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THE MARGARET BARBIERI CONSERVATORY OF DANCE


The Sarasota Ballet School is excited to welcome the first year of students to the new Margaret Barbieri Conserva- tory of Dance. Opening this week, the eight-year classi- cal ballet program was created to train exceptional danc- ers who possess strong, clean classical technique. With a great emphasis on artistry, musicality, purity of line, coordi- nation and a quality of movement, this elite Conservatory aims to graduate students who are capable of integrating effortlessly into The Sarasota Ballet and other top profes- sional dance companies.


This year, the inaugural program will include 12 students, ranging in age from 11 to 16, who will participate in the curriculum for two to five years. Margaret Barbieri, Assis- tant Director of The Sarasota Ballet, is delighted to put her name to this new program and to see her vision for a clas- sical ballet conservatory come to fruition.


“The training of young dancers has always been near and dear to my heart. Some students may become our profes- sional dancers and teachers of the future and, therefore, providing a higher tier of training is essential. I look for- ward to working with these extremely talented dancers.”


Margaret Barbieri was born of Italian parents in Durban, South Africa, and went to England in 1963 to study at the Royal Ballet School. Two years later she joined the Royal Ballet Touring Company (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) and became a Principal in 1970. During her 25 years with the Royal Ballet she danced most of the leading roles in the reper- toire including Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and La Fille mal Gardée. She also worked closely with some of the great ballet mas- ters of the 20th century, including; Ashton, MacMil- lan, Cranko, de Valois, Tudor and van Manen and roles were created for her by Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Peter Wright, Anthony Tudor, David Bintley, Mi- chael Corder, Geoffrey Cauley, Joe Layton and Ron- ald Hynd. Dame Ninette de Valois and Dame Alicia Markova were her mentors and Markova taught and coached her Fokine’s The Dying Swan and Pav- lova’s The Dragonfly.


www.sarasotaballet.org 126 FOCUS of SWFL 2012


Ten of the 12 students attending the new, full-time Con- servatory this fall were selected from within The Sarasota Ballet School. In the future, the Conservatory will not only audition students from within but recruit and audition new students from around the country. These students will be as young as ten and stay in the program for all eight years.


“This is an extraordinary opportunity for gifted dancers to receive a high level of training in classical ballet and be able to remain in the Sarasota community to perfect their artistry,” explained Barbieri.


The curriculum, devised by the highly skilled and experi- enced staff at The Sarasota Ballet School, in conjunction with Barbieri and the Director of The Sarasota Ballet, Iain Webb, will consist of the following courses each week:


• Six Ballet Technique classes • Three Pointe classes • Two Pas de Deux classes • One Character class • One Pilates class • One Music class • Two Modern/Contemporary classes • Three Repertoire Classes – Solo and Corps de Ballet • Two Virtuosity classes • Injury Prevention and Nutrition classes


In addition to the regimented course work, all students will be responsible for completing three hours of classroom work daily. Assisted by tutors, the young dancers are ac- countable for completing their education. Once all high school requirements have been fulfilled, there will soon be the opportunity for students to receive their BFA from part- nering universities.


“These are thrilling times and I am confident that each and every one of our students this year, and in the future, will benefit from the incredible challenges before them,” said Barbieri.


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