Vero Classical Ballet steps up with Tchaikovsky classic


Aspiring young dancers are practicing to perfect their finest ballet movements as they prepare for their roles as elegant swans in the upcoming performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” Produced by Vero Classical Ballet, the performance takes place Saturday, June 29, at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.

In the ballet, the Princess Odette, cursed by the evil sorcerer Baron von Rothbart, is fated to live as a swan during the day, only taking human form after midnight, which is when Prince Siegfried sees her, falls in love and pledges to marry her. But alas, von Rothbart is intent on having his own daughter, Odile, marry the prince. He magically transforms her to resemble Odette and brings her to the birthday party where Siegfried is to choose his bride, ultimately setting in motion the tragic ending.

Rylee Green, a VCB alumna, will be reviving her lead in the challenging roles as both the White Swan Odette and the Black Swan Odile. The role is renowned for its technical difficulty and for the challenge of showcasing the swans’ contrasts of innocence and seduction.

Green, who recently turned 20, has danced with Vero Classical Ballet for 14 years and is currently enrolled in the Ballet Palm Beach Academy, an intensive training program. Her goal of becoming a professional dancer will soon be realized when she joins Ballet Palm Beach for their upcoming 2024-25 season.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to the stage with Vero Classical Ballet,” Green says to Vero Beach 32963 in a telephone interview.

“It’s been three years since I was the lead in a production of ‘Swan Lake,’ and I can’t wait to perform again with some of the new skills I’ve learned.”

Green shares that ballet kept her grounded and focused during her teenaged years.

“It definitely helped me work through a lot of growing-up issues. It helps to give a good mindset of working hard and that not everything is easy,” says Green.

“The discipline of dance taught me to work hard to achieve my goals in everyday life as well as on the dance floor. But it’s so much fun as well. It’s so nice to feel like you are floating around on stage. Even though you are working hard, ballet gives you the freedom to move and take up space in a room and feel yourself becoming a ballerina as you mature,” she adds.

“We are really excited about having Rylee come back to dance with our troupe,” says Trammel.

“The role of the Odette is one of the most difficult in the repertory of classical ballet. She pulled it off at 17 and I know with her additional training she is going to be spectacular. It’s heartwarming to see a small-town girl get to a level where she can do ‘Swan Lake’ and then train with Ballet Palm Beach. I’m so proud of her,” he adds.

He explains that it is helpful for children to start young with ballet, noting that Green started at VCB at age 6.

“They are intrigued and interested in learning as well as establishing friendships with other dancers. Performing increases a child’s self-esteem and confidence that they use in every part of their lives,” Trammell adds.

“The exercise is amazing, and studies have shown that dancing and singing are the two best things for your psychological health. Plus, it’s an enormous educational opportunity. You learn about music, history, your own physicality and how to work together as a team.”

While he has had students as young as age 3, the majority are currently between the ages of 11 and 13.

“We’ll have about 40 children in the upcoming ‘Swan Lake’ production. You never know what might inspire a child to become a professional dancer,” he says.

Kayalyn Nascimento, another of his former students, began studying at VCB at age 9. Now 19, she returns to the production to dance as a swan and also in the famed Pas de Trios, which is known for its complicated steps.

The role of Prince Siegfried will be danced by Israel Zavaleta Escobedo, who is now in his fifth season with the Orlando Ballet.

Born in Mexico, Escobedo first performed as a child with his family’s dance company there. He later trained at Academy de la Danza Mexicana, and in the summer programs of the Joffrey Ballet and Idyllwild’s Arts Academy. At age 15 he began training where he currently teaches – the Orlando Ballet School – instructing the men’s ballet classes for OBII, Trainee and Academy company programs.

Trammel himself will play the role of the evil sorcerer. He says he began taking ballet classes at age 16, and started dancing professionally at 21, dancing with companies in various parts of the country, including Ballet Florida, the Oregon Ballet Theatre, City Ballet of Houston and the Memphis Ballet.

Established in 2005, Vero Classical Ballet shares the art form with aspiring dancers of all ages, with classes that take place at the Leisure Square Recreation facility. Trammell says his program is based on the method devised by Russian dancer, choreographer and teacher Agrippina Vaganova, which stresses clean, skillful techniques.

His students perform in two theatrical productions each year. The June performance, which this year is “Swan Lake,” has in the past featured productions of “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella,” and “The Nutcracker” is performed annually at Christmastime. Students also perform occasionally at schools and festivals, and some have even performed with touring ballet companies.

Swan Lake will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at or at the door.

Photos by Joshua Kodis

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