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Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet unveils tutu campaign

Kate Archer Kent

The Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet is marking its 40-year history with a commissioned series of photos that asks -- how do you tutu? The campaign features popular men of Shreveport sporting tutus in creative ways. The ballet’s executive director Kate Pedrotty said at a Tuesday news conference that her organization is trying to rally community support in a unique way.

“We’ve had to become I think a little bit more creative in the way that we fundraise, and we’ve definitely tried to move away from a dependence on grants or other public funds that are available," Pedrotty said.

Pedrotty estimate 15 percent of the ballet’s budget comes from grants. There are 50 dancers in the company who range in age from 10 to adult. The dancers keep up a rigorous schedule of lessons, rehearsals and performances. If they’re successful in tryouts and make it into the company, they must sign a one-year contract agreeing to participate in the entire season of productions. The ballet’s artistic director Kendra Meiki said dancers learn life lessons – like perseverance.

“If you don’t like something you still have to do it because it’s commitment. You signed a contract and you complete your year because there are sometimes things we do in life that we don’t necessarily want to do that we have to do. I think the self-discipline that they learn is life changing," Meiki said.

The Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet is set to perform its perennial favorite “The Nutcracker,” accompanied by the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 7 and 8. Pedrotty said in its 40-year history, the company has only canceled its Nutcracker once. It was in the early 1980s during the oil industry collapse. She added that nothing else has ever undermined its mission of classical ballet performances at Shreveport's Riverview Theater.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.