Menlowe Ballet grows into its second year with formation of Guild and move to local performances

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on April 12, 2013

Lisa Shiveley and Heidi Magnussen, ED and Guild member of Menlowe Ballet

Six days a week, Heidi Magnussen found herself at the Menlo Park Academy of Dance where her two daughters take lessons. So, when Menlowe Ballet took up residence last year, it was natural for Heidi to get involved with the new dance company, becoming a member of its Guild.

“The inspiration for my joining the Ballet Guild is our daughter’s love of dance,” she says. “That’s what motivated me to attend Debut [the first production] in November 2011. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to be involved — it was so inspiring and beautiful. And, I love how the performing arts brings together and unites various parts of the community.”

For Menlowe Ballet Executive Director Lisa Shiveley, the Guild’s formation has been a real blessing. “Once our first couple of seasons came and went, I saw that we had some momentum,” she says. “My question was ‘how do we scale beyond where we are now?’

“One obvious answer was the 700 families involved at the Studio. I knew I needed to tap into their energy.”

While conceding that a Guild’s focus at most professional dance companies is fundraising, Lisa says the duties Menlowe’s Guild performs are much broader. “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed beyond fundraising, particularly for a new company. For example, this season Guild members have been a tremendous help with ad sales.”

One factor that may spur ticket sales is that the Menlowe Ballet performances will now be held at the Menlo-Atherton Center for Performing Arts. “My hope is that people will have dinner on Santa Cruz Avenue and then come to the ballet,” says Lisa.

The spring season’s offering is titled Reverie, featuring the world premiere of Sweet Sadness by choreographer Viktor Kabaniaev, and two works by Menlowe Ballet Artistic Director, Michael Lowe, Chuntian and Surfside.

Reverie plays on Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20 at 8:00 pm, and Sunday, April 21 at 2:00 p.m., at MAPAC (555 Middlefield Road). Tickets, which range from $28 to $45 may be purchased online at the company’s website or by calling (800) 595-4TIX (4849).

Photo of Heidi Magnussen (right) and Lisa Shiveley (left) by Irene Searles 

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