Ballet dancers make their art look easy, keeping smiles on their faces as they gracefully balance on their toes, leap and pirouette.
Yet during a recent rehearsal, once the music stopped, Roanoke Ballet Theatre’s studio filled with the sound of labored breathing, even from the professional dancers. Ballet is hard work.
After one of the breaks that afternoon, director Sandra Meythaler — “Miss Sandra” to her students — blew a whistle to retrieve the dancers’ attention and selected the music for the next routine from the list on her laptop.
As she watched the dancers, she couldn’t contain her excitement. “The difference of the level of the dancers from four years ago to now, it’s a jump of 100 percent,” she said.The dance company’s performance of “Napoli” this Saturday marks a new high point for the long-time Roanoke nonprofit. It’s the first full-length ballet the company has put on in the summer since Meythaler became executive and artistic director five years ago, and it will give ticket-holders the first glimpse of the theatre’s new professional dance company.
Meythaler, 42, said it’s always been a dream of hers to run her own dance company.