TUPELO – The Civic Ballet has some tricks up its sleeve when it comes to “The Sleeping Beauty,” but there’s no trick involved with how fond the company is of the classic ballet.
“It’s my personal favorite,” said Civic Ballet director Jan Dijkwel. “As a young dancer in the Netherlands, I would be part of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ a lot. I’ve always been partial to it and have always enjoyed it so much.”
While most people may be familiar with the animated Disney film from 1959, the ballet takes its story from the original fairy tale, becoming a fairy tale itself on the stage.
“The music is so celebratory and so strong and it’s really something unique that we can listen to music that was actually written for ballet,” Dijkwel said. “It’s something that doesn’t happen anymore. What happens now is choreography is adapted to and coordinated with music that is already existing. It’s rare right now to have a collaboration where the choreographers and the musicians create one piece as a whole, so it becomes this very unique experience.”
Civic Ballet has been hard at work on the production since May of last year, and with more than 60 performances and 130 costume changes, they’re ready for their time under the lights.
“It’s one of the great traditional ballets in the ballet world and it’s very well known,” he said. “It’s probably the anchor piece of very many companies in the European sector. It’s a really nice story because it has all kinds of opposites in it. It has the good and the bad, and we all like to see what’s presented to us with both the good and the bad and that brings us into an emotional roller coaster. We feel really good for the good side and we feel, maybe, bad for the bad side. It’s something that speaks to our minds. It’s also a story that is interesting for all ages, and that’s why I think it’s so appealing.”
This will be the company’s first time performing for school audiences in addition to the production.
“We’re doing it on Friday,” said Beth Richardson of North Mississippi Dance Centre. “We have 760 kids coming from all over the region to watch this performance, and this is how you want to spread the arts to the young people in this region.”
“We’re excited to be a part of that,” Dijkwel added.
In addition to current company members, the group will also be joined by alumni from Civic Ballet as well as special guests Andrew Taft and Daniel Ojeda from Ballet Idaho.
“It’s an enormous production and there’s nothing like it in terms of what needs to be managed,” Dijkwel said. “It’s longer than other performances and that requires more dancers. It’s probably the largest production that ballet has traditionally in its repertoire.”
“The Sleeping Beauty” has two performances on Saturday at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. For more information, call (662) 680-9041.
DIM THE LIGHTS
• What: Civic Ballet presents, “The Sleeping Beauty”
• When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday
• Where: Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center
• Info: (662) 680-9041 or civicballet.org
• “The Sleeping Beauty" cast: Koji Dijkwel, John Ratliff, Emma Reid, Cameron Stevens, Macclaine Griffith, Maddie Toole, Sarah Catherine Wood, Shiomi Yanagihara, Scarlett Von Strahl, Tianna Williams, Caroline Killough, Rachel Frick, Averi Coleman, Ivey Kate Brand, Ella Von Strahl, Ella Grace Ramels, Beth Richardson, Jan Dijkwel, Hannah Tybor, Hetty Layton, Adrienne Hildenbrand, Sarah Beth Stewart, Rachel Williams, Catherine Barkley, Anna Avery Edwards, Ashlynn Clark, Meghan Crownover, Hannah Greenlee, Lyra Kate Lentz, Maddox Harris, Caroline Buse, Caitlyn George, Maggie Phillips, Madelyn Von Strahl, Maddie Arancibia, Allison Griswold, Kanta Dijkwel, Devon Moore, Caroline Killough, Scarlett Von Strahl, Tianna Williams, Ava Hildenbrand, Catherine Barkley, Macclaine Griffith, Ainsley Ryan, Molly Billingsley, Sophie Hoard, Daphne Young, Hannah Baggett, Riley Williams, Gracie Killough, Riley Swinney, Mary Margaret Deaton, Bella Cochran, Acelynn Salazar, Averi Coleman, Ella Grace Ramels, Ivey Kate Brand, Faith Williams, Haillee Sonwineski, Lily Riddle, Kaylee Wade, Victoria Greenlee, Ella Von Strahl, Liza Sullivan, Cate Babb, Avery Prust