Booksmart Ballerina: Kew Gardens’ Jennifer Kronenberg pens book
by Tammy Scileppi
Jun 15, 2011 | 5142 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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“An evening at the ballet is a fascinating event; the lights go dim, the harmonious sound of the orchestra fills the theater, and the plush velvet curtain slowly rises on what seems to be a magical scene…,” writes stunning prima ballerina, Jennifer Kronenberg, in her new book for aspiring dancers, So, You Want To Be A Ballet Dancer.

“A sea of beautiful, porcelain-perfect ballerinas whirl and twirl…skimming effortlessly across the stage, changing seamlessly from one formation to another. It can be almost hypnotizing, the way they move through space to the music, in unison, as smooth and lovely as a beautiful dream.”

The Kindle Edition of So, You want To Be A Ballet Dancer was released on May 1 on Amazon.com. It is chock-full of tips and advice for aspiring dancers and their parents, and includes a personal account of the ballerina’s rocky journey to fame.

“In it I go on to discuss all of the backstage basics and etiquette that a dancer should become familiar with before performing — whether it be in school or with a professional company,” she said.

In this snippet from the chapter, “Stage Savvy: The Chaos Behind the Curtain,” the ballerina writes: “What the audience members (and even new dancers) don’t always realize, is that there is another entertaining show that goes on in the theater as well: The organized chaos that takes place before the curtain goes up on that picturesque wonderland … A ballet production is like a well-oiled machine with countless parts that all have to work together to create a final product.”

Always a simple Queens girl at heart, Kronenberg recalls growing up in Kew Gardens – a town where her folks still reside, and meeting her friends at the neighborhood pizzeria, Angelo’s, after school. She recalls hanging out at Queens Center Mall; matinees at the Midway theater on Queens Boulevard and sipping vanilla shakes at Metro Soda Fountain on Metropolitan Boulevard after ballet class.

As a tot, the ballerina practiced her arabesque at Once upon a Time, Inc., a now Richmond Hill-based performing arts education center. And she still has a warm place in her heart for special teacher and owner, Ms. Aubel.

At 17, while her friends from Cardozo High School were out partying, the ambitious teen was perfecting her pirouettes at the world-famous School of American Ballet in Manhattan, where her most influential teacher was Susan Pillare.

“Edward Villella [founder of Miami City Ballet], came up to New York City to observe classes and hold a general audition, I went as a fluke, just to keep my friend company,” recalls Kronenberg.

What unfolded was a twist of fate.

“I really didn’t think I was ready or strong enough to be hired by any company, but I thought that taking the audition would be a good learning experience,” she said. “Who knew that I’d end up with a contract that would blossom into an amazing career?”

It turned out that Villella, originally from Bayside, became a star principal dancer with New York City Ballet through the late 1950’s to mid-1970s. Under his direction, both the dance company and its school are acclaimed as one of the best, worldwide.

From March 25 through May 1, the glam ballet dancer starred as Juliet in the ballet company’s $1.5 million production of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, opposite her real-life Romeo, hubby Carlos Guerra.

“We met dancing together at Miami City Ballet; I was his first partner when he joined the company. We danced the Grand Pas de Duex from George Balanchine’s, ‘The Nutcracker.’ I think it was obvious right from the start that we had a special chemistry together,” Kronenberg said. “Somehow we kept getting cast together; oftentimes at the very last minute...I think it was destiny! We danced together for five years before we ever started dating; neither one of us was brave enough to tell the other how we felt!”

The dancer says she’s “extremely excited about Miami City Ballet’s debut in Paris. As of now, it looks like I’ll be performing most of the ballets with Carlos; it’s going to be a very special experience, and it will be all the more memorable if we get to share the stage with one another.

The tour is going from July 6 – 23.

“It will be such a milestone, both in our careers and for the company….I’m so glad that I will be a part of it,” she said.
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