An Ode to Southern California: Colburn Youth Ballet Tackles an Original Work

For the second year, Youth Ballet students will perform ballet chair Kelly Ann Sloan’s original work Postcards and Pliés from LA.

This Mother’s Day, students from the Colburn Youth Ballet program take the stage to show parents and patrons their growth following months of hard work in the dance studio. But this won’t be your average end-of-year recital, because the centerpiece of the program unites all five levels of Colburn Youth Ballet in a full length work.

Postcards and Pliés from LA by Colburn’s own Kelly Ann Sloan, ballet chair of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, takes the audience on a journey through Los Angeles’s most famous sites, from Santa Monica Pier to Rodeo Drive.

“It’s an ode to Southern California,” says Sloan. “As an East Coast native who has now been here for 13 years, I still find myself enamored by the cool places to see in LA. This work highlights what is so wonderful about this town we all live in and what makes the Colburn School unique.”

Each of the five sections in Postcards and Pliés from LA focus on a different landmark and are tied together with short narrations that introduce each dance.

The youngest students in the program start the journey off at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade. The dancers are dressed as a marching band and demonstrate the fundamental steps they’ve learned in Level I.

“From there, each level features more advanced choreography, harder musicality, and longer pieces of music,” explains Sloan. “This work is a great way to show the development of a dancer at Colburn, from the youngest in Level I up until our Level V students who are ready to go on to a college dance program or audition for a company.”

Sloan knew from the beginning of the choreographic process that she wanted to create something to which the students could relate. “I couldn’t think of a better way [to do that] than kids who live in Los Angeles doing a ballet about Los Angeles—about places that they love visiting or places they may want to see in the future,” says Sloan. “With Postcards and Pliés, the dancers have the opportunity to look at our city from a tourist’s perspective. “

Postcards and Pliés from LA is performed annually, allowing dancers to play different roles as they progress through the Colburn Youth Ballet program. The piece was designed to be an ever-evolving work, changing as new students add their personal touches and as veteran dancers hone their skills. For example, this second annual production of the work features a new opening overture performed by a solo dancer and an elaborate final tableau that gets every level onstage at the same time.

The May 12 program is rounded out by the “Waltz” from Sleeping Beauty and variations from Bournonville’s Napoli, both performed by the Ballet V students.

Before the show, the Colburn Dance Council will be holding a lovely Mother’s Day Tea on campus. Make the day extra special by joining the Colburn Dance community for tea and hors d’oeuvres.

Receive your invitation to the Mother’s Day Tea by donating $250 or more to the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.