Ballet goers might not expect to laugh at "Cinderella." But Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye, who choreographed the version debuting Feb. 14-15 at Northwest Arkansas Ballet Theatre, expects the audience will -- and so do the dancers portraying the two romantic leads.
"I can only speak for myself, but some of the scenes that include the stepsisters are outrageously funny; they make it hard to keep acting onstage and will have audiences laughing in their seats," says Ava Cobb, who is dancing the role of Cinderella. "There is comedy, love, heartbreak and magic all in one ballet."
WHEN — 7 p.m. Feb. 14-15
WHERE — Arend Arts Center at Bentonville High School
COST — $25
INFO — 553-7400, nwaballettheatre.org
Wojciech Ogloza, playing the Prince, says he hopes the interaction with Cinderella's stepfamily "makes the audience bust out in laughter."
"I personally love the playful parts where the Prince and Cinderella get to be playful with flirting and how consumed the Prince becomes with her," he adds. "I would honestly hope what you take from this is that not all ballet is serious or sad. There are some really funny moments in lots of ballets. Also with every serious moment in your life or end of a journey, there is always something to look forward to."
Jolicoeur-Nye, who is also the ballet company's artistic director, says he chose "Cinderella" "for its spectrum of storytelling enchantment. The history of classical ballet is one that is measured by a dance company's ability to present full-length works, taking its audience on a spellbinding journey from start to finish. From lighthearted productions like 'The Nutcracker,' to the tragic love tale of 'Romeo and Juliet,' or the timeless and passionate classic, 'Swan Lake,' Northwest Arkansas Ballet Theatre is thrilled to expand its own repertoire in this historical realm."
It also afforded him the broadest palette as a choreographer.
"My choreography is based primarily off the book, and unlike 'Swan Lake' or 'Giselle,' there is not an iconic original choreography," he says. "There are so many versions and interpretations of the work that it is quite easy to adapt with your own inspiration in mind. Although I have certainly taken some fun liberties with the humor, as far as the choreography, my goal is to tell the story using classical ballet as the language."
Cobb says "Cinderella" is a great place for novice ballet goers to begin.
"I love the role of Cinderella because she is sweet, kind and humble despite her circumstances," says Cobb, who started dancing at the age of 5. "She doesn't let a situation define her attitude. This is my debut in the role of Cinderella, and it's been such a gift to rehearse. Ryan has created a difficult role technically, but perhaps the most challenging -- and most enjoyable -- part is the acting. I get to be a a normal girl whose most imaginative dream comes true, she falls in love, experiences heartbreak and restoration at the end of the ballet. It is a full spectrum of emotion that's been a lovely challenge to portray."
She was a quiet child, adds Cobb, who comes to Northwest Arkansas from Ballet Arizona, and "dance gave me a voice and a place to tell my story like I had never experienced before. That is still true today.
"Watching a ballet is like watching an old silent film," she adds. "The story may not be handed to you in words, but you can understand it perfectly."
"We have to speak through our bodies, which can be a daunting task for people trying to create a storyline," adds Ogloza. "Put yourself in our shoes and try and see what we are saying through our very complex movements. There will always be something for everyone at ballets. Some will stick, and some don't. It's the beauty of art in all forms: It's always open to interpretation."
NAN What's Up on 02/09/2020
Print Headline: Love And Laughter