The MiNAPRESS Column


Posted in arts, dance, journalism, music, news, publicist by MiNA on May 13, 2014



Photograph by Howard Schatz ©Schatz Ornstein 2009

Former Cirque du Soleil artist Sara Joel. Photograph by Howard Schatz ©Schatz Ornstein 2009

CONTACT  Jasmine Rios, publicist

619.851.3920 PST

New York, NY – May 13, 2014 – Coming to Manhattan’s Cabrini Rep this June – Soul of a Blue Butterfly; the true story of a young Swedish woman en route to Jerusalem to discover her roots, finds unexpected love. Upon being asked to marry, the Synagogue Rabbi declares Lavana (the story’s heroine) not Jewish enough for an Orthodox wedding. As despair ensues, the struggle of a lifetime begins.

Set in the 1940s, this tragicomedy – elevated by an original music scoreperformed live by Swedish composer Elin Palmer; a lighthearted Charlie Chaplin mime motif; and breathtaking aerial theatrics by former Cirque du Soleil artist Sara Joel, is a rare theatrical feast for the senses for all generations.

Scarred by her parents’ divorce during childhood – Lavana adopts a nomadic lifestyle as an adult – schlepping ridiculous amounts of baggage wherever she goes – until unanticipated events raise self-question. An eternal optimist at heart – sometimes to her detriment; Lavana’s world begins to crumble when she learns she must enter the lion’s den of the country’s enduring civil unrest – to undergo spiritual conversion in Jerusalem’s most Orthodox Judaic schools. A conquest of both courage and devotion – while inevitable challenges surmount, a test of the couples’ commitment comes into question – opening a gateway to self-discovery and ever-changing self-transformation.


CHOREOGRAPHER/STORY CREATOR/Anna Duvall is an artist by design in numerous capacities; graphic designer by day, choreographic visionary by night. Having danced professionally with Colorado Ballet, Ballet Nouveau, and California Ballet; and staged works before Denver, Manhattan, and Jerusalem audiences, Duvall’s keen eye for theatrics is a marvel worthy of notice. Duvall was among the first Americans invited to study at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy; a story which garnered news coverage from CNN and the Moscow Times; and was a full-scholarship student with the Bolshoi, San Francisco Ballet and Colorado Ballet; as well as an invited guest to perform, teach, and train in Japan. Constantly achieving – beginning this fall – Duvall will be attending NYU on scholarship to partake in American Ballet Theatre’s Pedagogy Master’s Program.

COMPOSER & MUSICIAN Long time hipster crush, Elin Palmer of the Lee Lewis Harlots, has finally broken out with her own heart fluttering solo project. Born in Värmland Sweden, her music roots stem back to the folk music of Sweden. Typically hired for her precision with the violin and Nyckelharpa (an ancient Swedish instrument) she is more of a “multi-instrumentalist;” even rocking out some guitar for the newest album.

DIRECTOR/Ben Sargent has performed in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Boston, Connecticut, New York, Baltimore, and Montreal; and is a 2005 MFA graduate from the Moscow Art Theater School. Since 2008, Sargent has been directing original theater such as the Gogol Project, I Heart Chekhov, La Cueca, and Doroga; and has taught at the Lee Strasberg Institute; New GeneRussian; and Studio Six at the Moscow Art Theater, where Sargent is the founder.

CAST MEMBER (Lavana) Jennifer Chicheportiche trained in France with Veronique Chicheportiche; the Joelle et Danielle Besso Ballet School; and the Int’l Dance School of Rosella Hightower – where she later joined the company. Outside of France, Chicheportiche has danced with Italy’s Balletto Teatro Di Torino; the UK’s Opera North of Leeds and the Ensemble Group in Scotland; and Teatro Di Merida in Spain. During transition to the American stage, Chicheportiche performed with a variety of companies; among them — Momix Dance Company, where she remains a current cast member.

CAST MEMBER (Caterpillar/Blue Butterfly) Sara Joel is a known choreographer/aerial contortionist throughout New York and beyond. Trained on scholarship at the Martha Graham School and a BFA recipient – earned with honors from Colorado College – Joel joined Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas as an original Zumanity cast member from 2003-2006; during which her own choreography was showcased. Joel has also been featured in Cirque du Soleil’s series Solstrom, shot by Bravo for Canadian television. As a muse for Howard Schatz’s brilliant photography, Joel was inspired to produce the underwater dance film Rapt (co-directed by Jody Oberfelder) which was presented at the Dance on Camera Festival in 2007

CAST MEMBER (Guard/Rabbi/Grandfather) Sergey Nagorny is a Cum Laude BFA graduate of St. John University’s TV & Film Production program. Further theatrical training includes New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts and a Master Class with Angela Mickey. As a steadily working actor, Nagorny has built an extensive body of work that includes stage, film, and television experience. On the New York stage, Nagorny  has performed in such plays as Refuge, Ask Joseph, Jackson Heights 3AM, The Creadeaux Canvas, Дoroga, Covers and Saida; and has appeared in the short films The Cellar (2011) and J-1 (2012), as well as Season 2 of the FX television drama The Americans.

CAST MEMBER (young Lavana) Makara Tunstall-Runge is a rising young talent whose performance repertoire is more varied than most her age. Tunstall-Runge has performed with the Rocky Mountain Conservatory Theatre; the Moscow Ballet during their Nutcracker season, as well as half-time shows for the world famous Globetrotters and Denver Nuggets professional basketball teams. Supplementing Tunstall-Runge’s current dance training with the Denver School of the Arts, she is a current member of the pre-professional Assembly Line dance company.

CAST MEMBER (Lion) Brian Wicker is a trained dramatic actor of Texas A&M Corpus and San Jacinto College South. Versed in Shakespeare as well as song and dance, Wicker is a versatile thespian whose talents have led him to perform with the Equity Regional Theatre and on the New York City stage. Wicker has also been cast in principal parts for commercials, and played the role of Hunter Storm in the television pilot Polltakers by AMZ Creative.



701 Fort Washington Avenue / New York, NY 10040

JUNE 17th at 8:45pm / JUNE 20th at 9pm / JUNE 22ndat 2pm

Tickets $20 + minimal fee (no discounts) /

GET INTO CHARACTER! Come Dress the Part – in your 40s Best – for entry into our Special Prize Drawing



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