The MiNAPRESS Column

Where To Train. U.S. or U.K.? An Actor’s Dilemma.

Posted in acting, actors, arts, careers, drama, film, journalism, performing arts, stage, theatre, tv by MiNA on June 6, 2019
Mina Rios. Current as of May 2019

Mina Rios, Freelance Journalist, Sonoma, CA, U.S.A

Guest blog by Mina Rios  –  Originally published in May 2019 on U.K. blog page:


Georgia Tuohey

Georgia Tuohey, Singer, Actress, Writer, London, U.K.  Instagram   @georgiatuoblogTwitter@georgiamtuohey


Mesmerised by the young protégée’s powerful stage performance, the audience wept as he took his last breath. Praise every actor yearns for following an acting achievement. Such a capacity as an actor requires an abundance of natural talent, ambition, classical training, and a bit of luck. Typically, a serious aspiring stage actor pursues the best possible training available within their means. More often than not, the aspiring look to the U.S. and the U.K. for superior drama training. To choose between the two, knowing what distinguishes British drama training from training in the United States is important. While acquiring this information, it’s essential to note that current research on drama training is paramount, as the industry has evolved tremendously over the years and yesterday’s news does not necessarily apply today.

In the U.K. (and parts of Europe), classical acting techniques by actors/theorists Konstantin Stanislavski and Michel Saint-Denis are prevalent. British drama denotes action driven stage acting, style, and technique; and is associated with some of the finest actors of our time including the late Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud.

For a time, between the 1930s and 50s, Method Acting the emotion-driven technique developed for screen acting, fathered by Lee Strasberg and inspired by Konstantin Stanislavski’s techniques, was the primary acting methodology taught in American drama institutions. Still widely taught today, but not exclusively, in Method Acting, actors use remembered emotions to find their character’s truth, enabling the actor to “live” the character; often times incorporating improvisation. Some actors have even been known to remain in-character through the duration of a film or stage performance.

A variety of different acting techniques have emerged over the years, several of which are variations on Stanislavski’s System. Many drama programs and institutions teach multiple drama methodologies to provide actors with options in case one technique isn’t working for them. In fact, some drama students over recent years have conveyed certain frustrations with Method Acting – they say they find it limiting. Other popular acting techniques embraced by drama professionals and institutions worldwide include Stella Adler’s Method, Meisner Technique, The Chekhov Technique, Practical Aesthetics, and Theater Games – all of which are described briefly for further reference, at the close of this piece.

British drama does have its distinctions of course. Actors are primed for the stage with emphasis on control, precision, and memorisation of all lines – allowing the actor to bring the scripted character to life – thus eliminating any possibility for improvisation; a common liberty used in Method Acting. Drama programs in the U.K. also impart supplemental training skills in areas such as accents, singing, movement – i.e. period dance, stage combat, and more.

To remain competitive and meet public demand on a global scale, drama programs everywhere have integrated screen acting into their curriculum; a change that has unified more institutions as opposed to differentiating them.

Course work at leading University drama programs such as Juilliard in New York, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and Yale School of Drama in Connecticut, have become far more comprehensive than decades prior, drawing a closer parallel to U.K. drama training in such areas as voice, speech, movement, mask, clown, script analysis, theatre history, and other areas.

Admission into reputable drama institutions no matter where they are in the world (the U.S., U.K., or elsewhere) is highly competitive. Among the most prestigious U.K. based drama institutions are The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and Oxford School of Drama.

Some false generalisations by industry professionals over the years, infer that drama conservatories don’t exist in America when they actually do. There are simply fewer American conservatories in comparison to the U.K. and other countries abroad. Drama training programs in the U.S. are predominantly affiliated with 4-year colleges/universities. The idea is that the four year college degree provides graduates with leverage when seeking employment outside of their declared specialisation (acting); hence the reason two years of course work is spent on required general education.

A little known fact is – the early 1960s was a pivotal time for American theatre. The art form was becoming increasingly important to audiences. Theatre productions expanded from nightly engagements to performance seasons, opening doors for actors versed in international theatre repertory, ultimately leading up to the availability of conservatory training in acting within the U.S. 

A.C.T.’s founding artistic director, William Ball (left), and

Photo by Ganslen Studios; courtesy San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) founded in 1965, is a leading drama institution located in San Francisco’s theatre district. A.C.T. was the first American theatre to win a Tony Award for the quality of its training program and its productions. A.C.T. was also the first independent theatre in the nation to win academic accreditation and the authority to grant a master of fine arts degree in acting.

Geary Theater circa 1980

The Geary Theater, 1980, San Francisco; courtesy of the American Conservatory Theater.

While more than half of the world’s most sought after drama schools are located in the U.S. and the U.K., several outstanding programs can be found sprinkled around other parts of the world. No matter where you choose to train among the institutions mentioned in this piece or any overlooked, yet comparable, the investment in training is sure to provide you with the necessary wherewithal to help you advance your career. What you should find out in advance is – what kind of networking opportunities does the institution provide with industry professionals? Further to that, ask whether mentoring is available to help you market your personal brand, as this is an area drama schools are gradually working on to improve. Best of luck! Break a leg.  

A.C.T.'s Geary Theater following the renovation in 1996

Backstage at the Geary Theater, 1996, San Francisco; courtesy of the American Conservatory Theater.




Acting Techniques

Stella Adler’s Method based on Stanislavski and Strasberg techniques; emphasising imagination in addition to emotional recall. The Stella Adler Studio of Acting has a 45-year partnership with N.Y.U.

The Sanford Meisner Technique based on Strasberg and Adler’s methods; emphasise that the actor “live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.”

The Chekhov Technique – pioneered by Anton Chekhov’s nephew and star student of Stanislavski – Michael Chekhov – is a psychophysical approach to acting, focusing on mind, body, and a conscious awareness of the senses. Students of the technique include Clint Eastwood, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, and Jack Nicholson.

Practical Aesthetics is an action-based acting method developed by playwright David Mamet and actor William H. Macy; inspired by Aristotle, the Stanislavski System, and Meisner Technique, the method entails having the actor commit his will to the pursuit of an action based on the other actor.

Viola Spolin developed the Theater Games approach, focusing on directorial and improvisational exercises for the actor. It is considered to be a major contributor to the improvisational theatre movement in the U.S.


Leading Drama Institutions in the U.K.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London: Graduates: Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans, and Orlando Bloom.

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) – among the world’s oldest drama schools; Graduates: Donald Sutherland, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Chris O’Dowd, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Oxford School of Drama in Woodstock Graduates: Catherine McCormack, Will Adamsdale, Claire Foy, and Anna Galvin.

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art RADA). Graduates: Peter O’Toole, Joan Collins, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Vivien Leigh, Clive Owen, and Tom Wilkinson.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Formerly Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) – Alumni: Alan Cumming, David Tennant, and Sheena Easton.

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School – founded by Laurence Olivier in 1946: Alumni: Olivia Colman, Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, Greta Scacchi, Naomie Harris, Jeremy Irons, Sir Patrick Stewart, Mark Strong, Miranda Richardson, and Gene Wilder.


Leading Drama institutions in the United States & Canada

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco – Alumni: Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Winona Ryder, Nicolas Cage, Benjamin Bratt, and Elizabeth Banks.

Juilliard in New York – Alumni: Adam Driver, Mandy Patinkin, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Robin Williams, Jessica Chastain, Laura Linney, Viola Davis, and Kelsey Grammer.

Tisch School of the Arts at NYU – Alumni: Alec Baldwin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael C. Hall, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Stone, and Martin Scorsese.

Yale School of Drama in Connecticut. Alumni: Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Paul Newman, Angela Bassett, Henry Winkler, John Turturro, Patricia Clarkson, Frances McDormand, and Paul Giamatti.

The National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. Teaches the classical Michel Saint-Denis Technique. Teachings include exploration, writing, studio presentations, imagination, improvisation, “the mask,” and audition preparation.


Leading Drama institutions in Australia

National Institute of Dramatic Art in Kensington. Graduates: Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann, Hugo Weaving, and Sam Worthington.

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts – Alumni includes: Hugh Jackman, and Frances O’Connor.


More Leading Drama Institutions Worldwide

Finland: Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

France: The CNSAD (Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique) in Paris. Considered one of the most selective schools and foremost in the world.

Austria: University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

South Africa: University of Cape Town – Alumni: Embeth Davidtz, Richard E. Grant.


Useful Drama Resources


On with the show. The column resumes.

Posted in arts, dance, events, journalism, music, performing arts, pr, public relations, salsa, sonoma, wine country by MiNA on February 24, 2017

Greetings from the MiNAPRESS news desk…. Since our last post, freelance journalist Mina Rios wrapped up 2016 with the October 26 issue/feature story “Refined Lines” in the Pacific Sun newspaper, commemorating the 10 Year Anniversary of Alonso King LINES Ballet’s BFA Program at Dominican University in San Rafael, CA.

pacific-sun-10-26-16-cover3-lines-bfa-austin-forbord  2-lines-bfa_anniversary_emblem

As we embark on 2017, the MiNAPRESS Column will resume with more regularity, as will published articles in print with a variety of media outlets. To that end, if you’re a professional artist/arts organization, a winery, restaurant, or brewery and have a unique story angle, contact Mina Communications for consideration in a feature story or review. Submit your query here.

In other news, Mina Communications proudly announces its partnership with Santa Rosa Salsa – serving as the company’s publicist/advisor. Santa Rosa Salsa is the pulse of Sonoma County – presiding at the helm of what is an actively growing Salsa community. Regular events and classes include:

  • LIVE Salsa at the Flamingo Resort. Monthly – every 2nd Saturday
  • Salsa & Bachata dancing every Sunday at the Flamingo Resort. 21 and older. Salsa dance lesson included.
  • Bachata dancing every Thursday at the Flamingo Resort. 21 and older. Bachata dance lesson included.
  • Salsa Crash Course w/Irene. Teaching the fundamentals of Salsa to get you confidently on the dance floor. A 4-week class series begins at the start of each month.  No partner or experience necessary. Location: 1808-B Empire Industrial Ct., Santa Rosa, CA 95403
  • Santa Rosa Salsa is also the presenter of the annual Santa Rosa Salsa Festival (projected for October 2017; location TBA) as well as Dancing Under the Stars at Francis Ford Coppola Winery (live musical guests to be announced). Summer 2017 dates include:
    • June 24
    • July 22
    • August 26
    • September 23



Until next time. Live. Dance. And Prosper….

Tagged with: , ,

MinaComm Pressing-on in 2016

Greetings Arts Enthusiasts!

Mina Communications has been keeping very busy since our last posting in July 2015. From article writing to new client generation, the work and results have been both steady and positive. Here’s what you’ve missed and what’s to come….

July 2015  – Pacific Sun – Restaurant Review: “Whip It Good” by Mina Rios











October 2015 – San Diego Reader – Feature: “How Comic-Con Spectators Combat Hotel Wars. The Overnight Game of Woes.” by Mina Rios


December 2015 – Pacific Sun – Cover Story: “Cool Vines” by Mina Rios

12-9-15 PacSun Covr Pt. Reyes Wildflower. Heidrun Meadery




January 2016 – Santa Rosa Salsa client PR efforts for the 6th Annual Santa Rosa Salsa Festival
2016 SRS Fest Banner


2014 salsa fest IMG_9239.JPG











February 2016 – Flamingo Resort client PR efforts for the 25th Annual Santa Rosa Tattoo & Blues Festival

25th Tattoo-Blue logo.jpg


  • “About the Music” Screenplay by Mina Rios completed. More details to come…
  • Mina Communications and New York City based Duvall Productions will be collaborating on various creative projects beginning in mid 2016. More details to come.

Thanks for your readership. As always – Live. Dance. And prosper.

DANCE IN CINEMA. MiNA Recommends: “First Position” (Part II)

Posted in arts, ballet, cinema, dance, film, reviews by MiNA on July 3, 2015
Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Continuing our two-part review of director Bess Kargman’s extraordinary 2011 documentary feature First Position about youth ballet competition, we resume with coverage of Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competitors Michaela de Prince and Aran Bell; and introduce dancers Rebecca Houseknecht, brother and sister Jules and Miko Fogarty, and Joan Sebastian Zamora.

Following Michaela de Prince’s costume mishap/dilemma (in Part I) de Prince sparkles on stage during the 2010 YAGP semifinals, giving a powerful performance that advancers her to the NYC finals. Immensely proud, her Dad states, “Tonight’s performance was perfect. She was in total control.”

Michaela de Prince pictured. Photo by Yaniv Schulman. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Michaela de Prince pictured. Photo by Yaniv Schulman. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Only three days before the NYC finals, de Prince develops swollen tendons. Torn over whether to compete or not, de Prince decides to press forward. Nursing her injury until the very last moment, de Prince shares, “My teachers know that even when I’m sick or injured, I won’t stop.”

Injured and all de Prince delivers yet another flawless performance. After the fact however, she admits, “I was in so much pain afterward.”

Photo of Aran Bell with friend Gaya. Courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Photo of Aran Bell with friend Gaya. Courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Once 11 year old Aran Bell arrives to the YAGP European semifinals in Sicily, he is pleasantly greeted by his enchanting young friend (and competitor) Gaya from Israel. Passionate and full of life, together these young dancers bring an adoring quality to the screen that’s as compelling and irresistible to watch as their dancing. Tremendous performers — are these two dancers, both of whom deservedly receive standing ovations; securing their spots in the NYC finals.

For 17 year old Rebecca Houseknecht of Odenton, Maryland dancing professionally is more than a pipe dream. She shares, “I started dancing just for fun, but now it’s much more than that.”

Photo of Rebecca Housenecht. Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Photo of Rebecca Housenecht. Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

In her final year of high school, Houseknecht admirably juggles ballet with academics and an active social life — all while coping with lingering pressures at home.

Despite fears over an uncertain future (post high school), during a discussion with her parents, Houseknecht puts on a convincing face to assure them they will get a return on their investment in her ballet training.

Once YAGP semifinals are underway, Houseknecht makes some first-hand observations. “People size you up as soon as you get there, especially in the dressing room,” she says.

During Houseknecht’s performance, nerves get the better of her, resulting in a near complete loss of focus. Afterward, Houseknecht admits with a smile, “it was horrible.” Then adds, “No one sees the hard work you put into it.”

As dance mentor Michelle Lees consoles her pupil, Lees recalls, “She was absolutely prepared for this competition.”

Fortunately for Houseknecht, YAGP judges see past her flawed performance and recognize what potential she has; ultimately letting her advance to the final round in New York.

Proud of her student, Lees assures, “She will do much better in the New York finals. ”

Miko Fogarty pictured. Photo by Nick Higgins. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Miko Fogarty pictured. Photo by Nick Higgins. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Photo of Jules Fogarty with mother. Courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

From the Bay Area, we are introduced to brother and sister Jules (10) and Miko Fogarty (12). Adamant about the proper balance between ballet training and childhood, Miko states, “Those that say I’ve missed out on childhood, I think I’ve
had the right amount of childhood and the right amount of ballet.”

Encouraging Miko’s dedication to her art is her ballet teacher Viktor Kabaniaev, teacher/choreographer with Diablo Ballet. So that Miko can devote “more hours to ballet,”  Kabaniaev recommends homeschooling to her parents. With parents in full agreement, the family also decides to move to Walnut Creek, where she can be closer to the Diablo Ballet studios.

“Miko is exceptional student,” says Kabaniaev in a heavy Russian accent. Yet with Miko’s brother Jules (J.J.), Kabaniaev says with less confidence, “I don’t see that Jules is the same case.”

While favoritism toward Miko are clear case points, Kabaniaev does little to help instill confidence in his other impressionable pupil Jules. Instead, Jules demonstrates how painfully self conscious he is around other peers by confessing, “I don’t tell any of my friends that I do ballet because at my old school, I told them and then everyone started teasing me.”

In a later conversation between brother and sister about food, Jules jokingly calls Miko anorexic. Dismissing her brother’s accusation, Miko says, “I love food,” yet with some insecurity she adds, “There’s people who say I’m too skinny and I should start fattening up, but you have to be skinny to do ballet.”

During semifinals, Miko takes a fall and her mother blames herself for rushing her daughter. After Miko is given a second chance to perform, she sways both audience and judges and advances to the NYC finals; as does her brother Jules.

In time, Jules’s mother finally asks her son whether he truly enjoys ballet. To her disappointment, she discovers he does not share his sister’s passion. An understandably difficult conversation between mother and son, yet one that’s far past due.

Joan Sebastian Zamora pictured. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Joan Sebastian Zamora pictured. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Originally from Colombia, 16 year old Joan Sebastian Zamora, of Queens, New York, is an ambitious ballet student of mentor Flavio Salazar, whose hope is to one day join the Royal Ballet.

Inspired by his mother, a former ballet dancer, Zamora states in broken English, “My dream is being a professional ballet dancer.” He then adds, “So many dancers would like to have a career but very very few succeed. Ballet is very, very expensive.”

While Zamora speaks long distance over the phone with his father, he is reminded of certain harsh realities back home. “There’s nothing for you to do here in Columbia,” says his father, referring to the widespread poverty and work shortage.

As a teenager under the obligation of having to help support his family back home, the amount of pressure is inconceivable. Despite this, Zamora admirably demonstrates his maturity and commitment by doing what’s in the best interest of his family.

Focused on what he must accomplish at the YAGP semifinals, Zamora puts on a flawless performance; making his family and mentor proud, Zamora advances to the NYC finals.

Following the semifinals, Zamora returns home to Cali, Columbia. As we are introduced to Zamora’s mother, we learn that ballet is an unusual pursuit for most boys, yet his mom insists that ballet was a means of keeping her son off the streets.

Joan Sebastian Zamora at home in Columbia. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Joan Sebastian Zamora at home in Columbia. Provided courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Now a role model himself, Zamora is honored to serve as his younger brother’s inspiration to dance one day.

Easing his little brother into ballet, Zamora teaches him first position; one of the film’s most endearing scenes, when Zamora leads his brother into plié, in turn out.

During YAGP finals at the New York City Center judgment looms. While some dancers from around the globe give spectacular performances, others shed tears and endure inevitable disappointments.

To get a sense for what some judges are looking for during the competition, one judge states, “We’re looking for that hunger and need to dance; talent that will be exceptional 10 years from now.”

Once the final results are in, competitors (by division) are asked to take the stage.

From the 9-11 year old division, Aran Bell receives highest honor with Best Overall while his friend Gaya receives a Bronze Medal in the Women’s category.

From the Women’s 12-14 year old division, Miko Fogarty receives a Bronze Medal, while Michaela de Prince receives a scholarship to the ABT/Onassis School.

Though Rebecca Houseknecht does not place in the competition or receive a scholarship, two months following YAGP finals however Houseknecht is offered a position with the Washington Ballet.

As for Joan Sebastian Zamora, he is the proud recipient of a Royal Ballet scholarship and becomes the first Colombian student to attend the Royal Ballet school. Relishing his accomplishment he says, “This is my dream. My life’s gonna change.”

Inspiring and thought provoking on so many levels, “First Position” stands tiers above the bar —in the dance film genre. If you’re a dancer or a parent of an aspiring dancer, this is essential viewing. Even if you’re not a dancer — prepare to be both entertained and enlightened.

Courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Courtesy of Bess Kargman, First Position Films, LLC.

Until next time – Live. Dance. And Prosper.

Bolshoi Live on Stage and On Screen

Posted in arts, ballet, cinema, dance, performances, reviews by MiNA on March 20, 2015


Bolshoi Ballet LaBayadere

Photo provided courtesy of Zellerbach Hall on behalf of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Over the course of the Bolshoi’s restoration project, one of the company’s greatest gifts to its global audience was their extended world tour that began in the US in June 2009. Under the artistic direction of Yuri Burlaka, Bolshoi’s first stop in the US was in the San Francisco Bay Area; where I had the privilege of seeing Yuri Grigorovich’s full-length version of “La Bayadere,” live on stage at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.

A seldom performed ballet within the US, the Sunday matinee on June 7, featuring the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Bolshoi conductor Pavel Klinichev, was at full capacity.

Utter silence blanketed the auditorium in anticipation, until first notes of Ludwig Minkus’ intoxicating ballet score filled the room.

As the male lead Solor, Alexander Volchkov was superb. Commanding and majestic, the audience gasped the moment Volchkov soared through the air during his powerful grand entrance.

Impossible to not notice was the abundance of male dancer roles; each one exuding extreme masculinity — very typical of Russian ballets.


Nadezda Gracheva as Nikiya. Photo by Damir Yusupov. Provided courtesy of Zellerbach Hall on behalf of Bolshoi Ballet.

As the female lead Nikiya (the temple dancer) and Solor’s love interest, Nadezda Gracheva was radiant; as was Ekaterina Shipulina dancing the role of Gamzatti, Solor’s betrothed — by arrangement.

One slight faux pas during Shipulina’s first solo — which could have gone terribly wrong, was her foot becoming tangled in her long veil. Showing not even the slightest hint of concern; Shipulina simply went about her sparkling tour jetés and grand jetés, as if nothing had happened.

During Act II, the engagement celebration, the highly anticipated dance of the Golden Idol was a smashing success. Covered in gold body paint, Denis Medvedev’s athletic and charismatic performance was extraordinary.

Only on one occasion during the program was the music timing slightly off with the dancing; not necessarily the fault of the dancers, as it’s the job of the ballet conductor to ensure the music is precisely synchronized with each movement.

Act III — the Kingdom of the Shades was a transcending experience. To hear the familiar adagio live as the glowing corps de ballet perform the famous port de bras that repeats across the stage, was to be transported into a dream state. At the close, Volchkov and Gracheva’s pas de deux was breathe-taking, triggering a thundering applause that saw no end.


To see Bolshoi live on stage in one’s lifetime, it is simply a must. Although when live performance is beyond one’s means, there is at least one alternative. Thanks to local independent cinema and advancements in digital technology — the big screen is the next best outlet for viewing live stage performance. Now in its fifth season, Bolshoi LIVE is a cinematic experience no dance enthusiast should miss.

More than a cost effective means of captivating new audiences, dance in cinema is one sure way for companies to reduce their annual tour cost; a likely reason why Bolshoi’s 2014 tour to the US was limited to Washington DC and New York City only.

Under the current artistic direction of Sergei Filin, Bolshoi Ballet has become a leading presenter within the dance in cinema genre.

Bayadere-photo by Damir Yusupov

Photo by Damir Yusupov. Provided courtesy of By Experience on behalf of Pathe Live and Bolshoi Ballet.

On December 7, 2014, Pathé Live  presented Yuri Grigorovich’s “La Bayadere” via distributer BY Experience; a pre-recorded production from the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, digitally streamed to cinemas across North America.

For the local presentation of the ballet, I attended the December 10, 2014 evening performance at the Sonoma Wine Country Rialto Cinema in Sebastopol, California.

An eager, culturally diverse audience turned out for the 2 hour/45 minute performance featuring new costumes and set design and such renowned artists as Svetlana Zakharova (Nikiya), Maria Alexandrova (Gamzatti), and Vladislav Lantratov (Solor).

The scene opened to a foreground filled with towering exotic tree limbs and male slaves dancing about the sacred fire; after which, Lantratov (Solor) leaps on stage like a graceful Gazelle.

As the striking prima goddess herself entered, Svetlana Zakharova (the temple dancer Nikiya), wearing pantaloons, a simple midriff top, and worn toe-shoes (perhaps for sentimental reasons), all eyes were fixated on her.

LA BAYADERE ©Damir Yusupov

Photo by Damir Yusupov. Provided courtesy of By Experience on behalf of Pathe Live and Bolshoi Ballet.

The portrayal of undying love between Lantratov and Zakharova was convincing in every way, as the dancers brought life to their characters with every heartfelt movement.

Also dancing impeccably was Maria Alexandrova — as Gamzatti — the perfect foil to Zakharova’s Nikiya — showcasing her wonderfully explosive grand jetés.

During Alexandrova’s time on stage, one slight deterrent stood out; the young entourage that accompanied her. No doubt these students were highly skilled dancers; what was unfortunate was the galumphing choreography and unflattering costumes given to these youth who would likely have preferred simple boring choreography to the simply embarrassing movements they were given.

In Act II, costumes seemed to take-on a more Egyptian appearance than Indian. And the dance of the Golden Idol, though technically spot-on, charismatics fell short.

One particularly spectacular highlight was Alexandrova’s furious fouettes, without question — the fastest I had ever seen.

Act III was pure magic — start to finish. As Solor turned to Opium-infused dreams and 32 corp de ballet dancers appeared as mirror images of his beloved Nikiya, time stood still.

At the close, a tutu perfect pas de deux (down to Lupkhova’s shiny new pointe shoes), prompted that ever so glorious and distinct Russian applause from the Moscow audience. As contagious enthusiasm spread to onlookers within the wine country cinema, satisfied spectators left the theatre with smiles upon smiles.

Coming Soon


Equal to the cost of an average rush ticket, ballet enthusiasts throughout North America have the opportunity to view another Yuri Grigorovich classic at their local independent cinema:

“Ivan the Terrible” (Live in Moscow) — Sunday, April 19, 2015

To learn more, visit:

Bolshoi Ballet: Through the Years

Posted in arts, ballet, dance, journalism by MiNA on March 18, 2015


Grand as its name implies — the great neo-classical Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow is a spectacle whose glory and rich heritage spans over two centuries. Home of the premier Russian ballet company, the Bolshoi Ballet is one of the largest dance companies in the world, employing more than 200 dancers.

While Bolshoi Ballet’s talent lineage is far reaching, so too is its link to controversy over the last few decades; dating back to the 1980s Cold War, during which Soviet artistic director Yuri Grigorovich was at the helm. Rumors of corruption over matters varying from casting and compensation to bribery and coercion raged; creating political divide between Grigorovich loyalists and dancers and teachers favoring that he step down — which eventually occurred in 1995.


First intentions to begin company reform began with artistic director Alexei Ratmansky (2005 to 2008), whose credit includes leading Bolshoi into its golden era — artistically. Following Ratmansky’s resignation in 2008 (due to lingering internal corruption), Yuri Grigorovich returned to assume a directorial role within Bolshoi (where he remains today) to oversee revivals of his ballets; meanwhile — three different artists have held the artistic director title since Ratmansky — including: Yuri Burlaka (2009 -2011), Gennady Yanin (2011), and Sergei Filin (2011 to the present).

Dedicated to instilling further positive change within the company, Filin’s directorial contribution thus far includes introducing contemporary European ballets to the company’s repertoire and recruiting dancers from outside of Russia; i.e. David Hallberg.  Sadly however, scandal in January 2013 cost Filin to nearly lose his eyesight after a soloist, unhappy with the way in which Filin was running the company, ordered an attack on him. Since this near tragedy, the company remains under a fine microscope.

While 2005 marks the beginning when administrative restructuring and efforts to combat impropriety within the Bolshoi Ballet became objectives within the institution, this period also marks when Bolshoi Theatre’s massive reconstruction project began.

Lasting through 2011, the Bolshoi Theatre sustained a thorough interior/exterior overhaul from the foundation up, resulting in the restoration of its original architectural design and legendary acoustics lost during Soviet occupation. With new spaces added, new state-of-the-art technological equipment, and an expanded orchestra pit for up to 130 musicians, the complete grandeur of the Bolshoi has now been fully restored.

Wrapping up the 2014/2015 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Season, the next MinaPress column features:   REVIEWS OF “LA BAYADERE” LIVE AND IN CINEMA

Provided courtesy of By Experience for Pathe Live

Kitchen Choreography

Posted in arts, ballet, careers, Chef, culinary, dance, florida, miami, new york, tv by MiNA on December 18, 2014

1-photo-001Truth be told that a dancer’s creative appetite sustains an everlasting pirouette motion; hence the reason why a continuum in artistic practices during one’s post dance career, remains all the more important for mind, body, and soul to thrive.

Little known fact, but there’s a particularly sweet second career path in which former dancers can mindfully indulge their inner artist with the forbidden fruit of yesteryear while savoring delicious long-term benefits. Perhaps one of the best-suited post-dance career trades around, kitchen choreography — or rather — the culinary arts have a bountiful many parallels to dance.

While teaching dance and choreography are traditional À la Seconde career outlets for many former pros, alternatives to the norm will forever reign in demand. The proof is in the existing numbers of dancers who have long surpassed their culinary taste tests and blossomed into some of today’s most esteemed chefs.

Dancers intrigued by this revelation need not worry about culinary proficiency upon entering the trade. As long as there’s a clear commitment and earnest desire to learn, aspiration can transform reality.

Whether an aspiring chef de cuisine (executive chef) or pâtissier (pastry chef), it’s the swift and the disciplined who make it into the kitchen spotlight, exercising their supreme creative potential.

Photo by Simon Hare

Chef Michelle Bernstein. Photo by Simon Hare.

The kitchen — though a vastly different stage setting – similar binding ingredients (to dance) impact culinary performance; ‘tis the amalgam of talent, coordination, and choreographic innovation (in cuisine) which yield the coveted enthusiastic audience reaction.

Dancers turned chefs with the natural ability to create flavors that dance, are more of a rare breed however, as they represent the extraordinary — those twice graced with the gifts of supreme dance and culinary talent.

One such chef-extraordinaire whose mastery in both art forms has earned her place in the limelight is renowned Chef Michelle Bernstein of Miami, FL. A familiar face indeed — chef is also a former dancer with New York City’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Quite the impressive resume, Chef Bernstein’s culinary undertaking began with the study of cuisine at Northern Miami’s Johnson & Wales University. In developing her own cooking style, Chef Bernstein established her own definitive form of kitchen choreography rooted in chef’s Argentinian and Jewish heritage. While Latin flavors drive her cuisine, an occasional twist on Jewish delicacies and Moroccan inspired dishes get mingled-in now and again.

Well-recognized throughout the culinary world, career highlights include the opening of chef’s acclaimed restaurant Michy’s Miami; followed by her winning of the 2008 James Beard Award, and publication of her cookbook “Cuisine a Latina” in the same year. Chef Bernstein has also appeared on such programs as Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef Masters,” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” where she defeated the acclaimed Bobby Flay in cooking battle.

Specially chosen for readers — for their tasting pleasures, Chef Bernstein has selected a recipe comprised of healthy seasonal ingredients, with one worthwhile splurge of fromage (cheese) for protein. Bon appetite…

A Recipe in Kitchen Choreography: Roast Root Vegetable Salad (serves 4)

Chef Michelle Bernstein Food - Dishes for MicroSoft

Chef Michelle Bernstein’s Root Vegetable Salad


12 asparagus

1 butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch long, ½ inch wide pieces

2 cups small cauliflower florets

8 radishes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 cup grated manchego cheese (protein and calcium rich)

salt and black pepper


3 tablespoons extra virgin oil (countless health benefits)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the veggies with the oil, rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Cut the asparagus in half, radishes in quarters. Toss with vinaigrette and mix-in the cheese.

More recipes from Chef Michelle Bernstein and her culinary team:

Moroccan-Chickpea-Soup – published by

Tajine of Seafood Chermoula – from a collection of recipes for the James Beard Foundation


Posted in arts, events, film, freelance, journalism, journalist, news, tv by MiNA on July 8, 2014

Comic-Con International San Diego Convention Center

Greetings Comic-Con Enthusiasts……

With Comic-Con month now underway, the suspense is likely hard to contain for most. But contain ourselves we must, and divert that energy elsewhere, as things like wrapping-up final costume details and deciding how you’ll spend what limited free-time you’ll have is of the essence.

If you’re anything like freelance journalist Mina Rios, despite exhaustion from standing in line all morning/afternoon at the Con, by days end, the internal craving for further stimuli persists. For this reason, Mina takes time to recoup (and sort through media coverage from the days events) after Con hours at such preferred San Diego hubs as Mary Jane’s, Dublin Square, and Odysea.

This year, MiNA proudly invites Comic-Con enthusiasts to drop by MiNA’s Roundtable (starting at around 7pm-ish nightly) to share their Con experience(s) and get featured in an upcoming MinaPRESS column and YouTube video/slide show. Interested parties — please  RSVP by 7/21.


Mary Jane’s Thurs. July 24th / Dublin Square Fri. July 25th / Odysea Sat. July 26th
San Diego Hard Rock Hotel  Mary Jane's

San Diego Hard Rock Hotel
Mary Jane’s


For the curious — what on earth sparked an arts journalist’s interest in Comic-Con in the first place? Childhood influences include Charles Schulz Peanuts comic-strips;  re-runs of the original Superman and Batman TV Series; classic horror films; and fantasy motion pictures by the special effects master Ray Harryhausen, whom I had the pleasure of meeting during Comic-Con a few years prior.

Having grown up during a time when such iconic, pop culture films as Jaws, Superman, and Star Wars were first released, fascination with these films inevitably triggered a deeper appreciation for the cinematic art form — thus inspiring current practices in screenwriting.

San Diego Gaslamp

Dublin Square

As one who continuously looks for innovation in concepts/characters/and plots (for article subjects and inspiration), it’s impossible to overlook the extraordinary attention to superior writing for the small screen over the last decade. With such programs as BBC’s Sherlock and AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad, the quality generating machine television has morphed into, often surpassing the writing excellence of mainstream film (for the big screen), it’s a marvel to watch and privilege to partake-in through Comic-Con.

Odysea Lounge

Odysea Lounge

While only hours remain before the complete Comic-Con Event Schedule is officially posted, based on event announcements thus far, MinaPRESS coverage will include:




Bates Motel, July 2013

Bates Motel, July 2013

 Bates Motel – Fri., Room 6A

Big Bang Theory – Fri., Ballroom 20

The Walking Dead – Fri. Hall H

The Hobbit / Gotham /The Flash / Constantine  / Sat., Hall H

Grimm/American Horror Story – Sat., Ballroom 20

The Following / The Strain – Sun., Hall H

#  #  #

                                              Until next time…. May the Arts Be With You.


Posted in arts, ballet, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, dance, events, news, performances, publicity by MiNA on May 27, 2014

GOOD DAY ARTS ENTHUSIASTS!…. Announcing as of this date — 20 days remain before the world premiere of Duvall Productions’ Soul of a Blue Butterfly in New York City. With great optimism, we bring you word of two affordable support options that have been added to the Indiegogo campaign — both of which come with perks!


Dancer/choreographer/story creator Anna Duvall

$5 Contribution/Perk: See your name in BLUE! For your contribution, we’ll add your name (in blue) to our list of Indiegogo campaign contributors on the official Soul of a Blue Butterfly website.

$10 Contribution/Perk: See your name in-print!…. in the performance program!…. and in BLUE…. on our official Soul of a Blue Butterfly website.

A small investment by a large group of contributors can go a long way. Help make it happen. Make it real. Share. Support. And feel good about your good deed for the day….

Thank you for your attention. Live. Dance. And Prosper.



Posted in arts, ballet, dance, film, journalism, lifetime, network, news, tv by MiNA on May 26, 2014

San Diego’s best-known Sugar Plum Fairy of California Ballet, Jennifer Curry Wingrove — hasn’t had enough on her plate with thriving constants in her professional life – like teaching and running Pilates on Park and flying through the air (as an aerialist) with the Los Angeles based Luminaro Ballet; no Wingrove had to throw in a “make it work” maneuver for Lifetime TV too. Yes, the Tim Gunn “make-it work” advice did work its magic in Wingrove’s case during her Lifetime production shoot, but we’re actually not talking about a “Project Runway” episode – something else, actually a bit more suitable (pun intended) for a dancer. As of late February 2014, Wingrove began shooting scenes for “Petals on the Wind,” the film sequel to V.C. Andrews’ “Flowers in the Attic;” set to premiere tonight (May 26) at 9pm Pacific on the Lifetime network.

Produced by A+E Studios in association with Silver Screen Pictures for Lifetime TV and starring Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Rose McIver, Dylan Bruce, and Will Kemp; with teleplay by Kayla Alpert (“Flowers in the Attic”); Wingrove says, “Unlike the book, the film will jump 10 years ahead from the events of ‘Flowers.’” She adds, “I also love that this movie is being directed by a woman;” actress/writer/director Karen Moncrieff – who made her directorial debut in the feature film “Blue Car.”

With choreography by the highly sought-after Kitty McNamee, artistic director of the Los Angeles based Hysterica Dance Co., the dance sequences alone, aught to cause a little hysteria (the good kind of course).


During “Petals on the Wind” film shoot. Photo by Jennifer Curry Wingrove.

Story Synopsis (courtesy of Lifetime)

A decade after Cathy (Rose McIver, “Masters of Sex”, “Once Upon a Time”), Christopher (Wyatt Nash, “Pretty Little Liars”) and Carrie (“Bailey Buntain,” “Bunheads“) escaped from their grandparents’ attic at Foxworth Hall, “Petals on the Wind” continues to follow the twisted plight of the family as they attempt to put their sordid past behind them, but soon discover certain secrets can’t be left behind. When Cathy finds herself in an abusive relationship with a fellow dancer, Julian (Will Kemp, “90210”), Christopher and Cathy are forced to face the forbidden feelings they developed for one another while coming of age during captivity. But when tragedy strikes the Dollangangers once again, Cathy returns to Foxworth Hall to confront her grandmother and seek revenge on her mother with a plan to seduce her husband Bart (Dylan Bruce, “Orphan Black”). When Christopher runs to Cathy’s side, the two are determined to start over again – together.

Other recent project’s Wingrove has had her hand-in; collaborative efforts as choreographer, aerialist, and dancer for Luminario Ballet’sTrails” – a multi-media dance/aerial production on the subject of climate change in California, featuring scientific advisory from NASA.


Posted in arts, dance, events, music, news, performances, publicity by MiNA on May 20, 2014
Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions

Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions


For Your Eyes Only Darling…….

The MiNAPRESS Column

Wilcommen. Bienvenue. And Welcome….. Duvall Productions proudly announces — Soul of a Blue Butterfly is now casting for the roles of “Production Contributors.” Come partake in the launch of an artists dream by playing the role you were destined for. Semi-controversial in context — this important theatrical dance production is a rare quality piece which cries-out for your funding assistance; enabling this modest stage production to metamorphose into the international theater sensation it’s predestined to become. Earn a place with your name in the performance program with a contribution of $25 or more and make a visionary’s life work become realized.

Representing what a true crowd-funding effort is supposed to be — supporting independent artists with limited financial means — your participation via Indiegogo is respectfully requested.

Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions

ABOUT Soul of a Blue Butterfly….

The true story of a young Swedish woman en…

View original post 334 more words


Posted in arts, dance, events, music, news, performances, publicity by MiNA on May 19, 2014

Wilcommen. Bienvenue. And Welcome….. Duvall Productions proudly announces — Soul of a Blue Butterfly is now casting for the roles of “Production Contributors.” Come partake in the launch of an artists dream by playing the role you were destined for. Semi-controversial in context — this important theatrical dance production is a rare quality piece which cries-out for your funding assistance; enabling this modest stage production to metamorphose into the international theater sensation it’s predestined to become. Earn a place with your name in the performance program with a contribution of $25 or more and make a visionary’s life work become realized.

Representing what a true crowd-funding effort is supposed to be — supporting independent artists with limited financial means — your participation via Indiegogo is respectfully requested.

Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions


ABOUT 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.


  • To compensate our artists for their hard work and commitment
  • To generate positive/effective media coverage
  • To generate strong patronage for three performance dates
  • To establish our brand and continue building a national and international presence

NEEDS: $5,000 USD

  • STAGING/TECHNICAL: Lighting, sound, stage management, photography/filmography, venue space, rehearsal space, costumes, sets, and props
  • CAST/CREW: actors/directors/musician(s)/admin salaries; transportation; lodging
  • COLLATERAL/PROMOTION RELATED: programs, flyers, website maintenance, advertising/publicity

CONTRIBUTOR PERKS In addition to having your name featured in the performance program, your contribution of the below listed amounts include:

  •  $25 USD – Contributors receive an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster
  •  $50 USD – Contributors receive a CD of the soundtrack (original score by Elin Palmer/music sample: and an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster
  • $100 USD – Contributors receive a tee-shirt, a CD of the  soundtrack (original score by Elin Palmer/music sample, and an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster
  • $1000 USD – Contributors get to meet the cast and receive a tee-shirt, a CD of the  soundtrack (original score by Elin Palmer/music sample, and an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster

Support the Blue Butterflies of the World via


Thespis Theater Festival / Cabrini Repertory Theater / Washington Heights

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) /



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


The Return of BalletMina/MinaComm

Posted in arts, consulting, dance, journalism, journalist, music, news by MiNA on March 2, 2014







Greetings friends… Just checking-in this day to relay that regular Mina Posts will resume starting this month — March 2014. Why now after so long? Long story…. In short — since the Luscious Noise ensemble went on hiatus in 2012 — MinaComm’s publicity project efforts have gravitated more toward journalistic endeavors.The closure of San Diego’s beloved downtown supper club Anthology (Luscious Noise’ home theatre) was a major blow to the community; as no other venue — just about anywhere — could ever replicate it entirely. For this very reason, Luscious Noise remains on an indefinite break; until otherwise announced.

In other news — in January 2014, MinaComm transitioned its website domain from .com to .org; an ambitious undertaking, yet one worthwhile.

Has MinaComm turned non-profit? Well — no not exactly — at least not yet. The subject is under review however. Once confirmed, timely announcements will be made.

As business culture today becomes increasingly dependent on the internet, the phenomenon now necessitates that business professionals of every trade, invest a substantial amount of their time in expanding their knowledge in IT (Information Technology). In becoming increasingly techy in social media and website development —  I find the parallel between being found online and surviving amongst the digital universe’s fierce competitors, closely exemplifies what Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” theory is all about. As such, MinaComm will be integrating occasional IT and social media news coverage to keep readers in the loop about the most relevant technological issues today.

Until next time. Live. Dance. And Prosper.

Luscious Noise ~ June 26

Posted in arts, performances by MiNA on June 17, 2011

Photo by William Zauscher

Luscious Noise ~ the live classical music and multi-media experience featuring members of the San Diego Symphony.

Featured guests ~ flutist Demarre McGill and harpist Julie Smith

Prepare to be scintillated by harp on June 26 during Carlos Salzedo’s Latin inspired “Scintillation.” Carrying on with the harp will be Hovhaness’ “Upon Enchanted Ground” for harp, flute, cello, and giant tam-tam. For solo flute, Honegger’s creamy dreamy “Danse de la Chèvre” will make the mind dance; while Debussy sustains that note with “Danses Sacree et Profane” for harp and strings.

Eyes will then be fixated on “The Red Shoes,” the Oscar winning classic that scored big in 1948 for best music score and art direction. La Divina, the larger than life Maria Callas will also appear on screen, singing “Una Voce Poco Fa” from Rossini’s “the Barber of Seville.” For further amusement — a hypnotic scene from the overture of Ingmar Bergman’s film “The Magic Flute.”

More is in store. Be there to find out.

Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 6pm
Anthology supper club · 1337 India Street · San Diego, CA 92101
Tickets $10 and up · Call 619.595.0300 or visit


Posted in arts, dance, performances by MiNA on January 7, 2011

“The future of live classical music” returns to Anthology on Sunday, January 16. The Luscious ensemble featuring members of the San Diego Symphony will commemorate Twenty Eleven with….

…live dance to the music of Bach
…live music by Vivaldi, Ravel, and Messiaen
…and Rachmaninov’s “Vocalise” performed by soprano Diane Alexander

… also featuring a film excerpt from “Wings of Desire” and footage of baritone Albert Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 7:30pm
All ages welcome. Space is limited.

Anthology · 1337 India Street · San Diego, CA 92101

Tickets $10 – $20 · Call 619.595.0300

More Luscious Noise on March 14th

Posted in arts, performances by MiNA on March 5, 2010

The third interlude of the Luscious Noise performance series at Anthology continues on March 14th with the motif — “Night Music.” Members of the San Diego Symphony will transport audiences to old Vienna as they perform:

· Beethoven’s “Septet”
· Mozart’s “Ein Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Clarinet Quintet”
· Franz Schreker‘s “Intermezzo
· Schoenberg’s affecting arrangement of Gustav Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer”

Conductor John Stubbs, producer of the event says,
“The highlight of this show will be the ‘Songs of a Wayfarer’ by Gustav Mahler. It was arranged for a small ensemble by Arnold Schoenberg for exactly this purpose; being able to present these works in an intimate environment with small forces.”

The evening event will also feature performance footage with….

· Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic performing Strauss’s famous waltz “The Blue Danube”
· Soprano Natalie Dessay’s in her career defining role as Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”
· Jiří Kylián’s breath taking dance piece, “Petite Mort” performed to Mozart’s “Piano Concerto”

Luscious Noise
serves as a means for new audiences to come experience live c
lassical music in a comfortable setting where they can eat, drink, and mingle while they watch the show. Some guests of the November and January performances have even found Luscious Noise to be a perfect outlet for introducing their children to classical music. Children of a mature six years of age and up have proven to be quite content.

Stubbs says, “I have gotten a tremendous amount of positive feedback from audience members who admitted to not knowing that much about classical music. And the members that did thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Luscious Noise · March 14, 2010 at 7:30pm. All ages welcome.

Anthology · 1337 India Street · San Diego, CA 92101
Tickets $10 – $20 · Call 619.595.0300 or visit

Luscious Noise This Weekend!

Posted in arts, performances by MiNA on January 12, 2010
The future of live classical music. Eat, drink, and mingle while you enjoy a rare multi-media performance in an avant garde setting.
Featured artists will include members of the San Diego Symphony and launching their national Sounding Off tour, cellist Johannes Moser and toy pianist Phyllis Chen.

Music selections will include:

  • “Air and Rigaudon” from the “Holberg Suite” by Grieg
  • Bach’s “Brandenburg” No. 3
  • Mozart’s “Divertimento” in F
  • Tchaikovsky’s “Élégie: Larghetto elegiaco” from “Serenade” in C

Visual excerpts will include:
  • Jean Cocteau’s 1946 classic “La Belle et La Bete”
  • Ingmar Bergman’s “The Magic Flute”
  • The Royal Ballet School’s “Peter and the Wolf”
January 17, 2010 @ 7:30pm
Anthology supper club in Little Italy
1337 India Street · San Diego CA 92101
Tickets $10 – $20
Call 619.595.0300


Posted in advocacy, arts, dance, Uncategorized by MiNA on May 4, 2009


Mina Communications is proud to announce San Diego’s 2009 Dance Awareness Campaign/Initiative.

The effort was established in August 2008 to help create more dialog in the San Diego Dance Community, educate the public about the various challenges that exist in the local dance community, and help stimulate year-round dance performance patronage.r

A primary goal of the Campaign/Initiative is to generate enough sponsors to:
• Support the cost of print materials for the dance awareness initiative; i.e. posters, flyers, etc.
• Cover the overhead production cost to produce dance-related public events in August 2009 and beyond
• Finance the Advertising campaign to promote these events

Play a part in the 2009 Dance Awareness Campaign/Initiative
• Become an Advisory Board Member.

• Share your ideas.

• Volunteer. Help create, coordinate, promote, and/or host dance events.

• Help generate sponsors. Earn a commission for your efforts.

Questions/Comments contact Jasmine Rios at

To learn more about Mina Communications, visit

To learn more about Dance Awareness, visit


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