King Arthur’s Camelot Ballet

This post is written by Highlands Middle School seventh grader Roxy Baker.

Note: There might be a few spoilers1314_Camelot_WebHeader

I had the opportunity to attend the world premiere of the Cincinnati Ballet’s performance of King Arthur’s Camelot. Unlike many ballets, I wasn’t leaning back in my chair simply appreciating the dance and the story it told. I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation! Being the medieval history buff that I am, the performance was personally touching to me, but disregarding that, the show that the dancers put on was extremely exciting and had me gasping, tearing up, and rooting the characters on with each scene.

The opening act was particularly well done. I would say that words do not describe the effects in this scene. I was in awe by the costumes, and especially impressed by the fantastic job done by the Ladies of the Lake, portrayed by Makenzie Dessens, Milena Garcia, and Katherine Sawicki. I found myself clenching my fists as young Arthur, Charlie Klesa, cautiously made his way to Excalibur. I was silently cheering him on as wounded soldiers kneeled before him as their king. Cervilio Miguel Amador played a wonderful King Arthur, and the companionship between him and Liang Fu as Merlin was heart-warming and endearing. The enthusiasm I felt as Arthur bounded across the stage, now a man, is indescribable. The dance was remarkable.

Janessa Touchet’s play Guinevere’s innocence in her opening scene was very evident, and love-at-first-sight was an obviously predominant component as Arthur and his future queen initially met in the forest. I’ve told many of my friends who hadn’t seen the ballet about one part of that dance in particular, where Guinevere kneels before Arthur, and he stands her up only to kneel before her. It was breathtaking. The same goes for their marriage. The dance was romantic and still youthful, for at this point the couple was still in their teenage years, and was beautifully accompanied by gorgeous, flowing costumes. When Patric Palkens stumbled in as Lancelot, I knew it would end horribly, but I couldn’t help but be on his side. I could tell exactly how much he wanted to become one of the Knights of the Round Table, and I was relieved when Arthur showed him mercy.

Of course, with characters you can’t help but love, there must be characters you can’t help but despise. Yes, I’m talking about Mordred. Danced by Rodrigo Almarales, Arthur’s evil step-brother stole the stage in his opening dance with darkness and mystery. I especially appreciated his costume. Beautifully designed – sinister with a tinge of elegance. After infiltrating the castle and becoming one of King Arthur’s knights, Mordred made his move, casting a spell on Guinevere and Lancelot that would, of course, ruin King Arthur and therefore the whole kingdom, which would be “saved” by Mordred. That sly dog. Anyway, the love scandal of The Queen and The Knight was heart wrenching. I knew I shouldn’t have been rooting for them, but their love was so unmistakable and strong, that I couldn’t help it.

The ending scene will really stick with me, I think. The anticipation was almost too much for my sympathetic little heart. Even after Mordred had exploited the affair of his brother’s wife and his friend, thus completing his job and removing the spell, Lancelot still rode in on his flawlessly manned steed to save his love from the unbelievably pictured fire for which Guinevere would be burned on account of adultery. The two made it out of the fight between brothers alive, but I can’t say the same for those brothers. After supposedly killing King Arthur and his knights, Mordred believes he had won the battle, only to be brought back down by Arthur, who’s will to protect his kingdom and avenge his friends, I assume, kept him alive. In the end, good conquers evil and Arthur defeated the evil Mordred.

All in all, a fantastic job. The choreography was outstanding, the music was perfect for the dances, and the costumes were like none I’ve ever seen. In one word, PHENOMENAL.


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Whether you are looking for the perfect date night or a family adventure, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without The Nutcracker. The tradition returns for the ultimate family experience including stunning sets and costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s melodious score, played by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The beloved story of Clara and her nutcracker doll turned handsome prince is the dream-like adventure we cherish with loved ones season after season.
Personally, I love the Nutcracker! This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to the art of ballet or take a break and go with a friend or as a date night. I love to have dinner or lunch at Nicholson’s Pub before or after the show. Performances run Dec.20-22, and Dec.26-29 at the Aronoff Center. Single tickets start at $32, and may be purchased by visiting Thanks to the generosity of the Cincinnati Ballet, we have 2 tickets to see Frisch’s Presents the Nutcracker at the Aronoff to give away to one lucky reader.
GIVEAWAY: Thanks to the generosity of the Cincinnati Ballet, we have a voucher good for TWO TICKETS to see FRISCH’S PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER at the Aronoff Center Dec.20-22, and Dec.26-29, 2013.
To Enter: For your chance to win tickets to see this performance, just leave a comment below saying why you want to go. (required to enter)
1. Subscribe to the blog and comment here that you did.
2. Like Raising2tweens on Facebook and comment here that you did.
3. Share this post via Facebook and tag Raising2tweens and comment here that you did.
All entries will be verified. You must comment separately for bonus entries. Entries must be submitted by noon on Saturday, Dec. 14. One winner will be randomly selected using Good luck!

Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss, coming to Aronoff


I love Buddy Valastro! I mean love him! I also love Carlo’s Bakery and the show Cake Boss! I love it all so much that I once made my way by myself from New York City to Hoboken, New Jersey and waited two hours in the snow to get inside that bakery. Once inside, I waited about another 45 minutes, with people shoulder to shoulder, to get waited on. I remember seeing Grace, Frankie, Mauro and Joey. I kept hoping to see Buddy but never got a glimpse. I am sure to get more than a glimpse though when he comes to the Aronoff in Cincinnati on November 18th!

I was shocked to discover the inside of the bakery is MUCH smaller than it appears on TV. The consulting area was maybe a 4×4 space. Grace was helping someone pick the perfect cake. It was finally my turn. I couldn’t decide what I wanted. I knew I had to pick something that I could bring home to the kids (I was in New York for a business trip). But I also wanted to taste so much. “Give me a dozen cookies, a dozen cupcakes, a few pieces of cheese cake, a few cannoli (oh the cannoli!), and um… what else do you suggest” I said to the clerk. I remember asking her how they fit a film crew in there. She said if they were filming my wait would have been longer because they can’t let as many people in. Then she told me with the T-shirt I bought for my daughter, a huge fan of the show, that my total was $60. OMG! I just spent $60 on bake goods and a T-shirt. Thank goodness I didn’t have a significant other to answer to at the time or I might have been in trouble.

my bag the cakes the bakery heading to Jersey Grace

But let me tell you… it was worth every bit of $60. I devoured that cheesecake, cannoli and a few other things. I shared a cannoli with the hotel desk staff since they said they had never made it to New Jersey to try Buddy’s creations. Getting all this on the plane was a sight to see but luckily the guy next to me was really nice and let me put it under his seat. The kids were so excited to try a cupcake from Carlo’s Bakery. They had been watching the show for a while and said it was definitely worth the wait. I was able to give cupcakes to friends who helped with the kids while I was gone too. You would have thought I was handing out $50 bills the way people got excited about this treat.

I didn’t meet Buddy in New Jersey that day but I did meet him earlier this year in Kroger in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. He was there to do a book signing. I couldn’t wait in line to have a book signed but as he made his way through the crowd, he stopped and shook my hand and allowed me to introduce myself. It made my day!

And now I will get a chance to see TLC’s Cake Boss at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati on Monday, November 18th at 7:30pm. And to top it off, I get to take my 14-year-old daughter Andi who has been a fan of his for years! She has also decorated a few cakes herself and has even had Cake-off parties with her friends inspired by The Next Great Baker. These are some of the cakes she has made or assisted with:

more cakes magic cup cakes Perry the Platapuslandsharkminion cupcakes andi hello kitty cake   crabby patty cake!Joey's 10th birthday cake

In this live, interactive event, TLC’s Cake Boss will share stories from his highly popular TV shows (Cake Boss, Next Great Baker), his family at Carlo’s Bakery, will answer audience questions, and most importantly, will give lots of live cake & cupcake decorating demonstrations, sharing tips and techniques in a high-energy experience for the whole family.

Tickets are on sale at, 513.621.ARTS, or the Aronoff Center Ticket Office. Tickets are $29.75/$39.75 plus applicable service charges. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $95 which includes a post-show meet and greet, Cake Boss tour laminate, a copy of Buddy’s new book Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss, and a special surprise. Friends of Raising2Tweens receive $5 off on tickets.  Just click here and use code ‘BUDDY’.

I hope to see you there!

P.S. If you aren’t a fan of Raising2tweens on Facebook already, you should be!

P.S.S. If you could ask Buddy anything, what would it be? Comment here with the answer.


Disclaimer: I was given two tickets to the show. All opinions are my own.