On Her Toes

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 12, 2020

Alumna Angelina Pellini knows how to put on a show

The world of dance keeps Angelina Pellini (Dance, ’17) constantly on her toes. A sought-after freelance stage manager for Atlanta dance companies, the Honors College graduate also works part-time as the resident stage manager for Emory University’s Dance and Movement Studies Program.

“Rarely are two of my weeks or days alike, and that is part of what I love about my job,” said Pellini. “I am constantly bouncing around to different venues and different projects.”

Since graduating summa cum laude from Kennesaw State three years ago, she has worked consistently for many companies in Atlanta such as, the Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Lyric Theater, Full Radius Dance, as well as Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. In her free time, she teaches dance technique and choreography at Cumming Ballet Theatre. Summers are usually spent in Colorado working at the Vail Dance Festival.

“On any given day, I am attending production meetings; watching in-studio rehearsals; participating in load-ins or load-outs; running tech rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances; or in my office working on paperwork: cue sheets, scripts, scores, run sheets, show orders, props tracking, reports, schedules, budgets, etc.,” she said.

Angelina Pellini

An energetic go-getter, Pellini recently took on two assignments that would prove to be a test of her endurance but also a dream come true.

“December is always a hectic time for everyone in the ballet world because The Nutcracker is an annual holiday classic and by far the most lucrative show for practically every ballet company in the country,” she said. “The Atlanta Ballet asked me to stage manage their new Nutcracker for both their run at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and their tour at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. This was the first time that the company has toured since the new artistic director took over in 2016.”

After 25 years, The Nutcracker’s final staging at the Fox played to thousands of adoring fans.

“This performance rivals a Broadway show in size and is by far the biggest show that the Atlanta Ballet has ever produced,” Pellini said.

The Kennedy Center’s production, likewise, was a big hit, receiving critical acclaim from the Washington Post.

The productions were a tour de force for Pellini, who began taking dance lessons as a youngster and immediately fell in love with the activity.

“Since I started dancing at 2 years old, I always knew that I wanted to pursue dance in some capacity, but it was not until college that I discovered my passion for dance production,” she said.

“My interest was sparked during the first semester of my freshman year when I worked as a stagehand for the KSU Dance Company performance of Pyromania,” Pellini said. “I called my first show during the fall semester of my senior year and quickly realized that I wanted to pursue a career in stage management.”

Pellini enjoyed her time in the College of the Arts, building on her experiences to launch her career in dance when she graduated.

“I had a lot of great experiences in the KSU Department of Dance, but my favorite was probably getting to see the Marietta Dance Theater come to life as it was renovated during my senior year,” said Pellini. “This was a very exciting time for KSU Dance, and I got to experience each stage as the space transformed into a state-of-the-art dance venue.”

She said another favorite memory with KSU Dance was traveling to Auburn University to represent KSU at the American College Dance Association Southeast Conference as the stage manager/assistant lighting designer.

“This was the first time that KSU Dance sent a student for production, instead of a staff member,” Pellini said. “Both of the pieces that I was responsible for lighting and calling were selected for the gala concert. After this success, KSU has sent production students to this conference every year since.”

While every show is different, Pellini said the basics of producing dance remain the same.

“My experience at KSU Dance gave me the foundation of my production knowledge. Taking production classes, participating in internships, attending load-ins and load-outs, and working at KSU Dance performances gave me practical, real-world experience that prepared me to enter the work force,” she said. “I was lucky to be mentored by KSU’s production manager/resident lighting designer, David Tatu, and I learned so much from other faculty and staff members such as Rebecca Makus and Robert Jenkins.” 

– Robert S. Godlewski

Photos by Jason Getz

Related Stories

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.