Tag Archives: Los Angeles Ballet

Nearly Supergirl

IMG_0077No, she doesn’t wear a red cape. She wears a tutu.

For everything she does, Madeline Houk, a company dancer with the Los Angeles Ballet, seems to possess more than just normal human powers.

In and of itself, being a full-time ballerina in one of the nation’s top companies is an intense endeavor. But Houk decided she wanted also to study part-time at UCLA. She’s graduating next year with a communications major. On the side, she sells Mary Kay beauty products.

And she’s recovering from a major surgery, her third since she was 16.

“I put in a lot of hours in the Los Angeles Ballet,” said Houk, 21. “But how you spend your free time is up to you. They way I was raised definitely contributed to the way I am. I guess you could say I come from a family of over-achievers.”

Born of ballet dancer parents, Houk was a “ballet school rat.” Her parents – retired from the Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet – launched the San Elijo Dance and Music Academy in San Diego in 2001.

“We really didn’t have a lot of students at the beginning, so my parents took me and my sister to every single class to make it look like we had more students,” Houk said. “That was my life. I would come home from school and go to dance school. I took ballet, tap, everything.” Read the rest of the article.

Editor’s Note: I never was a ballet kind of guy. But since a good friend dances for the LAB, he’s helped me get interviews for articles on the Santa Monica Patch. I’m drawn to human interest articles where the person overcomes great odds to achieve something noteworthy. I’m drawn to stories where the person lives out of passion for a cause much greater than money. Enjoy.

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The gospel in ballet

Giselle and forgivness

Alyssa Bross in the title role in LAB’s Giselle.

Of course, it’s a silly love story, but I was quite surprised to stumble across the gospel in LA Ballet’s presentation of Giselle. The peasant protagonist falls in love with an unscrupulous prince. Jilted, she goes insane and dies of a weak heart.

When the wilis come to exact revenge and get the dead spirit of Giselle to join their forces, she instead fights for his pardon. Instead of becoming a tormenting spirit, she can rest in peace.

Forgiveness and love triumph over bitterness and hatred. In Giselle, I see something of a Christ figure. He loved us and we jilted Him. He died for our sin and wrought our deliverance from the punishment. I doubt the originator of the ballet intended this interpretation of the work, but, hey, I can’t help myself.

I’m a neophyte to ballet, only drawn in because my friend dances for the LA Ballet. Honestly, I didn’t expect much plot. I thought the storyline would be flimsy, an excuse for super athletes to dance. So Giselle blindsided me. I’m a literature guy and like a good story.

Hopefully, Los Angeles will catch the message. Maybe Giselle can restore marriages as people get persuaded that forgiveness and love can cover wrongs. Maybe Giselle can help end enmity. Maybe we can realize that “he who laughs last” doesn’t really laugh at all but shrivels up into a lifeless bitter blob. Maybe people can realize that we all need God’s forgiveness for our sins.

Photo credit: Via Society News LA

Achieve the sublime

achieve the sublimeFor me, the most inspiring thing about this photo is the dancer is a friend of mine. The leap is dumbfounding and graceful. That it’s a regular guy only makes it more extraordinary for me.

Javier Moya Romero dances with the Los Angeles Ballet and, for a season, attended Lighthouse Church where I go. He even invited me to see him perform La Sylphide last year. I’m not even an initiate for ballet. I went just to show him support. I had to read online about the plot. The only way I realized a particularly spectacular dance move was done was by the applause of the rest of the audience. So I applauded with them.

Out this came an appreciation for a dance form that heretofore was esoteric for me. Ballet is the pinnacle of dance. And it’s amazing what the human body can do with vigorous training, dedication and hard work. It’s downright inspiring.

When Javier flies, so does my imagination. It’s inspiring for us to all strive to attain the heights of beauty and perfection in whatever talent God has given us to bless mankind.