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Community invited to Idaho Ballet Theatre performance this weekend that will honor founder

Some of the girls from the Idaho Ballet Theatre on Tuesday at a rehearsal. | Courtesy Abbey Lasley
IDAHO FALLS — The new artistic directors of a local ballet theatre are inviting the community to a performance this weekend that will honor its founder, who passed away in December. 
The Idaho Ballet Theatre (IBT) presents Coppélia — a lighthearted and beautiful ballet about life and love in a little town — on Friday and Saturday at the Colonial Theater at 7 p.m. Click to read the storyline. Tickets are $16 plus tax and can be purchased online here. 
“It’s such a beautiful score and the choreography… we have about 90 students in the production and all local dancers. We have ages 3 to 18. We’ve hired two professional guest artists that will be dancing with our students,” said Abbey Lasley, one of the artistic directors at IBT. “This production is going to be impressive.”
Lasley said all the sets for the production have not been used yet. Her mother, Brandy Jensen, had bought them recently before she died in December from a stroke at age 53. 

Brandy Jensen | Courtesy IBT

“My mom actually just barely purchased them last fall. She was planning this. So we decided to pull them out and follow through with her plan,” Lasley explained. 
Along with Lasley, Joni McDonald is the other artistic director at IBT. McDonald is a long-time friend of Lasley and her mom. Jensen was the founder and director of IBT for 20 years. She was a professional dancer. Click here to read her obituary. 
“My mom was kind of a one-woman show. She did absolutely everything. She taught all the classes, she choreographed every piece, and she made all the decisions,” Lasley said. “She’s always pushed this really high quality dedication to excellence. That’s something that we’re trying to continue the best we can without her.”
IBT was closed for at least three months before it was reopened in March. Lasley said she couldn’t have reopened without the help of others. Lasley wants the theatre to continue for the next few decades.

Courtesy Abbey Lasley

“We had so many parents and people come out of the community and just want to step in and want to see us succeed,” Lasley said. “I’m really grateful for all the people that have helped us. I definitely couldn’t have done it without them.”
Lasley has enjoyed getting to know the dancers that were taught by her mother. She was familiar with many of them due to conversations she had with Jensen. 
“When we brought all the students back in the studio, I felt like I knew all of them. They had also heard stories about me from my mom. It’s been great to see how the experiences we shared with my mom have really brought everyone closer together and helped us feel really connected as we move forward in this production,” Lasley said.
Coppélia will be the first show since reopening IBT. Lasley said that it would honor not only her mother but also others. 
“We perform in her honor, but also in honor of all of the people that taught her and people that taught those before her,” Lasley said. 
According to its website, IBT’s mission is to train young dancers for classical ballet while building self-confidence and strong character. IBT offers classes and puts on two full-length ballet productions each year, including the Nutcracker in December. Click here to learn more. 

Performers from the Idaho Ballet Theatre on Tuesday at a rehearsal. | Courtesy Abbey Lasley
The post Community invited to Idaho Ballet Theatre performance this weekend that will honor founder appeared first on East Idaho News.

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