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Ballet lifts hope

Fran Ichijo was one of the early supporters of our film, Dancing Joy. As the founder of Hope Garden Ballet, and a longtime supporter of artistic education and production, she knows the power of dance to transform lives. The vision of the film resonates with her own vision of creating great dancers--and great human beings.

Nine dancers participated in the film on Sunday, May 20--and it was our ninth dance company--dancing to Beethoven's 9th Symphony! We were in the Church of the Holy City in Washington, D.C., in the upper room lined with arched windows and rafters and shining wood floors.

The dancers performed to the lively second movement of Beethoven's symphony, with some solo movements for each dancer. A male dancer, Michael "Styles" Stokes, did some partnering with several of the girls, lifting them high over the ground or helping guide them in pirouettes or poses en pointe.

As Lan and Miss Fran composed the dancers' movements to fit the camera frame, the crew tried to keep pace with the shifts of sunlight and clouds. Our Director of Photography Henrik Meyer donned the heavy vest and MoviPro unit to get even more dynamic shots. Graceful bows and a hero shot in the impressive spiral staircase completed the four-hour shoot.

These lovely ballerinas are still quite young--most still in middle school, only two in high school--but they danced with the technique and awareness that has become the hallmark of Hope Garden's Vaganova-based education. We are proud to include them in the wonderful dance troupes represented in our film.

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