Local ballet theatre strives to make dancing enjoyable for all

Dance is a very physically demanding art form. Inside the studio at Olympic Ballet Theatre and School, the dancers do complicated combinations, lifting their leg higher than many would ever dream of, and balancing on pointe shoes with a platform that can’t be wider than two inches. Instead of being irritable, hungry, and just ready to go home, the dancers were leaving the studio with smiles on their faces. Many of the dancers have never felt more at home.

Olympic Ballet Theatre and School is a local dance studio located in downtown Edmonds and run by former principal and soloist dancers Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorboulev. Under their expertise, dancers have been able to participate and excel in numerous competitions around the world. Their students have taken second place at the World Ballet Arts Competition Finals, third place at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) in Seattle, and have had dancers place top 12 in their age group at the World Ballet Competition.

The next upcoming performance will be Sleeping Beauty, which will be held at the Edmonds Performing Arts Center on Mar 28 at 2 p.m. and on Mar 29 at 7 p.m. There will be an additional performance at the Everett Performing Arts Center on Apr. 4 at 2 p.m. However, as college students, we have to keep in mind the cost of tickets. Olympic Ballet Theatre and School offers discounted tickets for students. They also participate in TeenTix, allowing people 19 and under with a TeenTix card to get $5 tickets.

Sleeping Beauty will be showcasing the Olympic Ballet Theatre company members in leading roles, along with the school in equally important corps roles. This ballet consists of three acts, along with a prologue.

“Sleeping Beauty is probably the hardest ballet you can perform,” according to company member and teacher Alberto Gaspar. Audience members can expect to see company members and Olympic Ballet School students performing technically challenging choreography all done under the artistic direction of Vinson and Gorboulev. Ballet is intended to look graceful, if audience members don’t leave admiring this art form for the elegance that is portrayed the dancers didn’t accomplish their jobs.

It is important to note that Olympic Ballet Theatre is different from Olympic Ballet School. The school has students with all levels of experience. At the school, students will improve their skills until they graduate out of the school and have the opportunity to audition for the company. Olympic Ballet School will be holding open auditions for their four-week Summer Intensive program on Feb 29.

The Olympic Ballet Theatre consists of company and trainee members, and the theatre holds year-round auditions for trainee and company positions. Dancers are welcome to attend open classes anytime.

“For girls and boys [the ideal age to begin] is usually 10 years old […] I know some girls that started late, but I know a lot of boys that started really late,” says Gaspar, highlighting that it’s never too late to start dancing.  “The community is always welcome to come and ask for information. We have a lot of levels of open classes. If you don’t know anything, you can come to that class and start slowly, and then we have an advanced level.”

The proximity of the Olympic Ballet Theatre and School is what makes it special, it is rare to find a high-quality theatre without having to travel a great distance. Olympic Ballet Theatre and School location makes it a great place for locals to explore their interest in ballet for dancers and spectators alike.