Claremont Colleges Ballet Company Debuts

The Claremont Colleges Ballet Company (CCBC), formed earlier this semester, had its first performance Saturday, Dec. 1 in Richardson Dance Studio at Scripps College.

The CCBC opened their performance with a lighthearted excerpt from The Concert: the Perils of Everybody by Jerome Robbins to warm up the audience and illustrate the quirky side of ballet. In the piece, the twelve dancers of the company intentionally made mistakes to make the audience chuckle.

The group performance was followed by four classical variations, including “Kitri” from Don Quixote, “Jumping Girl” from Paquita, “Bluebird” from Sleeping Beauty and “Tambourine” from La Esmeralda.

Co-founders of CCBC Vivian Delchamps SC ’14 and Emily Kleeman PZ ’14, who both started ballet at age three, were excited to perform with the company for the first time.

“I love dancing. It’s been a constant part of my life because that’s what I primarily grew up with,” Kleeman said.

 “Our [company] meets on Saturdays. We warm up with the bar, practice some point technique, learn classical variations, and so on. Everybody is welcome,” she added. “Ballet has always been thought of as serious and uptight; but we had fun during the performance, especially in The Concert.”

All featured classical variations were performed as duets, except “Bluebird,” which was a triplet. Kleeman and Sarah Barnes SC ’16 danced in “Kitri.”

“’Kitri’ is a very seductive dance, while La Esmeralda is more dramatic,” Kleeman said. Nicole Wien HM ’15, Vice President of CCBC, performed La Esmeralda with Delchamps and provided many of the costumes for the show.

Paquita is also a great variation. It’s a firecracker that starts with five leaps across the stage. It’s got all the attention-grabbing elements,” she added. 

 “I performed [‘Tambourine’], which had a steady energetic rhythm,” Delchamps said. “This is a piece from the famous ballet La Esmeralda and features a wedding. It’s the dance of a sassy Spanish woman, and [my partner and I] got to kick the tambourine.”

CCBC added a choreographed bar and center warm-up to their show, which was accompanied by music from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Delchamps and assistant choreographer Ilana Cohen PO ’16 collaborated on the piece.

“We chose The Lord of the Rings music because of the tempo and tone change; it was rhythmically musical. We used wands and scarves for the Harry Potter performance,” Cohen said. “The triplet I performed was fun because it was floating. Though my style is ‘weighty,’ ‘Bluebird’ provided lots of practice en pointe,” Cohen said.

The CCBC founders both plan to continue dance professionally after graduation. Kleeman hopes to start her own company and teach and choreograph novel pieces.

Delchamps, a dance minor, is also part of the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company (CCBDC) and plans to dance professionally with the Inland Pacific Ballet Company before going to graduate school.

The CCBC is eager to accept new members.

“Our goal for the company is to get to know other ballet dancers better and have fun. I’ve been dancing with some people for two years now, and I still don’t know them [very well]. This is a great opportunity for people to know each other, and we would love to put on a longer show,” Delchamps said. 

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