Friday, July 27, 2012

Dance Became a Sweet Addiction [Intern Intro: Tori]

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By Tori Romba, Education Intern

With this being my first ever blogpost, I so desperately want to write something that is well-crafted, witty and imbued with some kind of old-soul wisdom.  Reflecting on my experiences from the past few weeks at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University as the Education Department and Hands Together Heart, to Art (HTHTA) summer camp intern I feel like the above should be easy to accomplish.  However, I am a bit daunted; I’ve never been very witty; instead of “crafting” my words I am scribbling the first draft while riding the train; and, to top it off the only words I can think to start with are from the classic (okay, cliché) one-liner: “Life is a journey—not a destination.”  Well, if it didn’t resonate with most people or wasn’t rooted somewhere in truth, I guess that sentiment wouldn’t be so familiar.  It’s the best I can do so here goes…

… “Journey.”  I’d like to think that my journey albeit relatively short at this point has allowed me to see and experience so much.  If I had to pick a starting point it would have to be when I discovered my voice for the first time in a dance studio.  That discovery came from the electricity I felt every time I stepped up to the barre, the inspiration I found in the artistry of great teachers, mentors and fellow students, and ultimately the articulate language my body could speak when no words came from my mouth.  That’s what dance gave me—a soul, a voice, passion, and curiosity.  I suddenly felt so much closer to the answers of questions like “Who am I?” and “What am I capable of saying in a way that is uniquely my own?” when I was freely exploring and celebrating the space around me.

Dance became a sweet addiction that sustained me while challenging to swallow everything else in my life whole.  Although dance took me to some incredible performances, a summer intensive or two, and to Berlin, Germany for the 2009 Tanzolymp Dance Festival, I still made the hard decision to turn down a ballet conservatory and study in St. Louis for my first year of college—“UNDECLARED” replaced by bunhead identity.  The following year, dance again pinched me awake, and brought me to New York as an Ailey BFA student at Fordham University.  The hot-to-cold transition was invigorating but ultimately unsatisfying.  Once again, I began to feel swallowed whole.  I could say so much through dance but knew I could say more only if I allowed myself to learn more through seeing other places and hearing others’ thoughts. 

Dance brought me back to Chicago—a city where dance is a sometimes a struggling but always changing world.  Now, I am able to continue dancing while earning my bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University.  Studying Human Development allows me to bring other past experiences out of the shadows that a life of only dancing once cast.  I can rediscover the challenges and joys of working with children as a dance teacher; reflect on what I learned about the human spirit while working with the elderly at an assisted living center; and even do the same with what I learned about the human condition while working the drive-thru at McDonald’s years ago.  Now the moving experience of working with children and early teens as they explore the arts and continue to grieve the loss of their deceased parents is the next step in my journey.  My time in the ATRU Education department has been a great introduction to arts education, the world of not-for-profit organizations, and of course the legacy of the Auditorium Theatre.  Meeting incredible young people with so much strength, and working on a staff of passionate artists and compassionate educators has been invaluable.

This summer at ATRU and HTHTA, I’ve definitely learned so much.  I know that I will have so much to say both in words and movement when the summer comes to a close.  That’s why I am so grateful that I’ve been given this chance to combine my love for the arts with my desire to connect with others.  And, woven throughout my experiences are so many phenomenal people and beautiful places that one can only find in Chicago.  It’s become so apparent to me that my journey will never lead me to center stage, and that’s okay.   After all, to echo the borrowed wisdom I began this post with, it’s more about the journey itself than anything else.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Unforgettable [Intern Intro: Rachel]

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By Rachel Wendte

“Be respectful of the space. Pay attention so that you don’t miss anything, and remember to enjoy it all. This is a once in a lifetime experience!”

These words could be spoken to any child about to see a performance. Sitting in their seat, anxious for a show to start, one can imagine a parent giving this talk as the lights dim. In this case, the small speech was given to me and about 25 others, barely above a whisper. We weren’t sitting in theater seats. We weren’t about to watch a performance. We were about to be part of one.

One of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had in my life can be attributed to singing. I grew up in an area with a great children’s chorus and was fortunate enough to be a member for eight years.  During that time I was exposed not only to beautiful and diverse repertoire, but unique opportunities as well.  In 2001 we were asked to be the children’s chorus that sings during “The Waltz of the Snowflakes” in the Joffrey Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. I sang in seven performances that year, all of them at the Auditorium Theatre.

For each performance we sat on little black benches in the orchestra pit with the other musicians.  We couldn’t see much, save the occasional glimpse of dancing feet, but there was plenty to watch down below. Violinists bowed their instruments in perfect tandem, punctuating notes with astonishing accuracy. Percussionists rumbled on their drums, the brass sounded majestic and clear, and flautists tinkered and trilled above it all. My favorite instrumentalist to watch was the harpist, whose fingers glided over the numerous strings. Near the close of the first act, with the snowflakes poised to take the stage, a small door in the pit flew open.  Off we went through a complex maze, with chaperones at every twist hurrying us along. Once backstage, behind the curtain, we began to sing. It was thrilling to think that at 11 years old, I had a real role. I was not only performing, but collaborating with others to create something spectacular!

Continuing to sing in different ensembles throughout high school, I felt that the natural choice for college was to be a performance major. I loved the program, and singing all day was a dream, but something was missing. The opportunity to experience a different side of the arts came from an unexpected source.  My voice teacher needed a Box Office Manager for our university musical that year, Into the Woods. Was I up for it? I decided to dive in, not knowing how I would accomplish the tasks I’d been given, but determined to do the job well. I successfully managed student volunteers, ticket reservations, and box office records for five shows. That same sense of fulfillment I’d felt as a child helping a performance succeed filled me now, and I made the switch to Arts Administration. Having one of the Arts Administration internships here is a joy. While searching for openings in organizations, I was struck by the care and interest that the Auditorium takes in its intern program, and was honored to be selected. Doing something a little different every day is fun and interesting. Learning new skills and assisting in our mission is informative and rewarding. Working here is, in a word, unforgettable.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meet Bourné Sibling #3: Katherine Lee

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By Katherine Lee Bourné

Hi all! It’s me, Katherine Lee, checking in with the next blog post for our Bourné Family: Welcome to Our Home Katten/Landau Studio Series concert! We are totally excited to be performing in the Auditorium Theatre’s new concert venue THIS SATURDAY! Without further ado, here’s a bit about my family, myself, our music, and the show!

I will begin by giving you a run-down of what everyone does. In addition to singing: Mom plays with her harp and tambourine; Liz tinkers on the piano; Chris looks at her acoustic guitar; I arrange our music, struggle with my acoustic guitar and the piano, and recently had the audacity to put my mouth to a saxophone; Paul plays piano; Tim plays electric and acoustic guitar; Bek plays acoustic guitar, piano, violin, a spot of drums, and is embarking on the bass guitar; Ehron plays the flute and a touch of piano; and John plays drums, piano, a bitty bit of acoustic guitar, and just took up harmonica two weeks ago.

I consider myself the middle child of the Bourné family even though there is an even number of siblings. However, I have justification for feeling that way because there are five years between Christina (Bourné #2) and me and then another 5 years between Paul (Bourné #4) and me, whereas the rest of us are a stair-step or two apart, so, that's my validation for middle-child syndrome.  Also, in our house, there are two groups: those born before '85, thereby christened the first set, AKA, the old folks/fogies, olders, or the big people; and those born after '90 referred to as the second set, AKA, the children, youngers, or the little people. Since I belong to neither group, I am kind of like the bridge between the two and everyone's go-to-girl. I do hair, pick outfits, shop, help with work and school projects; you name it, for everyone. I'm like the family consultant. For some reason my judgment is really respected in our house and my help and opinion are always called upon. The solution to every query or unfulfilled desire is, "Ask/Tell Katie." Being in between the age groups, I didn't really have a sibling playmate so Mom was my best friend and still is. I think that's an added plus. My position in the family fits my personality perfectly. I was born for this!

A little something about me: 

Q: Are any of you married?
A: No. But, thanks everyone who thinks we would make perfect spouses.
Q: Does everyone live in the same house?
A: Yes. There's actually an ideology behind why, but that would take too long to explain.
Q: What’s up with all the big hair?
A: Letting everyone’s hair grow out began as a funny experiment in trying to look like cartoon characters and turned into a Bourné trademark. I’ve heard people recall us as…"That big family with all the hair.”
Q: When did you all start singing?
A: As children around the house. Our parents started out the same way and were in band and choir in school growing up and tried their hand at songwriting together.  There was/is always music playing in the house. I remember sitting around the stereo with everyone having snacks after Liz and Chris would get home from school and singing along to old records as a toddler. The first time we sang as a family was at a candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church. That was before some of us were even born. We started travelling and singing about three years ago. We never planned on being a singing family troupe but I think that’s been the plan all along all the same.
Q: What’s it like being in such a big family?
A: I don’t know about being in anyone else’s big family, but I love being a part of mine. I mean seriously, whom would we trade out for whom else or whom would we send…back? Right, so… It’s pretty cool. I always have at least one someone to talk to and if I don’t feel like talking to anyone, we know each other so well I don’t have to say it. Also, for us, it doesn’t seem like we are that many people anyway. By the time we’re all in a room, we stop and count to make sure it’s really all nine of us there, we seem so few sometimes. Of course it’s hilarious when we all go to a store or restaurant together and have to explain that yes we all are indeed together and that no we are not a group of sisters and their children: we are eight children and one mama!
Q: Who organizes the music?
A: That would be yours truly…me!

For our show this Saturday, we are doing a capella/acoustic compilation. We were going to pull out all the drums and what have you, but thought about it and realized that's not how it would be if you were visiting us at home. By opening up our hearts to you in song, we welcome you into our home! The first set will be a tribute to famous families of song, and the second set will be a showcase of our original music. I had the hardest time narrowing down the selections for the performance, but I think you will enjoy everything! Everyone is excited and a bit nervous, but really looking forward to the evening with all of you. Thanks for planning to attend! So, until Saturday…I remain respectfully yours.



Venue: Auditorium Theatre Katten/Landau Studio, 425 S. Wabash
Dates: Saturday, July 21, 2012
Times: 8:00 pm
Price: $35-$25

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Define "Culture" [Intern Intro: Aurélie]

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By Aurélie Rouveyre, Arts Administration Intern.

Seven years ago, I was standing in a theatre looking at a group of almost 30 acting, singing and dancing students on a stage for the first time in their lives. I remember how happy and emotional I felt when seeing all these children express themselves through the performing arts. But, above all, I was proud of having succeeded in realizing one of the projects I cared the most about: creating my own children’s musical. Sharing my passion for the performing arts made me realize that this was probably one of the most important moments of my life; not only because I had the feeling that one of my dreams finally came true, but also because it gave me a sense of direction. I realized that what I really liked wasn’t to be on stage myself, but rather to allow others to perform. 

I danced ballet, jazz and contemporary dance for a long time and I was really dedicated. More than teaching me discipline, effort and work, it was a means to express myself. I cannot describe with words how much dancing brought to my life, maybe because I am a dancer and not a writer, but what I am sure of is that dance was a big part of my life… a personal fulfillment. 

People used to ask me, especially in interviews or oral exams, to define the word “culture.”  And, I think that throughout the years and because I’ve been close to the art, on and off the stage, I did not find THE answer, but for now, my answer would be this: culture is nothing but a means to express oneself, to share ideas and feelings. 

This is why I can’t separate the arts from culture; I can’t imagine the arts without social impact. In fact, if culture is a means to express oneself, everybody should be able to experiment in the arts. I am currently involved in an association called “Astuce-Lycéens” which aims to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds through lessons and art road trips, exposing them to opera, theatre, museums, etc. Currently, this association is giving me the same purposeful meaning and fulfillment that dancing once gave me. But actually, this is not surprising; it is just the logical continuation of all that I have done. After having received so much from dance, I felt a need to give back to others. I want others to also find a way to express themselves and enrich their personal lives.

In my quest to promote culture, I am building my future by taking an internship at the beautiful Auditorium Theatre. Living abroad, in a country like the United States (where I believe people don’t experience culture as easily as in Europe), I am eager to learn more about other ways to ‘manage’ culture and promote it. I love working at the Auditorium Theatre because it has a huge commitment to promoting the finest performances in the word, especially in dance. I have the great opportunity to work in a real open-minded environment where everyone is allowed to express themselves and I am gaining an understanding of how an arts organization works. But, above all, I am glad to be here because this fabulous opportunity allows me to grow and value differences.

Art should be for everyone, I hope I never lose that thought. This is merely because after a long day of working on my projects, I always end up feeling so inspired, this is what keeps me going on.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Till Death Do Us Part [Intern Intro: Patricia]

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By Patricia Morris

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home”, Twyla Tharp

I was eight years old the first time I sat on a seat at a theater. I still remember how I felt; I can recall the smell of the 1800’s theater in Mexico (the country I’m from) and the beautiful sound of the Orchestra. I wish I knew then that I was about to condemn myself to a life-long relationship. A lot of things happened after that day… I began taking dance lessons, I suddenly became obsessed with classical music and ballet, I bought my first tutu, New York became my “dream city,” “The Turning Point” (with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Shirley McLaine) turned into my favorite movie and going to the theater became my idea of a magical escape. 

How did I end up here? Well, that’s a long story. I’m not going to get into a lot of details, but let’s say that apparently dance hunts me everywhere I go. That happens when you find your soul mate I guess. But I needed a lot of time to actually accept that beyond all the years of ‘dating’ and the mixed feelings I had about dance it actually was what I wanted to do. Now, you’re maybe wondering if I’m a dancer, and no I’m not. Not really. Let’s say that I danced for fourteen years, I still dance while I’m cooking and sometimes when I’m in the shower; I sometimes walk like ‘a duck,’ I wear a bun almost 4 times a week, and every time I see the pas de deux of Giselle, I share a couple of tears. I still truly believe that dance may be one of the most honest forms of expression; with just a movement you can relate, encounter, remember and cherish everything you are.

This is getting way too poetic and I haven’t even started with my story, I’m sorry, I ramble a lot. Anyway, I have a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing, because as you can see I can’t seem to shut up, I figured communications was a good way to go. While I was in college I was part of a Contemporary Dance Company; since I was getting too old to become a professional dancer, I decided I wanted to be a writer. After I graduated I worked two years as a kind of arts/show business/culture editor for a Mexico newspaper, I started my first novel (which I haven’t finished yet) and somehow found my way back to art again. That’s how I ended up at the Espacio Cultural Metropolitano as the PR, Communications and Marketing Manager; and I did this wonderful job for three and a half years. At this point, I realized what I wanted to do for a living: be a patron for the arts. Working in a theater always meant for me, being a little closer to the stage; probably this is why I took a Marketing internship at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University. Currently I’m an Arts Administration and Policy graduate student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, trying to make my way into performing arts administration in the United States.

I guess I can’t talk about why I’m here, without referring to that little girl. That single event, which was followed by thousands of concerts, ballet, operas and Broadway shows, made me what I am today.

Sometimes I think how fortunate I am to have found my soul mate when I was just eight years old…

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tickets on Sale Now! [Susan Werner, Micheal Feinstein, Ballet Folklorico, Royal Winnipeg Ballet]

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Tickets are now on sale for the fall shows in the Auditorium Theatre's 2012-2013 Season.  Check out the videos below and buy now for access to the best seats in the house!

On Stage With...Susan Werner 

Dates: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Times: 8:00 pm
Price: $75-$50
Sit on the awe-inspiring Auditorium Theatre stage while enjoying Susan Werner’s ever creative songwriting.  This year's "rural roots" presentation will feature mandolin/string player Andon Davis, along with harmonica phenom Trina Hamlin and lap steel star Natalia Zukerman.

Michael Feinstein with Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra

Dates: Saturday, September 29, 2012
Times: 7:30 pm
Price: $92-$32
Singer, pianist and music revivalist Michael Feinstein will join Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra to honor the Great American Songbook. Performing classic songs that have delighted audiences throughout the decades, these two musical sensations will guide audiences on a journey through some of the most beloved music of our time.

Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández

Dates: Saturday, October 6 - Sunday, October 7, 2012
Times: Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3:00 pm
Price: $74-$30
Journey through the past with Ballet Folklórico de México, performing the dancing traditions of Mexico for 60 years. Credited as the Cultural Representative of Mexico to the world, Ballet Folklórico offers a lively performance that is full of movement, rhythm and technical perfection.

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet

Dates: Friday, November 2 - Sunday, November 4, 2012
Times: Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 8:00 pm, Sunday at 2:00 pm
Price: $74-$30
Get transported to the turn of the century Paris…a city of exquisite contradiction…when Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet performs Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet. Featuring a French music score, high-kicking choreography and a passionate story of love, aspiration and heartbreak, the ballet tells the story of Matthew and Nathalie as they tempt fate while seeking love at the infamous cabaret – The Moulin Rouge. In the spirit of the Moulin Rouge of Paris, Moulin Rouge® is a registered trademark of Moulin Rouge S.A.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Indroducing the Bourné Family: Christina

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By: Christina Bourné
Bringing the joy of music, love, and whimsy, the Bourné Family joins the Auditorium for the second performance in our Katten/Landau Studio Series. The Bourné Family, composed of 8 children and their mother, is a talented tour de force, combining unique vocal harmonies that are often referred to by their fans as “the voices of angels.”

Meet Christina Bourné, 2nd eldest of the 8 Bourné siblings performing alongside their mother in our upcoming performance in the Katten/Landau Studio Series this summer. As a vocalist, Christina is a Lyric Soprano. She has also been a member of Auditorium Theatre staff for the last 5 years in different capacities and now serves as our Interim Director of Education. As one of our own, we could not be more excited to see her make her official Auditorium Theatre debut as a performer. We sat down with Christina to learn a little more about her family and what to anticipate for The Bourné Family: Welcome to Our Home on July 21.

ATRU: Can you describe the different roles you’ve served here at the Auditorium Theatre?
I have definitely worn many hats here! I have worked as the lead musical coach for Hands Together, Heart to Art camp, as a member of the Development team for events and data entry, and also selling for Group Sales. I have served as the Assistant Stage Manager for Too Hot to Handel and the occasional "unofficial understudy" for shows we have on our stage. Now, I have stepped into this position leading Hands Together, Heart to Art Camp this year. It’s all been a wonderful whirlwind!

ATRU: Will you tell us some fun facts about your family?

Christina: There are so many to choose from!  One of my favorite things to do every year is go caroling as a family. We, of course, go around Christmas but sometimes go during other times of the year as well, making up our own medley of songs.

Another fun fact, we write a lot of our songs playing a family sing-a-long version of the game “Telephone.”  We all sit in a circle, somebody comes up with a phrase and it passes from ear to ear, you know, like classic “Telephone,” except the last person to hear the phrase has the guitar and he or she has to create a song based on what they think they heard.  The melody for our song “Darling” actually was created off of this game. 

Thanksgiving is also a riot. We aren’t allowed to come to dinner unless we dress up as some type of Pilgrim or Indian.

ATRU: What are you most looking forward to about your show in the Katten/Landau Studio this month?

Christina: Well, we picked “Welcome to Our Home” as the title because we wanted the audience to feel like they were stepping into our zany world.  We are a fun and loving bunch of down-to-earth musicians, and we want to be able to share our music and our personalities with a broader audience. I think this show will really allow us to do that.

ATRU: Finally, if you could have dinner with one iconic artist, who would it be?

Christina: Beverly Sills, the opera singer.  I truly respect and admire her work. 

The Bourné Family: Welcome to Our Home
Click HERE for tickets and information.

Venue: Auditorium Theatre Katten/Landau Studio, 425 S. Wabash
Saturday, July 21, 2012
8:00 pm

Introducing the Bourne Family: Elizabeth

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