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Posts about Behind the scenes

It's curtains for Beyond Ballroom Dance Company

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: January 23, 2015 - 3:29 PM

After a dozen years, Beyond Ballroom, the Twin Cities-based dance company that brought such moves as the foxtrot, the cha cha and the tango from the competitive arena into the world of concert dance, is calling it quits.

The founders of the company have decided to fold up shop after the 2015 season, which includes upcoming performances at the Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis.

“It’s time,” said Deane Michael, founding executive and artist director. “The founders are all moving in different directions — some are coaching, some are doing other things. Now is a good time to put a bow on the time we’ve had.”

Beyond Ballroom was started by seven highly decorated ballroom dancers in 2003.

“Coincidentally, we were all retiring from competition around the same time but we were not done with ballroom yet,” said Michael. “We looked around and said, ‘What’s next?’”

It was a shoe-string operation, with a budget of just $50,000. But what it lacked in resources, it made up for in passion and dedication. 

Company members used their skills to craft and present dances that tell stories at venues such as the State Theater, The Fitzgerald and Orchestra Hall. "Murder at the Green Lantern Saloon," for example, was about the mob underworld of St. Paul.

Beyond Ballroom is best known for its ballroom retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale.” It also regularly performed “Red Ridinghood Suite,” which will be on the program at the Cowles Center, Feb. 13-22.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts to extend Friday hours starting Feb. 20

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 21, 2015 - 5:00 PM

Fashionistas attended a preview of the Italian Style show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Photo by Bre McGee.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts plans to stay open until 9 p.m. on Friday nights starting February 20. It has been open until 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings for years, so the addition of Friday doubles its evening availability.  It is now open until 5 p.m. on Fridays.

Admission is always free.

In the past year the museum jazzed up its Thursday evening programming by featuring local bands, craft beer, games, retro fun, and exhibition-themed events like a fashion show that accompanied the recent "Italian Style," exhibition of post WWII Italian clothing on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

"Thursday's programming will remain lively and very participatory while Fridays will have more of an art opening theme," said Anne-Marie Wagener, the museum's director of press and public relations.

Hours starting February 20: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Av. S. 612-870-3000 or www.artsmia.org

Mick Fleetwood's illness curtails concert in Nebraska

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: January 19, 2015 - 5:02 PM

Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks/ Photo by Courtney Perry

Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks/ Photo by Courtney Perry

Drummer Mick Fleetwood acknowledged that he was feeling under the weather when he addressed the sell-out crowd Friday at the end of Fleetwood Mac’s concert at Xcel Energy Center.

Indeed, we heard rumors that he was getting an IV and oxygen before the show.

On Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., things didn’t go so well for Mr. Flu-wood. He began vomiting  backstage. The show was curtailed by several songs, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Here is what Kevin Coffey reported in the World-Herald:

“Mick is really sick. We don’t know exactly what to do,” Stevie Nicks said, adding that Fleetwood suddenly became ill and was throwing up backstage.

Set to play more than two hours, Fleetwood Mac cut its set short by eight of its planned 24 songs and finished almost an hour early with “Go Your Own Way” and “Songbird,” and they had to call on a drum tech to get behind the kit to finish.

“We’re so sorry,” Nicks said. “In all of our 40 years, this has never happened.”

“It’s really unfortunate,” Lindsey Buckingham added. “We’re really sorry, guys.”

Mpls Photo Center for sale as founders prepare to move on

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 21, 2015 - 3:35 PM

Abby and Orin Rutchick, co-founders of the Mpls Photo Center, at the popular Minneapolis venue. Star Tribune photo by Sara Glassman

After seven years nurturing the Mpls Photo Center, co-founders Abby and Orin Rutchick are looking to sell the business and move on. By next winter they hope to be settled in northern California, most likely Oakland, near their daughter Andrea, 36, and her four children, and not far from their son  Maxx, 27, who lives in Sonoma. 

"We're not looking for somebody just to manage MPC and we'd own it from a distance. We want out," said Orin, 63. "This is an opportunity for a younger person with passion and energy to create a future for themselves and take it to the next level, or for someone older and retired who wants to continue to be of service to the community."

Incorporated as a for-profit business, MPC is unusual in that it provides many of the educational opportunities and community features common to nonprofit organizations such as Highpoint Center for Printmaking or the Northern Clay Center. They all operate galleries that stage regular exhibitions, complete with publications, in their respective fields. All offer lectures, discussions, classes and workshops primarily for adults. They all have studios, work space and equipment for rent or cooperative use. Highpoint and the Clay Center have more ambitious and extensive educational programs for kids, but the basic services are similar in the three organizations.

The chief differences show up in the organizations' basic structures. Highpoint and the Clay Center have boards of directors to oversee their operations, and staff members who seek grants and help stage fund raising events. Their exhibition programs are more sophisticated and often feature international artists and complex exhibitions that require museum-style security and transportation. And both Highpoint and the Clay Center own their buildings.

By contrast, MPC is owned run by the Rutchicks with the assistance of a facilities manager, a part-time staff member, a bookkeeper and an accountant. Classes are taught by professional photographers operating as independent contractors. It's so down-home and personal that Orin even cooks the lunchs and prepares the snacks set out at openings.

"We offer about 25 classes per month taught by 10 different photographers," Orin said. "We try to provide classes that mold photographers from just learning how to use a camera to framing, editing, creating a personal project and then getting them out there to work."

The Rutchicks rent 12,000 square feet in an old brick warehouse into which they've invested "quite a bit of leasehold improvements," including building studios, digital labs, dark rooms, a gallery, storage and meeting spaces. They own the equipment -- printers, cameras, computers, lights and other photographic gear. 

"This was always built to be a self-sustaining entity that survives on its own revenue; it's a revenue generating machine," Orin said.

Even so, they investigated the possibility of transforming it into a nonprofit organization "but it appears to be so complicated to get anything out of it that a personal sale, a for-profit sale, makes the most sense." he continued.

"We have certain things that we make money with, things we spend money for. There's no secrets," Rutchick said. " Nobody is going to get rich but they can enjoy what they're doing. It's like a community center or a hobby farm for photography. Rather than playing basketball, they're doing photography."

Rock 'n' roll photography panel set for Thursday

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: January 14, 2015 - 3:57 PM

What is it like to travel with the Rolling Stones as their official photographer? What are the challenges of getting that decisive concert shot when you’ve got only two songs and you’re standing way back at the soundboard? What are key tips for photographers who are working with music stars and their handlers?

Those topics and more will be discussed at a panel on The World of Rock & Roll Photography at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mpls Photo Center. Panelists will be Twin Cities music photographers Steven Cohen and Tony Nelson along with longtime Chicago photographer Paul Natkin, who has traveled with the Stones, shot magazine and album covers, and has become Buddy Guy’s personal photographer.  Star Tribune critic Jon Bream will moderate. The discussion is free.

The panel is a prelude to the Rock & Roll Call for Entry Exhibit, which opens on Friday at 2400 N. Second St., Mpls. The exhibit features music-related photos by photographers from all over the United States and as far away as Slovenia and Uruguay. Natkin, who took the photo of Keith Richards above,  served as the juror. Cohen received the first-place prize. 


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