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Fort Wayne Ballet Gets Up Close & Personal This Weekend with Studio A

For years, dance – in particular ballet – was viewed through certain lenses. On the one hand, it has been seen as elite, expensive, and beyond the means and experience of audiences who opted not to attend. On the other hand, it’s viewed as a pretty, pretty performance with beautiful princesses in tutus. In truth, ballet is so much more than that, and it can be as accessible as theatre or musical performances.

During the tenure of Karen Gibbons-Brown, Fort Wayne Ballet’s artistic director of more than two decades, ballet has become family-friendly, open and accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Fort Wayne Ballet has built a company of young men and women who are not only dancers but artists, athletes. Their mainstage performances at Arts United Center include all-ages favorites like their annual performances of The Nutcracker and their spring fairy tale collaborations with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. The Family Series provides up close ballet experiences for young audiences, featuring Fort Wayne Ballet’s Youth Company, and their intimate performances at the Auer Center’s ArtsLab allow attendees to see the ballet in an informal and immersive way.

With this weekend’s Studio A performance, hosted in the Ballet’s largest studio at Auer Center, Fort Wayne Ballet brings another intimate – and very affordable – experience to dance fans in Fort Wayne. Featuring pieces from the company’s upcoming season, which they are billing as season Sixty-6, Studio A allows for a casual but up-close viewing of the dancers and a chance to interact with them while enjoying some tasty morsels and adult beverages.

“It’s a casual hour, a little meet and mingle,” Gibbons-Brown said. “We were getting ready for Progressions a few years ago and then COVID hit. Instead we did a virtual wine bar, pairing wines with different pieces. It gave people a chance to see that our dancers are wonderful people and get to know them not just as dancers. It was laid back and informal, and even though it was virtual it was still intimate. They could see the dancers move but close enough to see them sweat. Although we all know dancers don’t sweat, they glisten.”

If you can see them glisten, then you can see plenty more of what a dancer accomplishes when they take the stage.

“When you’re that close to the dancers, you can see the athleticism of what they do,” Gibbons-Brown said. “You can see their muscles and not just the result of their work.”

Some of the pieces performed might be familiar at this weekend’s Studio A, which takes place September 23-24 at 7:30 p.m. For those who saw Fort Wayne Ballet’s world premiere of Dracula in October 2020, a original work choreographed by Tracy Tritz, the “weird sisters” piece will likely be part of Studio A, just in time to gear up for the return of Dracula next month. A couple pieces from Swan Lake will also be featured as well as a preview of An Evening of Stierle and a pas de deux from Spartacus.

The Ballet’s 2022-23 season will include three mainstage productions at Arts United Center: Dracula in October, The Nutcracker in December, and Swan Lake in March. Their repertory performances will return to the ArtsLab: Love Notes in February and An Evening of Stierle in May. And their Family Series, which features the Youth Company and allows young audiences to enjoy their own up-close experience, will be held at the FWB studios: Peter and the Wolf in October, Peter Pan in February, and Carnival of the Animals in April.

Tickets for Studio A are $20, which includes food and beverage, and can be purchased at or by calling (260) 422-4226, where you can also purchase tickets to the season performances detailed above.

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