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Oakland Ballet casts an impression

Mills College Weekly

The Oakland Ballet opened its 39th season performing for the Bay
Area this weekend at the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco.
Hundreds gathered at the arts center throughout the weekend to see
the fifth program of the 2003-2004 ballet season. The turnout was
excellent, ranging from senior citizens to college students, and
even elementary school students.

The repertoire program contained four ballet performances. Each
ballet varied in style, from classic ballet with tutus and point
shoes, to modern ballet where there wasn’t even a hint of leotards
or tights. Even though the Oakland Ballet hasn’t made any
appearances at Yerba Buena in over 25 years, it was definitely a
memorable one, with the four performances each differing greatly
from the other.

The most memorable performance was the last one. “La Femme Au
Puits: Thirsting (The Woman at the Well)” was by far the most
colorful and energetic. They had all of the company members on
stage dancing to the ballet version of the biblical story of Jesus
asking for a drink at a well. “Sightings” leaned more toward the
modern style ballet. It involved many of the company’s dancers
dancing in bright pants and long coats.

Another ballet with modern dance was “Lone Woman.” This dance
was performed by only one company dance member in one corner of the
stage. She portrayed an abused woman surrounded by piles of
wrinkled paper with a bench inside the papers. The other dance,
“Huapango,” was the second classic ballet piece with many bright

Jeanine Huebner, currently visiting the U.S. from her home in
Germany said, “The ballet is great.” Huebner also said that she
“wanted to see a piece of American art” before she heads back to

The Oakland Ballet is one of the city’s oldest performing arts
institutions. The company encourages members of Oakland’s
communities, families, seniors, and youth to enjoy the experience
of attending the ballet. The Oakland Ballet offers a 50 percent
discount to members of the military, seniors, and students. The
discount makes the ballet more affordable and encourages more
community members to attend.

Part of the Oakland Ballet’s pledge is to participate in
community outreach programs and hold tours every year. As part of
the company’s pledge to education, the Oakland Ballet participates
in festival performances, school programs, and other miscellaneous
Bay Area events.

“I think it’s important for college students to see arts just as
much as it is to study,” said ballet-goer Zoe White. Although this
is the first Oakland Ballet performance she has attended, she’s
attended many of the San Francisco Ballet Company’s performances.
White also said, “I came because I just wanted to see more

Mills freshwoman Alexi Ueltzen said, “I really enjoyed it. It
was a nice blend of modern dance and traditional ballet.”

Ueltzen is anticipating the next time she is able to attend a
ballet. “I really like that it’s affordable for students. I also
really like that the environment is fit for college students. It
wasn’t too formal so I was comfortable being there,” said