Novel Ballets

Peter Pan and Poetry of Ballet come to the Columbia stage

By Margaret Clay

This spring brings two new ballets to the Columbia stage. The first, created and directed by William Starrett at the Columbia City Ballet, offers a world premiere of the beloved story of Peter Pan. “I was inspired by the theme of never growing up,” William says, “and by the aspect of celebrating the child in all of us.” This ballet will delight audiences of all ages and portray all the favorite fantasies of the story — pirates, mermaids and, more specifically, flight. 

William says the ballet will be full of magic, fun and the unexpected. Theater-goers can anticipate a new classic and favorite from the Columbia City Ballet. Audience participation will also be an important component as they must help to save Tinker Bell during the performance. A Peter Pan Tea prior to the Saturday showing will give children a chance to meet characters and hear the story narrated, arts and crafts and get the first glimpse into Neverland.

“A world premiere is a tremendous creative gift for all,” says William. “Creating a new work of art is humbling and beyond exciting for every department of the Ballet Company — wardrobe, administration, artistic and production.” Peter Pan debuts March 18.

Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet also brings an exciting new literary ballet to the stage this spring, debuting Poetry of Ballet on April 23, with their annual spring gala to follow. John Whitehead explains that conveying poetry in ballet will be a seamless transition. “Ballet is itself like poetry in that ballet is a seamless transition,” he says. “It’s a perfect combination of movement and soaring music captured at the vanishing point — once performed, the memory lingers.”

He explains that the first part of the program, Les Sylphides, is a romantic ballet with no story other than a poet in a glade envisioning ethereal sylphs. “In a way you could say that Les Sylphides sets the tone for the entire evening,” he smiles. “It is one of lush romanticism.”

Brilliant young performers — the stars of tomorrow — will sweep the stage in this traditional romantic “white” ballet, Les Sylphides, with iconic interpretations of waltz melodies set by choreographer Mikhail Fokine. The program will also include works by exceptional regional choreographers, Jeff Lander and Keith Mearns. The company will be joined by Journy Wilkes-Davis and Anna Porter, guest artists in residence, dancing Spring Waters pas de deux set by Russian choreographer, Isaef Messerer. 

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