Thursday, January 5, 2012
Ballet preview: Cinderella at Courtyard Theatre of Plano
Plano Metropolitan Ballet is celebrating its 25th season.
Performed by nearly 50 dancers from Plano, Allen, Fairview, Frisco, Lucas, Murphy, McKinney, Richardson, and Wylie, this original ballet version of the classic fairy tale includes more than just Cinderella herself. A wicked stepmother, a couple of sinister sisters, and a swarm of princesses and ladies-in-waiting vying for the prince's heart also take center stage, as well as Cinderella's favorite animal friends and, of course, a whimsical fairy godmother.
"Almost everyone does The Nutcracker, but we opted out of that so we can be a little bit different," said Cindi Lawrence Hanson, artistic director and choreographer. "So every January we do a different story tale ballet, and every year it's fresh."
Formed in 1987, Plano Metropolitan Ballet has offered a professional place for young dancers to perform. Many such dancers have, thanks to PMB, gone on to perform with professional companies or attend major university dance programs. Over the years the company has grown in both size and caliber, Hanson said. Having had to add an additional performance this year to help accommodate demand, Hanson said this year's performance is sure to please.
"When we were trying to decide what to do for our silver anniversary it seemed like Cinderella is the most magical and the first fairy tale that comes to mind when you think of something so special," Hanson said. "The shoe just seems to fit."
This year the troupe will also welcome the talent of Texas Ballet Theatre's Rubén Gerding. Playing the handsome prince, Gerding has also danced professionally with the Metropolitan Classical Ballet in Arlington and has taught classes at several university ballet programs. This will be Gerding's second year performing with PMB, as he played the role of the prince in last year's production of Snow White.
"To have someone so polished and with such an inspiring technique to share the stage with us, it inspires our dancers to put forth that extra effort," Hanson said. "It takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication from the dancers to put on these performances. We started working on Cinderella in August. I can't wait to see the audiences' reactions."
This month's performance marks 10-year-old Kaylie Seitz's second role with PMB. Having played a flower and a bunny rabbit in Snow White last year, the Wylie resident said her new role of bluebird is a big step for the eight-year dance veteran. As one of the youngest dancers in the troupe, Seitz said she has greatly benefited from the level of expertise the ballet has imparted upon her.
"It makes me feel proud to know that I am becoming a stronger dancer," Seitz said. "I've always wanted to become a dancer. I think it's amazing because when I tell my friends I'm doing this they are always encouraging me and saying 'good luck.' I always ask people if this is the correct step so I can get prepared for it, too; the people have been very helpful."
Plano Senior High School senior Amelia Leidy has been with the company for nine years and has been dancing since she was 2 years old. Having moved through the ranks just as Seitz is doing now, Leidy played the part of the evil queen last year and said the experience has prepared her for her career goal of working with special needs children from a dancer's perspective.
"Every kid needs a hobby, and when I was put into dance I was happy about it," said Leidy, 17. "I've anticipated this role since I was 3; this is one of my biggest accomplishments."
General public performances will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. January 14 and 7 p.m. January 20. Tickets are $15. For information, visit www.planometballet.org or call 972-769-0017.
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