The Old Stone Performing Arts Center (OSPAC), formerly the Old Stone Church, turns its attention from music to arts and culture and dance as the historic hub for all things performing arts. This weekend, dancers from the Victor School of Performing Arts present "Ballet Treasures" in three performances, capturing the classics of ballet within an original contemporary piece to delight audiences.
The Victor School of Performing Arts (VSPA) is now in its third year, founded by Joy Victor, a ballet dancer formerly with the American Ballet Theatre in New York. "I have been dancing my entire life," says Victor. "I started at age 8 and in my teens and had the blessing of being able to perform and learn from some of the most talented teachers around the globe." Victor performed onstage with some of the top ballet dancers in the world, including Mikhail Baryshnikov. "From that, I have a responsibility to share what I know to these students," she says.
"Ballet Treasures," will be performed as a collection of classical ballet, performed in beautiful bejeweled costumes. Young audience members will be presented with surprise treasure boxes throughout the program. Victor's ballerinas began rehearsal in October, sometimes working multiple hours every day in order to perfect the elegance and strength that ballet demands.
Victoria Sargent, 16, began dancing as a toddler. Ballet has become a lifestyle for this motivated young performer and what she learns, she applies toward other avenues in her life. "It is a way to express your emotions. It is a lot of discipline, self-criticism and dedication that I can apply to things like school," she says. "Ballet takes a lot of work, not just on the body, but in the heart and soul as well." Sargent explains that even one's face needs to be a reflection of the dance.
Ashley Foster, also 16, agrees with her classmate about the amount of time and energy it takes to perfect just one performance, but in the end, they both agree that it is worth it. Foster is looking forward to dancing in front of the stained glass windows of the former Old Stone Church. "The windows, the dancing, it's like something out of a movie. The art and the history between what we are doing and the church makes a fantasy more like an actuality," she says. The pairing between the venue and the content seems to be one of divine assembly.
Owner of OSPAC, Peter Geiser says that they are blessed and he and the newest addition to the operation, Destry Cloud, are enthusiastic about the direction this arts venue is going, and very excited for the ballet. Cloud speaks of the broad potential of the center. "We are open to consider everything, to try what we think will work and see where we can go from there. We are a work in creation," she says.
Both discuss rebranding efforts, now and for the future. "We aren't trying to compete with the other venues out there. They have already found their niche and are doing great in their own way. We have yet to define ours," says Geiser. "Right now we are only accountable to ourselves, and that can make us very light on our feet."
"Ballet Treasures" will open Friday, May 13. Tickets are available via www.BendTicket.com
performed by the Victor School of Performing Arts
Friday, May 13, 6:30 p.m. | Saturday, May 14, 2 & 6:30 p.m.
Old Stone Performing Arts Center
157 NW Franklin Ave., Bend
$13 adults, $8 children