[Interview] Fabrice Calmels: An Artistic Master

Credit: Cheryl Mann

Recently, BTSCelebs was given the honor of interviewing Joffrey Ballet veteran Fabrice Calmels. The artistic master, who hails from France, has been apart of the Chicago based company since the early 2000s.  Through dancing, he continues to set a great example for rookie dancers year after year.

Check out BTSCelebs’ exclusive interview now.

BTScelebs: Who is Fabrice Calmels?

Fabrice Calmels: Lead dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Guinness World Record holder, actor, and entrepreneur with one mission in mind, changing the way people think about Ballet.

How does The Joffrey Ballet compare to ballet in your home country?

The Joffrey Ballet is an avant-garde Ballet company always looking to be creative and a leader in evolving Ballet.  Ballet in France, however, is much more classical and traditional.

Please give us one word you think best describes your 17 year career with The Joffrey Ballet. Why did you choose this particular word? 

Perseverance.  I chose this word because it describes my persistence in my career in the face of roadblocks.

How do you stay connected to family and friends in France? Do they attend your performances here? 

I try to stay connected with my family as best as I can.  Technology has definitely made this much easier than it used to be.  It is hard for my family to fly in for my seasonal performances because of their own heavy work schedules. However, they have attended Othello and Nutcracker separately; my mother would make it during the spring while my father would join me during the fall.

Which show is your favorite this 2018-2019 season?

Anna Karenina

What will be your next performance?**

A tour in California, then the world premiere of “Home” choreographed by Andrea Walker.

Is there any advice you would give rookie dancers anxious to join Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet? 

Learn from your elders.  A career at the Joffrey is not a 100-meter dash, it is a marathon.  It is important to pace your work, take care of your body, and invest in your health because once the body says “enough”, you are done.

What heights will you be poised to accomplish in the foreseeable future?**

Create an international brand that will change the way people think about Ballet.

Credit: Cheryl Mann

A Special Thanks to Fabrice Calmels, The Silverman Group and The Joffrey Ballet for the exclusive interview and images. 

** Questions courtesy of a Ballet Enthusiast with an undying love for the art.

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[Opinion] Kocowa: The New DramaFever

Months have flown by since the devastating shut down of DramaFever, and K-drama fans have been searching high and low for the quintessential replacement.  Thankfully, the perfect package arrived in the form of Kocowa. The rookie South Korean streaming website boasts a growing library of soap operas, variety programming and music shows. To top it all off, this online entertainment destination has added an impressive editorial section for those who miss the good old days of special feature articles on DramaFever.

In 2017, the national broadcast networks, KBS, MBC and SBS, joined forces to bring their premium programming to North American audiences with superb English subtitles. In a short amount of time, the collaboration has been a success through the Kocowa website. Shows like “Descendants of The Sun,” “I Am Not A Robot,” “Love Temperature” and “Suspicious Partner” that were once fan favorites on DramaFever are still available to watch any time of day.  Addictive variety shows “The King of Mask Singer,” “Running Man,” “Weekly Idol” and “Under Nineteen” keep audiences hooked for not only months but years. Korean dramas are easy to binge watch in a short amount of time after they complete their 3-month broadcast, but variety programs are released one episode a week on an ongoing basis. These programs are so popular they are often renewed for new seasons on consistent basis. Fox’s “The Masked Singer,” which is inspired by “The King of Mask Singer,” is a perfect example of America’s new love of South Korean programming. Additional music shows KBS’s “Music Bank K-Chart,” MBC’s “Show! Music Core” and “SBS Inkigayo” are longtime K-Pop staples. They are instrumental in presenting today’s popular stars to the global audience.

DramaFever may have introduced North America to a plethora of South Korean shows and an unprecedented editorial section, but nothing can compare to Kocowa’s own brand and growing blog. As a former DramaFever writer, I admit that our articles were unique, fresh and fun. We had a voice no one can ever replicate. Of course, DramaFever news will forever be missed, however, an ingenious change is always welcomed. Kocowa’s new blog, which launched in January, is an explosion of drama editorials everyone is sure to love. The site’s staff is already publishing exceptional photos from Korean drama press conferences, behind the scenes of holiday specials, award shows and they share programming highlights on a weekly basis. Since the blog is still in its early stages, there only seem to be three writers contributing on a regular basis in addition to the Kocowa staff members.

Kocowa guarantees Korean drama fans will have endless fun between their large selection of videos to personally communicating with fans through the blog and social media channels. Whether your drama preference is romantic comedy, melodrama, action, thriller or historical, there is a television series with your name on it. Even the variety selection offers different genres within itself. If viewers are in the mood for music shows, interviews, behind the scenes footage and more, everything is available in abundance. Kocowa.com is waiting for you.

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[List] Hottest International Singers Coming to Chicago

K-Pop stars seem to be excited to meet fans overseas, and they’re announcing new tour dates everyday! As the incredible list continues to grow, BTSCelebs wants to keep you updated on the latest in the Chicagoland area. Here is the list of singers scheduled to make a stop in the wonderful Midwest soon:

Tiffany Young (from Girls Generation) – March 8th at Lincoln Hall

ATEEZ  – March 20th at Park West

M.O.N.T – April 7th

Epik High – April 3rd at House of Blues

SF9 – April 19th at The Vic Theatre

VAV – April 30th at Park West

BLACKPINK – April 24th at Allstate Arena

NCT 127  – May 7

BTS – May 11 at Soldier Field

Have fun at the concerts!

Photo Credit: My Music Taste

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Black History Month: Classic Family Program Recommendations

Black History Month is almost over, but it’s never too late to enjoy quality family programming. Today, BTSCelebs wants to make some suggestions for positive (lighthearted) black productions you can enjoy year round.

“The Parent ‘Hood” (1995-1999)

A couple of years after he became “The Meteor Man”, Robert Townsend headlined a sitcom about a college professor and his wife raising their 4 children in New York City.

“Family Matters” (1989-1998)

Jaleel White stole the show as the annoying neighbor next door (Steve Urkel) in this iconic series about a Chicago police officer’s family.

“Kenan and Kel” (1996-2000)

Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell played best friends getting caught up in zany get rich quick schemes.

“Sister, Sister” (1994-1999)

Tia and Tamera Mowry played twins separated at birth who reconnected in their teens. They end up living under one roof with their single parents.

“Merry Christmas, Baby”, “Marry US for Christmas” etc (2013-)

Christmas movie series starring Malinda Williams and Karon Riley.

The best way to watch these shows is through various online streaming platforms and recommending your local stations air them.

Happy Viewing!

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Kenan & Kel Reboot Nickelodeon’s “All That”

Former Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell reposted this on his Instagram and wrote this, “Guess the cats out the bag Let’s do this @kenanthompson & @brobtv  It’s bout to be Lit! We Back! #Allthat #Nickelodeon #Snick #TeamJesus #gogetthemblessings Thank you Jesus! God is Good!”

All the best to them!

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Young Singer Celebrates Newlywed Life

This month, a young CCM artist commemorates her one month wedding anniversary with a sweet couple video. The newlyweds, Hollyn and Dillon Wilson, illustrate their happy life together through footage of carefree dates and a magical wedding. The lyrics and video for “Good Times” is a great example of enjoying the present to the fullest.

Check out “Good Times” below:

Credit: Hollyn’s YouTube Channel

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Theatre Review: “Anna Karenina”

Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann

“Anna Karenina” received a standing ovation at its world premiere!

The audience fell in love with Yuri Possokhov’s dance interpretation of the beloved classic, where dancers Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez portrayed star-crossed lovers Anna and Vronsky. Their on-stage chemistry was electric! From the first bewitching dance to their eventual cohabitation,  it was hard to believe these two were not a couple in real life. However, the gut-wrenching heartbreak of Anna’s infidelity and the eternal separation from her family resonated through the Auditorium Theatre.

Anais Bueno and Yoshihisa Arai’s characters, Kitty and Levin, served as a drastic contrast to the main couple. Levin’s devotion to Kitty is evident from the very beginning, and their dance was a delight to witness. Even though Kitty appeared to be initially swayed by Vronsky, she eventually welcomed Levin with open arms and the pair enjoyed the simple, country life together. I loved their portrayal of a monogamous relationship built on honesty. The pair’s joyful choreography erased the immense sadness from previous scenes. They set couple goals!

Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann

The pros and cons of the performance was as simple as Kitty and Levin’s country life. I loved the period clothing and group dance scenes. The parties were so inviting it almost felt like we could join in. As always, everyone’s dancing  was superb, while Yuri Possokhov’s choreography is engaging. Also, vocalist Lindsay Metzger’s operatic singing was magical. The only thing I would have changed was the love scene. Even though it is done tastefully, I wold have preferred them hint at their affair throughout the performance, and cut the lengthy love scene out.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann

If you love romantic tearjerkers, “Anna Karenina” was tailor-made for you. It runs thru February 24th at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

A Special Thanks to The Silverman Group for the press passes and  photos.

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