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New Rochester ballet academy planned

After several years as a guest director for Rochester ballet productions, Allen Fields, former director of the Minnesota Ballet, is opening his own ballet academy here.

"The time is now," Fields said in announcing the establishment of Allen Fields Classical Ballet & Training . "Rochester is really ready for this. It's a great dance community. There's a lot going on. But what it doesn't have is a true professional ballet company."

Ultimately, Fields said, he'd like to present professional-level, full-length productions with a Rochester-based ballet company.

"But doing that starts with education," Fields said. "Am I hoping these kids have the potential as professionals to step in? Absolutely."

Fields will offer one-on-one instruction and group classes, aimed at advanced students, ages 11 and older. Interested students and their parents must complete an initial 90-minute evaluation session with Fields.


Classes begin Aug. 22, but before that, Fields is offering free ballet workshops at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 18, 6 p.m. Aug. 19 and 1 p.m. Aug. 20. Workshops and classes will be held at Jets Dance Studio, 2440 Clare Lane N.E., Rochester. The program includes a guest instructor from New York, the opportunity to travel to instruction in New York, and potential roles in Minnesota Ballet productions.

Fields is artistic director emeritus of the Minnesota Ballet. He resides in Duluth but also has a place in Chatfield. In recent years, he has traveled to Rochester to direct productions for the Children's Dance Theatre, including "Alice in Wonderland" last winter. He has also directed and choreographed "A Midsummer Night's Dream," The Chocolate Factory," "Coppelia" and "The Adventure of Pinocchio" for Children's Dance Theatre.

Through those experiences, Fields said he became familiar with the talent and dedication of dancers in the Rochester area. He credited the CDT productions for bringing a new level of ballet to the community. "I enjoyed working with CDT," he said.

Now, Fields wants to use dance instruction as the foundation for a professional ballet company in Rochester. "Not every community can pull off a professional ballet company, but Rochester can and should," he said.

As for the other dance programs in the city, Fields said, "My principle is not to go in there and harm anybody. I'm going to provide something that's not there. I'm not trying to insult any of the others."

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