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Brandywine Ballet Co

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities, Ballet, Dance

Mission: The Brandywine Ballet Company was founded in 1978 by Artistic Director Donna Muzio as a semi-professional dance ensemble serving Chester County, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.  Through the Brandywine Ballet pre-professional dancers were afforded the opportunity to perform in a professional setting and work with professional artists.  In 1999 with assistance from internationally recognized choreographer Eddy Toussaint, the Brandywine Ballet debuted Brandywine Ballet Theatre, a fully-professional arm of the Company.  Through Brandywine Ballet productions, audiences are able to enjoy classic and contemporary ballet performances including such favorites as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Dracula and the holiday classic The Nutcracker.

Target demographics: broaden and entertain audiences

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 100 students and over 4000 patrons of live performing arts.

Geographic areas served: West Chester, Pa

Programs: full length ballets, student matinees, summer workshops and master classes

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Brandywine ballet is an amazing ballet company with many good dancers! The dancers try hard and every ballet is always beautiful and many attended! Best ballet company I've seen perform.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It all began with wrapping paper sales. Such is the life with kids and schools and activities. Support this. Buy that. And we did. But by the time the third child brought home the same wrapping paper catalogue, we were ready to just write a check. Forget ordering, just get us out!

I'm not sure what changed or when. One day I'm grumbling about driving these kids from here to there- you know, from the activities that I signed them up for! Then suddenly I discover I'm driving kids who have true passions. Kids who are willing to give up sleep, and school dances, and hanging out with friends. For our youngest, that passion was ballet.

Brandywine Ballet was my daughter's home away from home. Day after day in classes and weekend after weekend of rehearsals. We got our first glimpse of what had 'called' to her when we saw BBC's 2005 production of The Nutcracker. It was BIG. This wasn't just cute kids on a stage at recital. This was real ballet. And it was magical.

We watched our daughter become an incredible dancer because of the training of the artistic staff and the experience of being on stage in those memorable productions. And over the years we supported Brandywine Ballet through the auxiliary and its pie sales, raffle baskets and sales tables. Kind of like the days of wrapping paper all over again! And we bought tickets. So many tickets. These performances deserved to be shared with family, friends and colleagues.

This time I CAN tell you what changed. Our daughter went off to college as a ballet major. We knew then the training she received was everything we thought it was. And my husband became a member of the board. He now knew the cost of those productions and the budget constraints the ballet worked with annually. We wanted to give.

Fast forward. Our daughter returned from college and was back dancing at Brandywine Ballet. Her ballet family had welcomed her back 'home'. Nine months later my husband died suddenly, with the spring production weeks away. Once again, the ballet family was there, surrounding Emma with love and strength and support. And together, we her family and friends, watched the curtain go up on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We were all taken somewhere over the rainbow where the dreams she had dreamed came true as she danced on stage surrounded by those who have shaped her into the dancer and young woman that she is.

Gloria Gaither said 'Memories, perhaps, are the best gift of all'. It is the memories of my husband and I, our children, family, and friends watching so many magical performances over the years that inspired me to give with an endowment pledge for Brandywine Ballet. And perhaps, my gift will help ensure magical memories to the next generation of dancers and audiences alike.

Review from #MyGivingStory

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 3

The Brandywine Ballet is a very great pre-professional ballet company. They are extremely professional and all of the dancers are very talented. There are a ton of performing opportunities and the dancers are able to train under great teachers. The students learn professionalism, dedication, and exceptional Vaganova technique. However, the Brandywine Ballet does need some work behind the scenes. It is evident that there is a lot of favoritism and politics involved. I also can't see the difference between the Brandywine Ballet Company, Theatre, and Trainees. They usually get the same parts and the same amount of performing opportunities and the same dance classes. Some students received more attention because their parents paid more, while other students were ignored. Students are also told not to audition for other summer intensives. Money seems to be a driving force with this organization. Even though there is work to be done behind the scenes, it is without a doubt one of the best dance schools in the area. I would recommend it to serious ballet students, but they should be aware of the politics.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of attending the inaugural performance of Brandwine Ballet this fall. It was a superb presentation of Nancy Page’s rendering of Bram Stoker’s classic “Dracula.” The ballet was beautifully staged and wonderfully danced. I was even more impressed by the response by friends whom I had invited to join me for the performance. I counted among them one review that probably said it all: "I never understood ballet before, but this was incredible!" I've understood ballet for quite some time, in my way. I, too, thought it incredible!

9

Donor

Rating: 5

Where the dance world focuses on the physical appearance of a dancer, Brandywine Ballet emphasizes healthy eating habits and body image confidence. Dancers are taught the basic needs of the body and how to meet the demanding physical needs of the ballet world. Teachers accept all dancers and praise them for hard work, not beacuse they're skinny. Throughout the week there are several classes that offer versatility for every dancer. It is up to the dancers to push themselves to excell in those different styles. Overall, Brandywine Ballet has created an admirable program that helps train young dancers and prepare them for whatever the future may hold.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

As a local B&B Owner, we are alwsys looking for cultural attractions for our guests. Little did I know what an amazing and talented group of dancers we have in our backyard until attending the 2009 Nutcracker performance. My mother was my guest, and she had never seen the Nutcracker before. Wow! What an incredible show. We hope to become regular attendees of the ballet.

12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a member of the community and audience member, this organization is a treasure to watch perform. I was a dance student in my early days and have always enjoyed ballet as an art form.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family and company have proudly supported the Brandywine Ballet Company for many years. With every performance, we have enjoyed beautiful unique coreography performed by dancers who exude elegance and professionalism. The Brandywine Ballet Company plays and important cultural role in our local community by allowing dancers and the public to share in the art of dance at its best.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family and I have attended countless Brandywine Ballet performances of “Dracula, "The Nutcracker," “Voices,” among others. Each ballet is beautiful with subtle changes from year to year. The dancers are incredibly talented, the choreography is amazing, the costumes are beautiful, and the stage sets and music are fantastic. Ordering tickets has been a simple process. And, the programs are very well designed. The Brandywine Ballet and all its components truly captivate their audience. And I love the fact that the performances are so close to home and much more intimate than going into the city. We’ve attended performances at West Chester University, Longwood Gardens, Rose Tree Park, and the Boardwalk Hall in Ocean City (a favorite of my mother-in-law’s because of its Sinatra theme). All were absolutely delightful. Let’s keep the culture in Chester County. Great job to everyone at Brandywine Ballet.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended the Brandywine Ballets performance of "The Nutcracker" with my daughter and granddaughter in December. I chose this performance of The Nutcraker because I took my daughters back in the early '80s and remembered what a delightful experience it was. For me it was the best way to introduce them to "The Nutcracker". The performance was outstanding and the experience was just right - not overwhelming with the theatre and an orchestra. In December we attended the "Nutcracker Tea" prior to the performance. This was a very personal and unique experience. My granddaughter, Margo, was able to interact with the dancers and see them in their costumes prior to the show. This made it even more "special" for her, my daugher and myself. We purchased a "ballet shoe" and had the dancers autograph it. The reading of "The Nutcracker" by one of the members of the Ballet was extraordinary. She put so much into the reading that the children's eyes' lit and so did mine. When it came time for the performance, we were all more than ready to see it. The ballet itself was beautiful and the dancers were outstanding. I have seen "The Nutcracker" w/Penna Ballet Company and I can honesty say that The Brandywine Ballet Company it comparable to their dancers. The performance in Phila does have more glitz and special effects and, of course, the Phila Orchestra is outstanding. But given a chance to see "The Nutcracker" performed again, I would not hesitate seeing it with The Brandywine Ballet Company. This performance is a hands on one for children. We will be there again in December and hopefully will be able to bring some of my other grandchildren that live outside the area. Am already starting to plan for the performance in 2010.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter is a new member of the BBC. I have attended five BBC performances so far and am looking forward to many more to come! Last year we saw BBC perform for the first time at a regional dance festival and we were mesmerized by the beauty of the choreography, the precision of the performance and the grace of the dancers. Since age three, my daughter had been dancing at a dance studio close to our home, but as soon she saw BBC perform, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. Since that first exposure, we have gone to every BBC performance and have been wowed every time! The education my daughter now receives at BBC and the Dance Center (the official school of the BBC) is simply remarkable. Even though we have an hour commute each way, the joy my daughter experiences dancing for BBC and the gains she has made make it worth it. Not only is she growing in her technique and performance skills, but she is flourishing in an environment where the faculty and staff clearly communicate their genuine concern for the overall wellness of the dancers. The individualized attention that the dancers receive is quite impressive. I especially like the fact that my daughter regularly interacts with such positive role models – the accomplished faculty of the BBC and Dance Center, the guest instructors who are renowned dancers from across the country, and the other BBC dancers including the West Chester University students who are pursuing a certificate in dance through Brandywine. All of this hard work, dedication, and passion translate into breathtaking performances. When our friends and family attended The Nutcracker, they were blown away by every aspect – the beautiful choreography, exquisite costumes, gorgeous stage design, attention to detail, and the amazing performance of the dancers. We are very excited to see all the dancers shine in upcoming performances!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

I have seen multiple shows by the Brandywine Ballet Company and Theatre, among them The Nutcracker, Dracula, Voices. The quality of dance is generally good in the older dancers. However, I see no versatility when the dancers perform other styles. All of their performances have the same balletic choreography with little to no variation. If these dancers wish to pursue professional careers, I hope that they are being exposed to different styles and aren't being trained as "bun heads" who aren't able to let go of their technique if need be. Also, personal interaction with some of the dancers has revealed that there have been quite a few experiences with eating disorders. I understand that there is a certain image expected of ballerinas; however, I DON'T understand how such an organization could put the health of their dancers (none of them over the age of 25 and many of them in their teens) as a second priority to a quality performance and a stable company. Of course, this company is very good at ballet and their ballet performances; perhaps the best in the area. I just think that perhaps it needs work behind the scenes.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had the oppourtunity to attend 2 performances last season: Dracula and The Nutcracker. Ordering the tickets online was a breeze. Dracula was amazing. The dancers were flawless. Both performances exceeded my expectations. I wanted to expose my young 4 yr.old niece and 8 and 9 yr.old nephews to the ballet and had a wonderful experience when we saw The Nutcracker. The performance captivated the attention of the adults as well as the children the entire time. They loved it and want to go back for more! Keep up the good work!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The BBC is the finest Ballet Company in this area. We have attended all of the performances for the past 11 years. Each year the show gets better. The dancers are incredibly professional and have a passion for dance. The choreograpy, costumes, lighting, music and professionalism of the dancers is what makes it so enjoyable. I will continue to treat myself to the performances for many years to come.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've attended Brandywine Ballet Companies performances for the past eight or so years and it never gets old! As a dancer myself, it is great to see the growing talent that we have in our local area. I work as a recreation therapist and on several occasions I've been able to bring a group of seniors with varying disabilities to see Brandywine Ballet's shows. The company has always been very accomodating, answered all of my questions and welcomed the seniors back any time.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Brandywine Ballet surpasses expectations on all levels. The dancers possess the skill and presision of movement resemblant of any professional ballerina. It is evident that much time and effort goes into every performance with the intent to satisfy the entire audience; weather you prefer the delightful colors, sounds, and scenery of The Nutcracker, or are more interested in the darker, more sensual Dracula (my personal favorite). The Brandywine Ballet achieves excellence on all levels with its intricate choreography, exquisite costumes, stage scenery, music selection, right down to the flawless makeup artistry. The Brandywine Ballet company puts on an fantastic performance for the entire family in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

People don't exactly know what to expect of Regional Ballet or even know what it means. Brandywine Ballet Company is at the very top of it's game, and has been for some time now. First rate choreography, stirring musical selection, strong, beautiful and dedicated dancers throughout - supported by superb training. It's truly the real deal, but you might not believe it until you witness some of the several annual performances. Dancers and choreographers from around the country come to West Chester to work with BBC because they know the reputation and quality of work. But do yourself and your family a favor and see one of the performances this season - you will know it's special as the curtain opens.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter dances at The Dance Center, the official school of the Brandywine Ballet, and has performed with them in The Nutcracker. The performances are beautiful and breathtaking. The dancers and staff are very serious about what they do and it shows!

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Every performance by Brandywine Ballet is stunning! The dancers all love to dance, you can tell. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful group in WC. The choreography is spectacular. Keep up the good work, BBC. Anyone who enjoys performing arts should attend a performance. Joyful escape!

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

How lucky we are to have such an amazing arts program like The Brandywine Ballet Company for our community. The energy and talent from this group is something normally found only in major cities. With an audience that includes every age and demographic EVERYONE benefits from the talent of The Brandywine Ballet Company. Each show creates lasting memories for each generation to appreciate for years! A true GEM in Chester County!