Like mother, like daughter: Ballet senior learns Arpino solo from original dancer, her mother

April 23 2018

Brooke Huebner is a Senior Ballet Major in the School of Dance and recently had her final performance on the Marriott Center for Dance Stage. The senior show is historically packed with emotion, as the class bids adieu to beloved faculty and classmates, but Brooke’s performance added an extra layer of meaning to the evening. Huebner was given the rights to a variation of “Italian Suite” by choreographer Gerald Arpino, whose muse for this neoclassic solo was Huebner’s mother, Elizabeth Molak-Huebner. Huebner will be learning the piece from her mom, who danced with Arpino throughout her career.

“My mom received a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC at the age of 14. Trained for 2 years and then was accepted into Joffrey 2 at 16 and was promoted into the main company at 18. She immediately was called into private rehearsals with Mr. Arpino and roles were created for her in ballets (Jamboree, Italian Suite, Quarter Tones for Mr. B -honoring George Balanchine after his passing, etc.)”

Brooke attributes her love for dance to her mother, who continues to teach at her studio in California.
“My mom raised me and my sisters at the studio, we basically lived there, so being able to watch her dance everyday made me want to be just like her when I was older. Still to this day my mom teaches ballet and demonstrates combinations fully, sometimes even with pointe shoes. She is so inspiring to me.”

The Gerald Arpino Trust gave Brooke the rights to “Italian Suite” as a way to honor the 10thAnniversary of Arpino’s death. Elizabeth remembers working with Arpino fondly. "Mr. Arpino brought out your best features, he was positive, nurturing and collaborated with the dancer for the choreography, it was a partnership that was inspiring and magical," she recalls.

Learning the solo has created a new opportunity for Brooke and Elizabeth to bond as well. “My mom has taught me everything I know about ballet/dance, and I have worked with her my whole life, but this is a very different experience for sure. Being able to learn this special piece from her, all the nuances in the choreography, and even some of the commentary Mr. Arpino would say in rehearsals has been such a surreal experience. Of course, since she is my mom she pushes me harder because she knows what I am capable of, but this is I think the coolest thing that we have worked on together. It also calls for some extra mother/daughter bonding time”.

Take a look at Huebner's and the 2018 Senior class performances below.