Le Corsaire – Behind the Scenes
svetlana | Apr 5, 2011 | 12:45PM |

all photos: Shauna Alexander

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FUN BALLET FACTS:

  • Every year millions of little girls (and thousands of boys?) dream of becoming professional ballet dancers. Only a teeny percentage of that even come close to living THE DREAM.
  • It takes up 10 years or more of training for one to become a professional ballerina
  • It’s usually not till the 4th year of study that pointe work is  introduced pointe work (and then only 15 minutes at the end of each technique class)
  • A male dancer lifts over 1-1/2 tons worth of ballerinas during performances.
  • Most ballerinas wear out 2-3 pairs of pointe shoes per week.
  • One tutu costs up to $2,000 to make.
  • The same tutu requires 60-90 hours of labor and over 100 yards of ruffle.

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Friday 04/21
Paul Rodriguez LIVE from Original Latin Kings of Comedy @ Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
$25 / $25
Longtime comedian Paul Rodriguez has been making audiences laugh all over the world (in Spanish and English) for nearly three decades with his unique brand of humor that is a perfect blend of his Latin heritage, the American dream and his undeniable universal appeal. As an actor and comedian, Paul Rodriguez’s multi-faceted career includes starring roles and featured appearances in over 45 films and countless television series and comedy specials. Voted one of the most influential Hispanics in America and awarded the Ruben Salazar Award by The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, Rodriguez has remained a constant force in his community and the world of comedy throughout his career. Rodriguez's film credits include "Without Men" with Eva Longoria and Christian Slater; "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore;" "The Deported," "I’m Not Like That No More"with comedian Felipe Esparza (2010 "Last Comic Standing" winner), Disney’s blockbuster hit "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," "The World’s Fastest Indian," "A Cinderella Story," "How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass," "Ali," "Tortilla Soup," "Crocodile Dundee in LA," "Rat Race," "Bloodwork," "Chasing Papi"and "D.C. Cab," among others. The multifaceted entertainer recently wrote and performed his first-ever one-man show "Just for the Record," which is now available on DVD. In this tell-all theatrical piece, Rodriguez takes audiences on a journey through his remarkable life, including his childhood in Mexico, to his family's move to Compton, California (where he grew up), his illustrious career and the significant relationships and moments that helped shape his life along the way. Rodriguez has hosted several hit series, including the entertainment talk show "El Show de Paul Rodriguez," an entertainment talk show for Univision which reached over 50 markets throughout the United States and an international audience in over 17 countries in Central and South America. His additional hosting credits include the The NCLR ALMA Awards, The Tejano Music Awards, Showtime’s Latino Laugh Festival and his own television specials "Back to School" and "Behind Bars." He recently hosted "Mis Videos Locos with Paul Rodriguez” on Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más. As an accomplished writer, director and producer for television, motion pictures and feature shows, Rodriguez has several hit projects to his credit including the comedy concert film "The Original Latin Kings of Comedy," which he executive produced and starred in along with Cheech Marin, George Lopez and Carlos Mencia; the feature film "A Million to Juan,"which he also wrote, directed and starred in; six comedy specials for HBO including "Loco Slam, " "Live in San Quentin" and "Idiots and Armadillos." As executive producer, he recently struck comedy again with his Comedy Central stand-up concert DVD, “Comedy Rehab.” In addition to his many hit comedy specials in English, Rodriguez has the distinguished credit of performing the first-ever one-hour standup comedy special in Spanish, "Dime Con Quien Andas,"for Telemundo. Among his many credits, Rodriguez has also made guest appearances on several Late Night shows including "The Wanda Sykes Show,""The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Last Call with Carson Daly,"and "Politically Incorrect." Additionally, he has guest starred in several television series including "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List," "Shaken Not Stirred," DIRECTV’s"S upreme Court of Comedy,"Showtime's original series "Resurrection Boulevard"and"American Family." He has also lent his voice to popular animated series including "King of the Hill,""Dora the Explorer" and "The Proud Family." Rodriguez’s first big break came while doing comedy warm-ups for Norman Lear's show "Gloria."Lear ultimately wrote and developed a weekly series for Rodriguez entitled "a.k.a. Pablo," which is enshrined at the Smithsonian and holds the distinct honor for being the first television show about a Mexican American family on mainstream American television.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Ok, back to the article! >>>>>>>>>>>>

Starting tomorrow, for five days only, Washington Ballet will be bringing their interpretation of “LE CORSAIRE”, the classic swashbuckling adventure of pirates, pashas, and the slave girls who love them (oh my) to Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre. And since this promises to be both an unmissable series of performance and one that can just swoop by you if you’re not paying enough attention, when The Ballet invited us to observe one of their rehearsals for it-well, we ran over, cameras and notepads in hand.

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The show was originally put on in the 19th century by Jules Perot in 1858 but made famous by Marius Petipa’s version in 1868 (and later on reworked by him in 1899). Now, in 2011  it is being interpreted for DC’s stage by Anna-Marie Holmes, an internationally-regarded ballerina, choreographer and repetituer, who ruled the rehearsal with good humor and a firm and fair hand (we’d be lying if we didn’t waltz in expecting some serious “Black Swan” emotional drama but we’re happy (disappointed?) to report everyone seemed well adjusted, happy and working hard at swishing their petal branches just perfectly so).

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In an interview earlier this year Septime Webre (Ballet’s Artistic director who also dropped in on the rehearsal)  “Anna-Marie Holmes’ interpretation of Le Corsaire is the perfect production to showcase the talent of The Washington Ballet artists. The men’s dancing roles in particular are significantly expanded, with more virtuosic turns and jumps. It’s almost a competition of male classical prowess, and is perfectly suited for the strong men of the company”

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But enough of that – if this rehearsal was even a glimpse of the glory you’re about to witness this week, then you should not miss a second of it.  Now, enjoy the photos because they are, truly, worth a million words, in this case.

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Tickets for Le Corsaire, priced from $29 to $125, are available through kennedy-center.org, the Kennedy Center Box Office, or 202.467.4600.

Le Corsaire April 6-10, 2011

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Eisenhower Theater

  • Wednesday, April 6, 8 PM (Preview)
  • Thursday, April 7, 8 PM (Opening)
  • Friday, April 8, 8 PM
  • Saturday, April 9, 2:30 PM & 8 PM
  • Sunday, April 10, 1 PM & 6 PM

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