A ballerina dances away: Ballet AZ dancer headed for TV - East Valley Tribune: Performance

A ballerina dances away: Ballet AZ dancer headed for TV

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 5:16 pm

As Raychel Diane Weiner twirls across the stage in Ballet Arizona’s elaborate production of “La Bayadère”, she’ll be dancing her good-byes to Arizona audiences. The ballerina from Southern California, who has been with the company for two years, is heading to New York City, where she starts filming this spring for the Starz Network ballet drama “Flesh and Bone.”

The show’s creator, Moira Walley-Beckett (“Breaking Bad”), told the New York Times that the show is a “dark drama...set in the ballet world.”

Weiner, who won the part of a demi-soloist named Daphne in the new drama, says her character is down to earth and confident.

“I personally related to her a lot. When I saw how she interacted with the characters, I turned to my friend and said, ‘This is how I talk to you in the dressing room.’ I’m still learning a lot about her. I know just the bare minimum of her personality, and I’m sure it will change and develop throughout the project. She’s blunt and classy — a cool chick.”

Unlike other ballet shows which utilize body doubles for the dancing, “Flesh and Bone” relies on dancers with acting chops.

Weiner doesn’t have a deep acting resume, but she’s familiar with the industry and feels that her ballet experience gives her a unique skill set.

“In dance we’re constantly acting, we just don’t speak. We mime what we have to say,” she says.

Audiences will see those skills on display this weekend when she leads the company of ballerinas on stage for the intricate and complex “Kingdom of the Shades” scene in the third act of “La Bayadère,” one of classical ballet’s most famous sequences.

“I’ll be the first person you see coming out on stage in the Valley of the Shades. It’s exciting to be the first to come out, but it’s exhausting to do three arabesques,” Weiner says.

Traditionally, “La Bayadère” is only performed by large companies with a cast of hundreds. Thanks to Ib Anderson’s masterful editing, Ballet Arizona’s intimate company is able to pull off the glittering show, which will be around two hours, rather than the traditional three.

“It’s going to be a really beautiful production. There’s so much color, and the sets are very elaborate. I’m glad it’s going to be the one I go out on,” says Weiner. “I’m sad to leave. I really am. Everyone has become part of my family, but I’ll be coming back to visit.”


What: “La Bayadère”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13; runs through Sunday Feb. 16

Where: Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix

Cost: Ticket prices start at $25; discounts available for seniors, students, military and groups.

Information: (602) 381-1096 or BalletAZ.org.

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