Noble Dance – A Quiet Season

Montana Dance Ballet Photographer Wayne Murphy JMK PhotographyIt was early December and I was sitting in the parent area of the Noble Dance Kalispell Studio and I was helping Jeffrey with his homework while Kaitlyn was playing and Megan was in her ballet class with Ms. Carol.  The company dancers were in the big studio with Natalie and then I heard the music that they were rehearsing to… it stopped me right there.  Everything I was doing came to a screeching halt and I had to know who this was.  I sent a text to Natalie that I knew she wouldn’t get until after she was finished with her class asking her.  You know how it is right?  You hear a song and it just sucks you in.  It brings back a memory or it creates an emotion.  When I heard “Film Credits” by Olafur Arnalds that first time I could smell the tall pine trees, I could taste the below zero air entering my lungs, I could hear the sound of Lake Superior slamming against the ice on the shore and I could feel the cold snow breaking beneath my boots while walking along the north shore of Minnesota.  Film Credits instantly transported me to one of my favorite places on the earth.

For Noble Dance instructor, Natalie Molter, hearing “Film Credits” complimented and catapulted a creation that was already stirring inside of her…

When I first thought of choreographing a contemporary ballet to highlight my dancers, I knew right off the bat that it was going to be in stark contrast to “Clara’s Dream,” which is absolutely colorful, fun, very upbeat and almost bouncy.  I had the general thought of “winter” in my brain.  I was thinking simple, plot less, ethereal.   While I was mulling this over for a couple of days last August, a former student sent me a song by Olafur Arnalds, which I listened to for 10 seconds, literally 10 seconds, and immediately knew I had to choreograph to it.  She had never sent me music before and hasn’t since- serendipity!  It was completely out of the blue.  When I went to purchase it, I saw the vast amount music he had created and knew I had hit on the through line for my ballet.  All music would be composed by Olafur Arnalds.  It was a bit melancholy but had enough range that I thought it would work for the winter thought.

When I go about choreographing a ballet like this, I seek a common thread. Like the idea of winter. What does winter mean? Is it slow and cold? Is it tea a warm blanket and a fireplace? Is it loneliness, Isolation, or perhaps death? So I get all these ideas floating around in my head and I let them fester.  Then my process becomes very unclear and I make a CD of about 15 songs that interest me.  I listen to it while I am driving everywhere.  I get to know the songs and decide which ones to toss aside and which ones to really begin to study.  The songs I choose grab me and pull me in. If you see me crying at a stoplight, don’t roll your window down, it is all part of the process!  I see movement when I listen to music, so I begin choreographing while driving around town, writing little 8 count phrases on the back of random envelopes and bank receipts.  I start to see specific people dancing to certain pieces of music.  Sometimes, if I have a specific rehearsal coming up, I will listen to the cd with those people in mind looking for an innocent sound when working with less experienced dancers, or looking for a lighter sound when just working with two dancers.  Certain songs will stand out when approached with different “ears.”  Sometimes when I hear a piece of music I can see right away which dancer will be dancing to it and the specific steps they will be doing.

As I watched A Quiet Season performed for the first time I was shocked!  When I saw the complete work on stage with lights, the song and costumes I drove away from tech rehearsal thinking that I made a huge mistake putting it before intermission.  I felt like it should have closed the show, a spot reserved for the best piece.  I was really kicking myself but I had only seen it in the studio, where I picked and corrected and stressed about the little details, the lines, and the musicality and on and on….  I knew the dancers looked great, but during that first show the dancers became mature, artistic performers.  They were present, committed and fully IN the piece.  They moved me as I watched them from Stage Left.  They were beautiful and breathtaking.  I was so proud of them and all the trust they have put into me to allow me to guide them into this beautiful experience where they took the reins and made something spectacular!

Noble Dance School – Kalispell Montana

“Film Credits” is the third installment in Ólafur Arnalds’ “Living Room Songs” and is a new variation of a theme from his score to the film Another Happy Day.

Noble Dance – A Quiet Season

Kalispell Ballet Photographer – Storybook Ballet at Noble Dance

Montana Ballet Photographer, Wayne Murphy, JMK PHotographyAfter the success and popularity of the Be the Swan posters Noble Dance decided that the little Storybook Ballet Dancers should have a series of their own posters too!

I loved every minute of working with these little ladies and Im sure they had a blast too.  Miss Carol brought a trunk load of little princess ballet outfits as a wardrobe for the models and Sweet Pickins Pumpkin Patch provided a giant balloon trampoline for the girls to jump on!

These tiny dancers start creative movement classes in Storybook Ballet.   Storytelling and pre-ballet instruction combine to create fairy tale inspired classes full of adventure and fun. Proper classroom etiquette gives children the foundation for learning ballet basics.

A HUGE thank you to our models Cece, Vanessa, Piper and their parents as well as Terry and Deb at Sweet Pickins Pumpkin Patch for being kind enough to let us us have run of the place for an hour.


jmk-photography-2358-2About Miss Carol

Storybook instructor Carol Sullivan (formerly Carol Brannan Jakes) returns to teaching dance after a four year break to pursue a degree in elementary education. Carol began building a ballet school in 1977 and through hard work and passion, she became the founding artistic director and owner of the Northwest Ballet School and Company at the Dance Art Center in Kalispell. For 29 years she produced inspiring performances in the Flathead including the annual holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Through Carol’s instruction and guidance many of her students have continued careers in dance across the United States. After graduating from the University of Great Falls in 2010, she decided to combine her unbeatable dance teaching experience with her newly acquired degree to teach young children again in the Flathead. With her new knowledge and brand new teaching approach, little ones, ages four through eight, will experience the magical and enchanting world of dance and her Storybook Ballet School. Carol’s amazing talent gives children confidence and teaches them to find joy in their lives.

Kalispell Ballet Photographer – Storybook Ballet at Noble Dance

Kalispell Dance photography – Noble Dance {Be the Swan}

Kalispell Montana Dance and Ballet Photographer, Wayne Murphy, JMK PhotographyKalispell Dance Photography gets a new twist and a couple of cowgirls at Gentry River Ranch in Columbia Falls!

The Noble Dance Summer enrollment ad campaign was themed “Be the Swan”.  The whole idea was to not follow the crowd, to stand out and do something different without being afraid… to be the swan.  In collaboration with Natalie Molter we decided to throw what we thought was acceptable ballet photography out the window and just take off in any direction we felt like going with this project.  Why not start with dancers and cowgirls?  The folks at Gentry River Ranch were kind enough to let us have run of their beautiful river front property in Columbia Falls for a couple of hours to work out our cowgirl photos with dancers Kylea Ray and Libby Sullivan in their cowgirl best then we headed downtown Kalispell for the solo shots of Abby and the volley girl photos.

Every time, all the time I love working with these talented dancers.

The Noble Dance School dancers were: Abby Cockrell (University of North Carolina School of the Arts), Kylea Ray and Libby Sullivan

Natalie Molter - Noble Dance Kalispell MontanaAbout Natalie Molter:

Natalie Molter, director, has been actively involved in the dance community in the Flathead Valley since
2002 teaching, dancing and choreographing. Formerly, an instructor at the Northwest Ballet School in Kalispell from 2002-2009, Natalie choreographed many works for the Northwest Ballet Company and held the titles of promotional director and co-director of the NWB Co. She also danced and choreographed for three seasons with AzureVision Dance Collective, Flathead Valley’s only professional dance company (pictured left). Before starting Columbia Falls Dance & Noble Dance in 2010, Natalie taught and coached a number of students privately at Imagine Health in Columbia Falls in 2009/2010. A handful of Natalie’s students have followed in her footsteps of training professionally across the US to pursue their careers in dance.
Before coming to the Flathead Valley, Natalie danced professionally with North Carolina Dance Theatre and Ballet Internationale, where she had the pleasure of working with Irina Kolpakova and Vladilen Semenov. She studied extensively on scholarship at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, the Hungarian National Ballet and North Carolina School of the Arts, where she graduated with a Diploma in Dance. At NCSA she studied under Fanchon Cordell, Gyula Pandi the late Duncan Noble and the late Melissa Hayden, as well as with many guest choreographers including Alonso King. Natalie pulls from her diverse background in classical and contemporary ballet training when passing her love of dance on to young dancers. She lives in Kalispell with her two young children, Mason and Cecilia.



Kalispell Dance photography – Noble Dance {Be the Swan}

Kalispell Dance Photography {Noble Dance – Simplicity}

Noble School of Ballet and Dance, Kalispell Montana“Simplicity” a production of Noble Dance’s Performing Company

The Noble Dance School of Ballet’s Performing Company of Kalispell will present a Spring Repertory show with original works by Natalie Molter, Carol Brannan, Jennifer Walker Wyatt, Amy Arriaga, Erica Duffy & Miranda McRae.   

Dance photos are available for purchase here

Kalispell Dance Photography with Noble Dance Kalispell

Kalispell Dance Photography {Noble Dance – Simplicity}