a touring production.

Any advice you can give me on how to fulfill this wish of my daughter's would be greatly appreciated. :)
posted by DWRoelands to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Pennsylvania Ballet's Director of Outreach and Education (from their website) is named Phil Juska, who can be reached at 215.587.6927 or
posted by xingcat at 3:31 PM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'd try to get in touch with the Community Relations person at the Kimmel Center first. He/she will be familiar with the facilities, the approximate scheduling of the rehearsals/event and is probably used to accommodating requests from community members. If not, he/she will likely have a suggestion as to the person or persons best situated to help you out.
posted by kelegraph at 3:32 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Or what xingcat said!
posted by kelegraph at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2011

It appears that the production is being done by the Pennsylvania Ballet. Their contact list is here; the public relations manager might be a good bet, and/or the director of outreach and education.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:34 PM on January 31, 2011

Call this Marlene Brito Community Relations person, or the other people under the "Education" heading and ask them personally. Failing that, call "Heather Nill, Executive Assistant to President and CEO." I bet Heather knows exactly who to ask about this.

And if that doesn't work, try contacting the press agent listed here -- Marissa Montenegro. Press agents often handle these kinds of requests.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:35 PM on January 31, 2011

I bet your daughter's dance studio could help you with this. It's somewhat possible that the owner/directors/ one of the teachers has a hook-up with someone involved with the company or the venue. Like they used to dance with someone there, or had a kid that did, or knows someone who works at the venue or whatever.
posted by elpea at 3:36 PM on January 31, 2011

I have a 7-year-old friend who loves going behind the scenes to meet ballet and opera performers. The company managers have been delighted to facilitate that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:39 PM on January 31, 2011

Find out if it's possible to take her to dress rehearsals -- that's probably a better time to try to meet the cast than on a show night, because on show nights performers are likely to be stressed beforehand and wanting to go out to bars afterward.

I don't know how much money you have, but in general, if you become a supporting member of a performing arts center then you'll start getting invited to all sorts of special events including opportunities to meet and socialize with the cast. The more you donate, the more exclusive and intimate the events you get invited to (e.g., dinner parties with star performers, hosted in the homes of local philanthropists).
posted by Jacqueline at 4:25 PM on January 31, 2011

Sometimes the company dancers will give a workshop (or 'master class') for select ballet students in the area a day or two before the performance. Your daughter is probably far too young for the class, but might be able to watch.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:36 PM on January 31, 2011

Closer to home, at least from your profile, F&M plans to host the Imani Edu-Tainers African Dance Company on Feb. 12. Perhaps you could call Pam Vail (contact info at link) and see whether your daughter could sit in on the dress rehearsal?
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:53 PM on January 31, 2011

There used to be a pretty steady outreach 'lecture demo' presentations to schools and community groups but many dance companies. Those would be ideal. Also look to see if there are master classes in the area, and see if observation is allowed. I don't think you'll have too much trouble finding an opportunity, most pro dancers were quite recently 7 year old dreamers and pretty happy to talk.
posted by sammyo at 8:14 PM on January 31, 2011

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