Ballet Tour 3/31/2014

FSU Center for the Performing Arts
5555 North Tamiami Trail
GUEST SPEAKER: Iain Webb, Director, Sarasota Ballet

Diane Shaw, LWRWC  Program Chair and Sara Sardelli, right, Outreach Coordinator

Diane Shaw, LWRWC Program Chair and Sara Sardelli, right, Outreach Coordinator

On Monday, March 31, 2014, forty LWR Women’s Club members took a special backstagetour of the Sarasota Ballet. Diane Shaw, Program Chair for the Women’s club organized this enchanting day with Sara Sardelli the Outreach Coordinator of the ballet company.

The morning began with a brief history of the Sarasota Ballet and a little background on the life of a member of the ballet company. The amazing commitment dancers must make to their craft from an extremely young age to the point where they may be ready to join a troupe. Last year there were twenty openings and four-hundred dancers auditioned.

Then Sara led the group through the Asolo Theatre explaining how it is prepped for a ballet performance. She explained how there may be three to five separate casts for a particular ballet. When the ballet is performed over a several afternoons and evenings the different casts each have an opportunity to be on stage.

Asolo Theater

Next stop was the costume department. You felt you could put your hands around the waist of the ballerina’s mannequin and your fingers would meet. The two person staff creates incredibly detailed costumes always keeping in mind how they will hold up under the rigors of a performance.


The rehearsal hall followed. The Assistant Director, Margaret Barbieri, led the troupe in a rehearsal of this weekend’s ballets. After each group performed she gently addressed each dancer individually giving praise and corrections where necessary. The beauty of the ballerina’s and the strength and grace of the men was breathtaking.

Lunch was held in the upper foyer of the theatre. Iain Webb the Director of the Sarasota Ballet was the guest speaker.

 Iain Webb and Sara Sardelli

Iain Webb and Sara Sardelli


He told a charming story of how he came to be a dancer and of his years with the Royal Ballet Company. After retiring he moved into being a ballet master, assistant director, producer and then he came to Sarasota. He has expanded the Company, increased the repertoire and brought international attention and acclaim.

Recently the Company was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington and received favorable reviews. Especially as they were the youngest, from the smallest city and had the lowest budget.

His contract has just been renewed for ten years and his plans for community outreach, a Bachelor of Arts program in classical dance, a new theatre, and an expanded repertoire may be dreams today, but based on what he has accomplished to date the next ten years will be exciting.

Jean E. Muccini