Los Gatos Ballet’s 20th anniversary was marked by the passing of the artistic director baton from company founder Marcie Ryken to Kristin D’Addario.
Appointed by Ryken earlier this year, D’Addario knew ballet was her calling, and at age 16, the Orange County native moved to New York to further her training. She danced with the Miami City Ballet, where she met her fiancé, professional dancer Peter Doll, who teaches with her at Los Gatos Ballet.
Mutual friends in the dance world turned the couple on to the opportunity to work in Los Gatos, and they hit it off with Ryken and moved here in 2017. D’Addario had been serving as assistant artistic director until her promotion.
“Marcie is such a great mentor, and she has built such a tremendous organization,” says D’Addario. “ I love her vision for the school and company. She has a holistic approach to getting people to move their bodies, whether they are adults or youth. She makes them want to move and move forward.”
For D’Addario, choreography is her fuel and living in Los Gatos, which she describes as “an arts-loving town,” has inspired her to tap all its creative energies and elements. “Los Gatos is small; it’s certainly not NYC, which is an arts mecca, and yet the arts are valued so much here,” she says. “What’s awesome about Los Gatos is the connection to and support of the arts. Our parents are so supportive of arts education and see the value of what it has to offer.”
D’Addario says older would-be dancers needn’t worry about getting a late start.
“It’s never too late, really,” she says. “There are so many large organizations and so many smaller companies that offer access to performance art. It’s about the commitment level of the individual. We want to encourage youth, and we want them to succeed.”
Her biggest passion is choreography, be it hers or her students’.
“I absolutely love watching my students in a place of creativity,” D’Addario says. “We have a program that brings in other community performing artists, and students create one-on-one with each other. It’s great to see them have an opportunity to lead and share the visions in their hearts, and put them into dance.”
She’s particularly excited about being part of the 20th anniversary performance of “The Nutcracker” This holiday season.
“’The Nutcracker’ has been part of my life for 30 years as a dancer,” D’Addario says. “When I was a student, at the age of 7, my first role was a soldier doll in the party scene. Throughout my dancing career, there has probably only been one year that I didn’t dance ‘Nutcracker.’”
This year, when “The Nutcracker” runs at the McAfee Performing Arts and Lecture Center at Saratoga High School on Dec. 20-22, there might be as many as 120 performers on stage. For the first time, the pre-ballet dancers, ages 5-6, will also appear on stage, as will students from the College of Adaptive Arts at West Valley College in Saratoga.
Professional dancer Margot Adkins, a graduate of Los Gatos Ballet who dances with the Pittsburgh Theater Ballet, will reprise her role as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Creative director Christine Ryvola has been tending to the Los Gatos Ballet’s “Nutcracker” costumes for years.
“The details are mindblowing,” says D’Addario, adding that costumes are altered regularly to adapt to the dancers’ changing bodies. “We do costume fittings in September and October, and come performance time many of the dancers have gotten taller. It’s the reality of being in a school.”
On the other hand, says D’Addario, “If a costume doesn’t fit this person, maybe it fits someone else. There are injuries and other circumstances, but you just make it work. After all, the show must go on.”
Tickets to “The Nutcracker” are available at https://losgatosballet.org/nutcracker.
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/11/20/los-gatos-ballet-celebrates-20-years-of-nutcracker/