Ballet by day, cabaret by night: that's a schedule sure to keep a dancer on her toes.
Stephanie Bussell and Danielle Forrestal were already accomplished ballerinas long before they came to Charleston. Stephanie pirouetted through the Kirov Academy of Ballet, the Boston Ballet School, the Bolshoi Academy at Vail, and performed around the world. Danielle, a native of Philadelphia, danced from the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet all the way to the National Hungarian Ballet Academy in Budapest.
In the daytime, both ladies can be found at Charleston Ballet Theatre. On occasional evenings, they dance as part of Cabaret Kiki, working alongside such dangerous strangers as the multi-talented Bivins brothers (Jump, Little Children) and chanteuse Cary Ann Hearst.
"They are both lovely, talented ladies," says Matt Bivins (who, as Jonny Panick, is the cabaret's emcee). "We're very lucky to have them as part of Cabaret Kiki."
"It allows me to expand my horizons creatively," Stephanie says of the balance between ballet and cabaret. "Ballet is much more refined and cabaret is punk-rock and sexy so it allows me to express different sides."
With the Charleston Ballet Theatre celebrating a happy 20th anniversary this year, there will be plenty of opportunities to watch the dancers express that refinement onstage.
And as for Kiki, well, Kiki has never been shy about revealing her intentions. As the outside world washes away, the dancers become decadents, and the purity of the art gets a bit peppery. No need to fret, it's just a wee bit of a spell being cast. Look for upcoming performances of the art collective this season at Theatre 99.
"Cabaret dancing in the space that we have can be a challenge," Danielle adds. "But it gives us a chance to collaborate with other musicians, play characters, and escape reality for a little bit." — Jason A. Zwiker