Tours en l'air organizes ballet-themed escorted holidays to see the best companies perform great ballets in beautiful places. You can join a trip from anywhere. A highly knowledgeable balletomane who has enjoyed 100s of performances in over 20 cities around the world,I speak English, French, and German, and am a Travel Industry Council of Ontario certified Travel Counsellor. I also teach ballet appreciation courses. Twitter: @thewordlady Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katherine.barber.37
Tours en l'air Ballet Holidays are offered in partnership with CWT Victor Travel, TICO # 1892647

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10 Reasons to Travel with Tours en l'air

You're a ballet fan, and so am I, so I know what you like and want out of a ballet holiday. Tours en l'air is not a tour operator that tosses any old ballet performance into a trip and calls it a “ballet holiday”.

1) Come back with enriched knowledge and appreciation. You, like more and more people, find that you get more out of your holidays if they have a theme and can be shared with like-minded people. I will share with you my in-depth knowledge of and love for ballet, and you will expand your own experience of the art form greatly. Become one of the ballet cognoscenti!

2) So much ballet, so little time. There is way more fantastic ballet out there in the world than you can see with your home ballet company, often limited to only 5 or 6 programs in a year, or even fewer. Each ballet company has its own repertoire, so you won't be seeing the same ballets you see at home (for instance, on our recent trip to Germany, out of 21 ballets, only 2 were also in the repertoire of the National Ballet of Canada). Some great ballets are performed only by one company and never toured, so the only way to see them is to go where they are performed (for a very good example of this, see my "Why travel for ballet?" post). Other ballets are performed with a particular style unique to the company where they were created. Some famous ballet companies, and the world's current top ballet stars, are just must-sees for the true balletomane.

3) See as much ballet in as little time and as efficiently as possible. I maintain a master calendar of the major companies' performing schedules which allows me to identify the “most ballet for your buck” travel opportunities. However, I know you don't want your holiday to feel like work. Thus I plan the trips with plenty of “breathing room” so that you're not too tired to enjoy a performance and don't get that “If this is Tuesday it must be Swan Lake” feeling!

4) Get fantastic seats to see ballets you love performed by top-notch companies. I have an in-depth knowledge of the world's ballet companies and dancers, and the international repertoire. I plan each trip with the same care as an artistic director designing a company's season, to ensure that you will enjoy it. My years of travelling on my own personal ballet holidays mean that I know the opera houses so I make sure you get great seats, usually before tickets are released to the general public. Get that "ballet insider" edge as you discover those "best-kept-secret" companies, dancers, and repertoire that the true aficionados know about, or rising stars before they become household names.

5) Behind-the-scenes “can't buy” experiences. Thanks to my connections in the ballet world, I can often arrange meetings with dancers and musicians, opportunities to watch class, etc. -- events you just couldn't arrange as an individual travelling on your own. Among those participants have enjoyed so far:

Dinner with Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Nehemiah Kish
Lunch with Birmingham Royal Ballet Soloist Steven Monteith
Dinner with Dutch National Ballet Music Director Ermanno Florio
Dinner with 4 Royal Ballet of Flanders dancers
Watching company class at Birmingham Royal Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Stuttgart Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet
Dinner with former National Ballet of Canada Principal Johan Persson
"Meet the Dancer" Q&A's with Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Robert Parker (click here to read my report), First Soloist Celine Gittens, and First Artist and choreographer Kit Holder
Dinner with Stuttgart Ballet dancers Demis Volpi, Brent Parolin, and Heather MacIsaac
Dinner with Bavarian State Ballet dancer Shawn Throop
Watching the creative process as choreographer Young Soon Hue set her new Carmina Burana on  Ballet Augsburg
Lunch with Ballet Augsburg Artistic Director Robert Conn
Dinner and a Q&A with Joffrey Ballet Principal Dancer Fabrice Calmels
Backstage tour of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House with San Francisco Ballet Technical Director Chris Dennis
Watching rehearsals at Smuin Ballet
Dinner with Hamburg Ballet dancers Chris Evans, Graeme Fuhrmann, Natalie Ogonek, and Sara Coffield
Watching boys' Bournonville class taught by retired Royal Danish Ballet star, Bournonville expert and director of the Royal Danish Ballet School Thomas Lund
Q&A with Principal Dancer Daniel Ulbricht of New York City Ballet
Watching Vienna State Ballet backstage warmup before a performance of Swan Lake
Watching rehearsal at Brno National Theatre Ballet and lunch with  dancers Camille and Radim Kafka
Dinner with Dresden Semperoper Ballet Artistic Director Aaron Watkin
Dinner with Vienna State Ballet dancers Ryan Booth, Greig Matthews, and James Stephens
Dinner with Dutch National Ballet dancer Martin ten Kortenaar
Watching class and rehearsal at Dresden Semperoper Ballet
Dinner with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens principal dancer Hervé Courtain
Attending a performance and having dinner and brunch and Q&A with Evelyn Hart
 Guided tours of the David H. Koch theatre with the following New York City Ballet Dancers: Jared Angle, Troy Schumacher, Ashley Laracey, and Unity Phelan
Dinner with Czech National Ballet dancers Alexandra Pera and Tudor Moldoveanu
Watching Swan Lake rehearsals at Ballett Zurich
 Dinner with Ballett Zurich dancers Cohen Aitchison Dugas, Patrick Foster, Wei Chen, and Elizabeth Wisenberg, and Bavarian State Ballet dancers Henry Grey, Brandon Demmers, and Freya Thomas
Private post-performance chat with Ballet Augsburg Artistic Director Robert Conn and dancer Eveline Demmen.



Tours en l'air group watching Royal Ballet of Flanders Company class with 
Artistic Director Kathryn Bennetts (second from right)


Reid Anderson, Artistic Director of the Stuttgart Ballet,
 with Tours en l'air group members

Dinner with Stuttgart Ballet dancers
Heather MacIsaac, Demis Volpi, and Brent Parolin



Joffrey Ballet Principal Dancer Fabrice Calmels captivates the Chicago Tours en l'air group 
talking about studying at the 
Paris Opera Ballet School and his career as a dancer.
Martin ten Kortenaar at dinner

Chatting with Igone de Jongh

Chatting with Erica  Horwood and James Stout

6) All the trip planning details are taken care of for you! You don't have to spend your precious time planning the trip in advance. It's not unheard-of, for instance, to have to be in an online queue for an hour in the middle of the night to be sure of getting Paris Opera Ballet or Royal Ballet tickets. Consider this recent apology from the Royal Opera House (January 2013), and this second one in April 2013.: "We do understand the incredible frustration for everyone who encountered a problem and who were unable to complete their purchases on Tuesday, especially since the high demand meant that tickets rapidly became unavailable." ... and this third one in January 2014 ("Those of you who have felt the pain of booking days in the past may fear that this is more of the same.") and this fourth one in June 2014 ("We are working hard to ensure that the problems visitors experienced today will not be repeated.").. Meanwhile here's a comment from a ballet chat site: "Boy, I've had some bad booking experiences on the Paris Opera site but nothing quite like this. Drupal, Secutix errors and more - and that's after a waiting room. Then lots more error messages flying, shopping cart continually emptied, being constantly logged out... No idea yet if I've got tickets." Neither do you have to spend time finding a place to eat before a performance, lining up to pick up your tickets, figuring out how to get to the theatre from the hotel, etc. Free of these mundane details, you can enjoy every minute of your trip.

7) Your comfort and convenience are of paramount importance to me. I pick comfortable hotels, usually within 10 minutes walk of the theatre. For European trips, I never schedule any activity on the day of your arrival, so that you have a chance to recover from your flight. If you have mobility issues, I will make every effort to accommodate them. Travellers requiring a walker or non-motorized wheelchair for any portion of the trip are welcome with a companion

8) Only unpack once, or at most twice. You don't want to spend your holiday packing and unpacking. I guarantee you will only have to unpack once, or at most twice, and that you will have at least 3 days in any one city (at least 4 in European cities). Day trips (maximum 2 ½ hours by luxury coach or train) allow you to visit other cities without having to move everything with you.

9) Balance of free time and guided tours. When appropriate (unfamiliar destination, language barrier, difficulty of getting to an interesting destination on your own), I  arrange coach excursions and private group tours provided by knowledgeable local guides so that you can get the most out of your visit. We focus on quality rather than quantity so that you don't feel rushed from one monument or performance to another. But I also leave you free time to explore and discover on your own.

10) Personal attention. It makes me happy to make people happy.  I personally care that you enjoy yourself fully, and I do whatever it takes to ensure that you do, by sharing great ballet experiences and discovering beautiful destinations.

You can join in a Tours en l'air Ballet Holiday from anywhere in the world. We sell the packages as "land only", with travel between your most convenient departure point and the destination arranged separately (you can use your frequent flyer points if you like!). This also allows you to extend your stay if you wish.

For more information on Tours en l'air, please visit our "About Tours en l'air" page.

To get an idea of what a typical Tours en l'air trip is like, you can see the brochures for some of our past trips by clicking on the following links:

Chicago : Paris Opera Ballet
San Francisco San Francisco Ballet, Smuin Ballet
Stuttgart and Munich 2013:  Stuttgart Ballet, Ballet Augsburg, Bavarian State Ballet "Ballet Festival Week"
New York May 2013: New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Saratoga Springs July 2013: New York City Ballet
Copenhagen and Hamburg March 2014 : Royal Danish Ballet, Hamburg Ballet
San Francisco May 2014 : San Francisco Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Ballet San Jose
Paris and Amsterdam May 2014: Paris Opera Ballet, Dutch National Ballet
New York May 2014: New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre
Paris Opera Ballet in Montreal, October 2014

Vienna, Prague, and Dresden, April 2015: Vienna State Ballet, Ballet of the National Theatre of Slovakia, Czech National Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet
Munich and Stuttgart April 2015: Bavarian State Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet
New York May 2015 : New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre
http://toursenlair.blogspot.ca/2011/03/nycb-in-saratoga.html 

and an account of our April 2013 trip to San Francisco here. 

For upcoming ballet trips this year, please click here.
 
BALLET MAKES LIFE BETTER - GET MORE BALLET OUT OF LIFE WITH TOURS EN L'AIR

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