The Six Questions
Abra Rudisill, Ballerina
Who: Abra Rudisill, 50, artistic director of Alameda Civic Ballet and the Alameda Ballet Academy. She started dancing at age 6, danced in New Mexico and New York, became prima ballerina and was ballet mistress with the Oakland Ballet for 20 years and continues to share her love of the art with children as young as 3 and dancers as old as 75.
What: Alameda Civic Ballet. “For me, to have a thriving arts community is very fulfilling,” says Rudisill. “I’m learning what that means to a community.” The Nutcracker has become a cherished tradition in just five years, and sold out this past season. That’s a success story anyone would be proud of.
Where: Up the steep and narrow stairway, to the polished floors of the building at 1402 Park St., where dancers have practiced their pliés and pirouettes, port de bras and pointe work. Rudisill enjoys “the legacy of ballet in Alameda.”
Why: “Ballet is my voice. It’s how I learned to ‘speak.’ It’s what makes life make sense. It’s how I learned to problem-solve, relate to other people, to be a good leader as well as a good follower.”
When: In 2003, when ACB was founded. Winter, when the annual Nutcracker ballet shines onstage, or spring, when the students of the Alameda Ballet Academy show their stuff in a staged recital at Kofman Auditorium. May 20, 2012, to be precise. (Visit the ACB website for details.)
How Many: Some 20 classes a week means about 200 students file through the doors, at every level from toddler to advanced ballerinas. Boys and girls of all ages form the corps de ballet here. “You don’t have to want to be a ballerina to train here, but we’re training them as if they (all) do,” says Rudisill.
Summer ballet camps and programs are registering now; visit www.alamedaballet.com for details.