In the Press

Ballet Bras d’Or Press

Ballet Bras d’Or shows jungle moves
-by Joyce MacDonald – June 2012

Rural Cape Breton’s leading ballet troupe wowed audiences again with their year-end performance of Rudyard Kipling’s The Book of the Jungle. Ballet Bras d’Or students and alumni demonstrated their talents on stage at Strathspey Place in Mabou on Saturday night. The show was directed by Diana Lambie.

The show saw the return of several of Ballet Bras d’Or’s talented former dancers, two of whom are now professionals. Anastasia Feigin danced the role of Shere Khan. She recently graduated from York University with a bachelor of fine arts in dance. She will soon be heading to Argentina for a stint as an artist in residence. Leah Lambie returned to play Mowgli. She recently graduated from the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts with a dance teacher’s diploma. Whycocomagh’s Cassie Ehler returned to play the Red Flower, and Briana Covey danced the role of Bagheera. All four of these dancers brought a level of ability to the stage that was a joy to watch.

The younger dancers shone as well. Julie Bartlett and Mia Nishi Gyorfi were striking as Father and Mother Wolf. Dorena Brownstein gave only a small taste of bear-influenced dancing as Baloo. The dancers who played monkeys provided lots of charming energy and were fun to watch. Sofia Brownstein did a commendable job as Young Mowgli. The wolves and wolf cubs were by turns cute and eerie.

Ballet Bras d’Or will be offering a six-week summer dance workshop at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, starting on July 13th. It will focus on jazz, ballet, technique and pointe.

Ballet Bras d’Or’s Winter’s Dreaming was quite a dance
The Inverness Oran June 10 2009
By Joyce MacDonald

Ballet Bras d’Or presented their 6th annual dance show at Strathspey Place in Mabou on June 6th. The show, Winter’s Dreaming, was an original choreography by troupe director Diana Lambie and her husband Robert Lambie. A lonely young girl named Winter, too shy to join a group of young skaters, dances with snowflakes, ravens, trees, snow princesses and the moon and sun. She learns not to be afraid.

Talented young dancer Rachelle Aucoin played the role of Winter with grace and spirit. Julia Curly, Mac Collasius, Zoe Collasuis, Kiera Doyle, Jeslyn doyle, Jessie MacKinnon, Lynn MacKinnon, Emma MacKinnon, Leah Burns, Sarah McGinnis, Elizabeth McGinnis, Ginnette Michaud, Molly Peart, Sophia Brienstien and Dorena Brienstien were very cute as a lively group of skaters on a pond.

Ballet Bras d’Or offers lessons in Inverness, Middle River, Belle Cote, and Port Hawkesbury, and their dancers come from many of the surrounding areas.

Soloist Briana Covey as the Moon and Leah Lambie as the Sun were both impressive dancers.

Jessy Watson, Hailey Fraser, Leah Lambie and Briana Covey did a nice job as the Snow Princesses who help Winter on her journey.

Michelle Kehoe, Julia Bartlett, Danielle Knott, Nicole Meagher, Katlynn Van Tassel, Sarah MacEachern, Holly Barss, Jennifer Barss, Jade Lowe, Anita MacIver and Lindsay Power entertained as trees and snowflakes that catch Winter in a snowstorm.

Leah Lambie, Briana Covey, Jessy Watson, Sheryl Peart, Molly Peart, Laura Peart, Debbie Peart, Veronica Brienstein, Sophia Brienstein and Dorena Brienstein played a flock of helpful ravens.

The evening was very entertaining and inspired some of the younger audience members to dance in the aisles at the Strathspey Place after the show was over.

Ballet Bras d’Or Presents: The Malachite Palace
By Frank MacDonald

Ballet Bras d’Or presented its annual spring concert on Saturday evening with a performance of The Malachite Palace by Alma Flor Ada.

With a cast of more than 40 dancers under the direction of Diana Lambie, the dancers presented the story of a Princess (Jessy Watson) who is not allowed to play with or listen to the sounds of children playing beyond the palace walls.

Her strict upbringing, enforced and reinforced by the Queen (Anastasie Feigin) and her governess (Jeannie Beks) shelters the Princess from the world beyond.

Into that world enters The Bird (Rachelle Aucoin), its song soon smothered inside a cage, where it remains until it is set free to sing again, and in the process sets the Princess free.

The Malachite Palace presented an opportunity for the Ballet Bras d’Or students to showcase the many stages of talent from the youngest, newest members of the troupe to the graceful movements demonstrated by the dancers performing as the malachite (Leah Lambie, Brianna Covey and Cassie Ehler).

Each of the past five years, Diana Lambie’s Ballet Bras d’Or has presented a major production at Strathspey Place. A remarkable achievement at any time, it is more so considering that Lambie’s students are scattered across western Cape Breton. She is able to instruct different classes in different communities weekly, but the entire cast that took the stage at Strathspey Place, while they had learned their choreographed roles earlier, were brought together like pieces of a puzzle to work together and rehearse the whole production on Saturday afternoon, leading the Saturday night performance which was a unity of music and dance, of timing and expression.

A Night at the Ballet was a Moving Entertainment
By Rankin MacDonald, June 7, 2006

How wonderful to be able to take a flock of ducklings and turn them into beautiful, dancing swans. Such was the case on Saturday night at Strathspey Place when Ballet Bras d’Or presented the ballet, The Book of the Jungle. It was an evening of delight.

To watch what Diana Lambie (teacher and choreographer) and her many helpers accomplished was a joy, and we all should be so thankful to have ballet finally being taught to the youth of our area.

The young people, and even the older players, but especially the young were all exceptional and professional in their performance of this heart-warming tale.

It is impossible to praise those people who were responsible for this exceptional production enough because of the amount of work to put on a production of this value must have been enormous. The result was an evening that will long be remembered by all who came out on Saturday night.

The story of a cub being brought up by wolves and the relationships and laws in the jungle was easily grasped by the audience as the dancers went through their beautiful paces.

All the dancers were wonderful, and the principle dancers should be proud of the performance they gave. The costumes were also a wonder to behold.

The music and slide arrangements were done by Robert, Cora and Leah Lambie, and the narration was perfectly handled by Robin Harrison. So many helped make this production come alive, and everyone deserves a bouquet of flowers for their hard and beautiful work and for giving our children the wonderful gift of ballet. We are fortune to have Diana Lambie teaching our children ballet and for giving them the self-confidence to dance so beautifully.

We can’t praise everyone who brought us The Book of the Jungle enough.

Beauty of Dance Brought Once Again to Strathpey Place: Local Dancers Work with Professional Troupe.
by Shelly-Merry Aucoin – The Inverness Oran – November 30th 2005

The students of Ballet Bras d’Or were once again treated to two special dance workshops put on by the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada during their recent visit to Strathpey Place. The professional dance troupe was in Mabou on November 12th to perform Amadeus, the chronicle of Mozart’s life and genius. Ballet Bras d’Or’s students are able to take part in a workshop given at the Inverness Center of the Arts on Friday, November 11th by three of the company’s professional dancers, Louis- Phillipe Dionne, Evelina Shushko and Yuriko Minami. The next day, students were given instruction by the company’s artistic director, Igor Dobrovolskiy. This was the third opportunity for Ballet Bras d’Or to work with the professional company.

by Frank Mac Donald, The Inverness Oran, June 2003

Ballet Bras d’Or featuring the talents of 60 young Cape Breton dancers played to a virtually sold out Strathpey Place on Saturday evening. The ballet company’s Spring Gala featured young dancers from Baddeck, Middle River, Cheticamp, the Margarees, Wagmatcook, and Sydney Mines. The Gala which presented 10 dances, including a two- act adaptation of Lewis Carrol’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND, Carole Chisholm of Nevada Valley, the show’s producer, explained that Ballet Bras d’Or’s artistic director and choreographer Diana Lambie, who operated a school in Boston area moved to Baddeck a dozen years ago when she agreed to teach children in Middle River. Not long after, Karen Ann Campbell, a Highland dance instructor in Sydney Mines wanted her students to benefit from ballet instruction. She approached Lambie. Beginning last year, Lambie began offering ballet instruction to students in six communities each week. Saturday’s production brought hundreds of people to the performance centre. “the show was consistent with the things we want to do with Strathpey Place Carole Chisholm explains, “We want to make it culturally international. The popularity of the Ballet Bras d’Or’s instruction to students in communities throughout rural Cape Breton, thanks to Diana Lambie’s commitment to the art form, means that future productions featuring local dancers are certain to become a fixture in the cultural landscape of the island.

Journey to the Stars
Duxbury Clipper Thursday, July 2, 1981

Last Friday and Saturday nights a crowd of over 300 people at DHS were taken on a celestial journey with Ballet Bizarre’s presentation of Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince.

The Little Prince was a 4-act ballet-theatre presentation which was a sheer delight for people of all ages. The cast of The Little Prince is made up of local people ranging in age from 7 to adult. They study at the school of “Ballet and Jazz in Duxbury” under the direction of Diana Day. She has been teaching in Duxbury at The First Parish Church on 3A for a little over a year. This is the second presentation for her, having done “Alice in Wonderland” last year at DHS. Diana’s superb dancing is only surpassed by her admirable ability to teach her talent to others and is reflected in the quality show that is presented. In the show we are taken from the Sahara in Africa to the Little Prince’s own planet and throughout the galaxies in a most ingenious fashion.

The first act opens with a pilot (Robert Lambie) in the desert after a forced landing in his plane. He meets the extraordinary Little Prince wandering alone in the desert. The Little Prince, portrayed by Victoria Chruz, made one feel she had jumped from the pages of Exupery’s book. The Little Prince asks the pilot to draw him a sheep. The sheep, danced by Ciel Caldwell, Jennifer Burke and Diedre Carter, were the smallest members of the troupe and were adorable.

We are then taken back to the Little Prince’s planet where we learn of the solitary Rose (Katie Reagan) he loves. Miss Reagan’s rendition showed good acting expression and meritoriously portrayed such a delicate and beautiful flower. We also see the glorious sunsets on his planet and learn how the Rose torments the Little Prince with her vanity and causes him to depart his planet with the aid of a flock of birds (Catherine Olson, Jeannine Phillips, Lori Bradbard, Emily Hagan, Rebecca Reardon, Jessica Kelly, Erica Chruz, Christa Reagan, Katy Ghiorse, Allison Haight and Marcie Cushing.)

We are aided on our interplanetary journey with a most spectacular array of props, costumes and dancing. The Little Prince learns about life on the other planets with the help of the King (Robert Watson), the Drunk (Kimberly Cecca), the Geographer (Suzanne Frazier), the Businessman (Paula Nappellio), the Lamplighter (Diana Day) and the Vain (Rebecca Taber). Miss Taber’s dancing of the conceited man was very well done.

In Act III we are introduced to the slithering body of Kimberly Cecca as the Snake who will eventually aid the Little Prince in his journey home. Miss Cecca gave an excellent performance throughout the show and was very entertaining to watch.

The Little Prince then meets the 3-Petals Flower (Susan Quay). Susan’s solo showed what a budding talent awaits us in the future. The Little Prince then finds that his precious Rose is not so unique in appearance after all. On earth there are many Roses. He learns the significance and meaning of his relationship with the Rose after befriending a Fox (Diana Day)….. showed her true dancing ability … much to the delight of the audience.

The final scene, “In the Stars,” with … cast members, was truly a cosmos finale. Other members are Katie Frazier, Lisa Swanson, Marilyn…. Olson, Carol Bloodgood and Mimi Donahue.

My hat’s off to Robert Lambie, seeing him switch from stage debut to sound man – certainly extraordinary. The visual effects (done by Susan Lambie, Greg Millerm Walter Shramer, Steve Cicco and James Lambie), costume design (Diana Day), choreography and music arrangements were of the highest quality. This unique production of slides, theatre, … not only displayed the artistic talents and energies of Diana and Bob Lambie, but… audience the extraordinary experience… forth the child that lives in us all.


  • Posted on 22. October 2012
  • Written by V. Bergmann
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