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Taking ‘Cinderella’ Beyond Disney
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Tuesday, April 26, 2022
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY THOMAS SMILEY PHOTOGRAPHY

It’s been 15 years since Footlight Dance Centre performed “Cinderella.” Director Hilarie Neely says this is the perfect time to bring it back, given the bombings in Ukraine and strife at home.

“It’s a lovely fairytale for dealing with what’s going on in the world as far as trying to find more love and compassion in each other,” said Neely, the artistic director of Footlight Dance. “This the story of stepsisters who are not very kind and Cinderella, who is a very kind person, continually trying to work so everyone can get along.

“Fairytales help us understand and think through how the world exists in terms of dealing with various issues.”

More than 200 dancers with Footlight Dance Centre will perform “Cinderella” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, at the Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater in Hailey’s Community Campus. There also will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 1.

Tickets are $10, available in advance at the Community Campus and at Iconoclast Books in Hailey.

The tale, for which various versions have been found dating back to ancient Greek, involves a young woman who is transformed to attend a royal ball where she catches the eye of a prince. Forced to flee before midnight when she will be turned back into a commoner who’s shunned by her stepmother and stepsisters, she leaves behind a glass slipper.

And the prince conducts a search through the land for the young woman who can fit into that slipper.

The Bolshoi Theater asked Tchaikovsky to write the music for the ballet in 1870, but the Russian composer did not follow through. The fairytale was performed at the Mariinsky Theater in Russia in 1893, but it wasn’t until Sergei Prokofiev composed his score in 1945 that the ballet seen today gained recognition.

“Today kids generally see fairytales through Disney’s perspective. But ‘Cinderella’ isn’t just a movie. It’s a ballet, too, and deserves to be seen in dance form,” said Neely.

Footlight Dance performed London’s Royal Ballet choreographer’s Fredrick Ashton’s version in 2007 and is repeating that this time, as well, employing elements of ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop and tap.

“You want the best dancer and actors to bring it to life. And we have the right cast of people to fill the roles,” said Neely. “The version we’re working with, which was originally staged in the 1940s, is based on a comedy so there’s a lot of light comedic moments.”

The cast ranges in age from 5 to high school seniors. Lena Gardner, a WRHS senior, will play Cinderella.  Leo Star, a sophomore, will dance the role of the prince. Adri Meyer and Keyle Potts will play the two stepsisters; Dakota Barth, the Fairy Godmother, and Malia Foley, the Dancing Master.

Hazel Ludwig, Ava Knowles, Bridgette Silva, Piper Kolb, Audrey Hernandez and Lilia Page will portray the fairies of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Sparkle.

The choreography was provided by instructors Gabi Bryant, Robyn Fox, Shellrae Garnes, Melodie Taylor-Mauldin, Bronwyn McGary, Hilarie Neely, Leah Taylor, Kassidy Thompson and Anne Winton. Guest choreographer Kioa Delos Reyes set the advanced hip Hop piece.

Footlight Dance, founded 38 years ago, operates out of studios at the Community Campus, Studio Move,  the YMCA in Ketchum and the Grange Hall in Hailey.


 

 

 

 

 

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