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Ballet Kukan Academy’s 11th Annual Recital

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Ballet Kukan Academy’s 11th Annual Recital

Emma Chen, Staff Writer

Ballet Kukan Academy (BKA), a studio home to about 100 dancers in the San Gabriel Valley area, recently put on their very own take on the original story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Filled with beautiful music, colorful props, and flashy costumes, it was truly a stellar performance by the hard-working teachers, most notably Mrs. Noriko, as well as the talented dancers. Let’s embark on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, presented to you by Ballet Kukan Academy.

Though the studio was on a slight time crunch this year, the teachers worked extra hard in making sure all the dancers were familiar with the show, and the dancers pulled through at every rehearsal despite their busy schedules. With two acts, the performance accurately portrayed each of the kids’ disappearances, like Mike Teavee shrinking and Augustus Gloop falling into the chocolate river. Performer Kaleigh O’Leary, playing Mike Teavee’s mom, said, “The recital was so fun, and this childhood story is one of my faves. It was so interesting being able to bring it to life. I love all of my dancers!” All styles of dance were featured including ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and tap. Overall, it was an impressive and stunning recital. The movie truly came to life on stage, and it was a fun reminder to audience members of the imagination-filled world of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

First, who is the team behind this entire production? Meet Mrs. Noriko Malaby, the founder and artistic director of the studio, along with other choreographers like Ms. Jenna Stockman and Ms. Annelise Bucher. Instilling the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), otherwise known as British ballet, technique in all its wide range of students, BKA dancers come out with strong technique and a clear sense of what well-trained dancers should be. Although the curriculum is relatively slow, asking for only a 45-degree arabesque when other schools would demand a 90, it’s important to note that RAD, and thus BKA, stresses the importance of proper technique over height or count. What’s the point of executing five turns if one’s foot is not in correct retire position or the foot is floppy? Patience is crucial; those years of 45-degree arabesques suddenly don’t seem too bad when one is flexing on fellow dance friends with 100-degree legs and most importantly, proper technique. Dancers here at this studio are proud of their technique, and they should be—it doesn’t come easy, and it takes a ton of strength. For example, pointe dancers at BKA are strong, nurturing flexible and stable ankles and correct muscle development.

Let’s give a big round of applause to all the beautiful dancers, talented teachers, and helpful parents. This is definitely one for the books!

 

Photo courtesy of MISSIONPLAYHOUSE.ORG

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Ballet Kukan Academy’s 11th Annual Recital