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Butler Ballet will present “Cinderella” this weekend for their spring production. The dancers will retell the classic tale of Cinderella as her fairy godmother transforms her from rags to riches despite her ill-willed step family.
The story comes alive in grand ballet style, complete with a “pumpkin” coach, a grand ballroom scene and the prince’s world-wide search for his mystery princess.
Erin Quigley is a senior playing a fairy in the ballet. She said the process of getting the production together is not much different from other years, but the excitement lies in performing a family favorite.
“This is one of the more light-hearted and kid-friendly ballets that Butler Ballet puts on,” Quigley said. “There are definitely some great comedic moments with the two step sisters. It’s a great way to see a familiar fairytale told in a different format than most people are familiar with.”
“Cinderella” is one of four ballets in the rotation of productions that Butler Ballet puts on in Clowes Memorial Hall once a year. Last spring’s production was Giselle, and the year before was Swan Lake. Next year’s will be Sleeping Beauty. As is tradition, all the full-time Butler dance faculty choreograph portions of the ballet to put the show together.
Holloway Bird is a junior dance arts-administration major playing Cinderella this year and talked about the impact the professors had on her during this production.
“The professors in Butler Ballet are so dedicated to what they do and working with them has helped me grow as a dancer,” Bird said. “The pas de deux and variations performed in Act 2 were re-choreographed and catered to our abilities as dancers, which made the process even more inspiring. The passion the professors have for this art form is so real and I can say it has rubbed off on me especially while working with them in ‘Cinderella.’”
Bird described playing the role of this timeless princess as “a rollercoaster of emotions.”
“It’s an honor to be able to perform such a great role, but with that comes a lot of stress,” Bird said. “As a junior, it certainly put me under a lot of pressure, but with each rehearsal I’ve fallen more and more in love with the role.”
Despite the pressure she feels, Bird has made the role more of an extension of herself as opposed to trying to fit a preconceived mold of the character.
“My favorite part about the role is the acting because I love getting into character and the role as a fairytale princess really allows me to do that with some freedom to add something of my own,” Bird said.
Brian Bennett, senior performance major, is playing the dancing master. The dancing master teaches the step sisters the etiquette and dance to impress the prince at the ball.
“I get to act goofy when I play the dancing master,” Bennett said. “He’s a loud personality with pink hair. I haven’t had a role in a ballet where I get to be goofy.”
Bennett will also be one of the invited guests at the ball with Cinderella and the prince in Act 2.
“Being a guest is also new because we are present at the ball the entirety of the second act. That’s a lot of stage time,” Bennett said.
He also talks about how each production is a learning opportunity for him as a dancer.
“Once we have a skeleton of the choreography, we take time with our choreographers to find the nuances within it to make the movement look organic,” Bennett said. “Sometimes funny ideas pop up and dancers will emulate goofy gestures. I really enjoyed getting acquainted with my parts. Those moments of experiential learning help us tell the story in a way that keeps the audience engaged.”
The dancers will be accompanied by the Butler Symphony Orchestra lead by maestro Richard Clark playing the score by Sergei Prokofiev.
The performance will take place at Clowes on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $20 – $26 for students, children and senior citizens. Adult tickets range from $25 – $32.
Audience members also can join Butler Ballet at a tea party prior to the Sunday matinee performance for $15. BCR and JCA Performance credit is offered at all performances.