Alaska Ballet Academy
Founded by Michelangelo Canale, to provide instruction in the art of Classical Dance to aspiring professionals and recreational dancers in the community of Anchorage and beyond.
I originally wanted to be a singer and only began pursuing dance in college. After being accepted to Juilliard, I attended the Royal Winnipeg summer program and liked the training so much I stayed on to complete the full program. I danced professionally, and still dance and guest teach on occasion, with the New Orleans Ballet. I moved to Anchorage and taught ballet to figure skaters, then took a position at the Alaska Dance Theatre. I subsequently established the Anchorage Ballet.
The curriculum accommodates just about anyone from four to forty who walks in the door, as well as children of training age with the facility and desire to train seriously. We offer a structured pre-professional program up to six days a week with pointe, pas de deux, character and historical, and repertoire classes, along with demonstrations and performances.
We employ our own methods from our own dance backgrounds and use the "Vaganova Method" as the basis for the training we offer. We are committed to excellence in Classical Dance education, and attention is given to introduce students to the discipline, physical demands, and standards of Classical Dance.
TEACHERS, MENTORS & INFLUENCES
David Moroni, Petru Macra, Garold Gardner, Konstantine Shatilov, Michael Simms, Alexander Kalinin, Alfredo Corvino and Maestro Hector Zaraspe. These teachers inspired me in countless ways and not a day goes by that I don't recall a moment, a saying, a disciplinary action, or a technical detail given by one or another of them.
My biggest challenge is to keep the entire machine running well and still put the energy I'd like into preparing and giving my lessons. I'm so busy overseeing staff and the entire operation, yet teaching alone requires such time and energy. I must also find time to educate students and parents about the commitment required, and the importance of proper etiquette like showing up on time, not missing rehearsals, and always being respectful of one and another.
Our program has prepared aspiring professionals to attend the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C., the Rosella Hightower School in France, the Elmhurst Ballet School in London, the School of American Ballet in New York, Kirov/Mariinsky Theatre, NYC Complexions, The Juilliard School, American Ballet Theatre, The Houston Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Some have earned scholarships and many have shined.
I'd like to have a solid Board of Directors and a strong Artistic Director so I can step away and just teach, or even step away altogether and see it all running smoothly and know that I created this.
MOST GRATIFYING MOMENTS
You keep asking yourself, "Why am I doing this?" Then you see the excitement of a child when she gets a part, or the pride of parents finding their son's name on a company program. We sent one student who had been through more than her share of commitment and financial issues to the east coast. They took note of her and asked, "Who was your teacher? You had really good training." It gives me joy to be a part of that. Her parents came back to thank me and made a $1500 donation on the spot. This is what makes it worthwhile.