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Dancer, 11, enters national school

Grade 6 student leaving Winnipeg to study ballet in Toronto

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CONGRATULATIONS to 11-year-old Alexa Kastellanos, who has been accepted into the professional ballet/academic program of the National Ballet School.

One thousand dancers from across Canada audition every year, says NBS spokeswoman Charlotte Davis, and only 50 make the cut.

Last month, Alexa was admitted to the four-week summer program as the second stage of her audition, Davis says.

Entering Grade 6 academically, she'll be moving to Toronto in September to live in residence and study to become a ballerina.

"This is something she really wants to do," says her proud mom, Janet, an English teacher at Tec Voc High School. "It's a huge accomplishment."

Alexa started her dance lessons at age three at Shelley Shearer and later took up studies with Barbie Dukes at the Center of Movement. She is also a prize-winning taekwondo student.

The NBS accepts Winnipeggers to its various programs most years, Davis says, though Alexa is the only one this year to enter the full ballet/academic division.

The NBS will next audition students here Oct. 29 and 31.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School is the main competition for the NBS in Canada. The vast majority of students in the RWB professional division come from elsewhere in Canada and the U.S.

Yiddish opera in works

MUSICIAN, writer and math whiz Marty Green, one of the city's true eccentrics, is at work on another original project.

The Ballad of Monish is Green's one-man comic operetta, which he has written in English and Yiddish.

Based on a poem by the Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz, it begins as a Jewish retelling of the classic Faust legend but, according to Green, "quickly turns into a rollicking, satirical look at traditional Jewish attitudes towards religion, sex, and the non-Jewish world."

Green has booked the St. Norbert Arts Centre for an Aug. 12 preview of the show for his friends and a few media types.

He has planned two public performances in Winnipeg on Nov. 21.

Green gained notoriety for his Math with Marty local cable TV program in the '80s. He has also published an English translation of a Yiddish book, On Foreign Soil, and made a CD of Yiddish translations of popular country songs.

He is the son of former NDP MLA Sid Green.

Top talents perform

THE top rising talents in Manitoba classical music can be heard at a concert Aug. 11 at the Conservatory of Music and Arts in the Exchange District.

The performers are the ones selected to represent the province at the prestigious National Music Festival, this year being held in Charlottetown, Aug. 20-22.

Saxophonist Curtis Bamford, soprano Andriana Chuchman, violinist Amelia Mori, pianist Nina Zhou and the string ensemble Eterna Quartet (consisting of Mori, violist Adam Pappas, violinist Janna Sailor and cellist Gabrielle Thiessen) emerged from the national categories of the 34 provincial festivals held earlier this year.

"They're all astounding musicians," says Cindy Rublee, executive director of the Associated Manitoba Arts Festivals.

"The string quartet is doing some original things."

All the Manitoba competitors but Bamford will be present for the Aug. 11 local concert, performing the repertoire they've planned for the Charlottetown festival. Admission is $5. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the conservatory auditorium, 105-111 Bannatyne Ave.

At the national event in Charlottetown, 60 musicians ranging in age from 15 to 28 years, representing 10 provinces, will compete for scholarships in seven different categories: piano, strings, voice, woodwinds, brass, guitar and chamber groups.

Site opens Hellner show

VICTORIA-BASED artist Rachel Hellner has an exhibition of recent paintings, Perspectives, at Site Gallery, 55 Arthur St.

The show's official opening is tomorrow at 7 p.m. Hellner is the daughter of recently retired University of Manitoba interior design professor Faye Hellner.

Over at Plug In ICA, another former Winnipegger, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, has his performance-based video installation, Neverending Song of Love, on view until Aug. 29.

Ramsay's parents are local arts community supporters Roger Ramsay and Gwenda Nemerofsky. He now divides his time between Toronto and Berlin.

morley.walker@freepress.mb.ca

PHOTO LINDA VERMETTE/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

PHOTO WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 4, 2004 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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