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The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Three ballet performers

25th annual ballet performance brings together EMU departments

For the past 25 years the dance department and symphony orchestra have gotten together to put on a ballet, and this year's theme is Sleeping Beauty and The World of Fairy Tales.

The ballet will take place on Thursday, Dec. 7 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Pease Auditorium. The event was founded in 1999 by Sherry Wilkinson and Kevin Miller. 

Miller has since retired and the new director of orchestra studies, Chad Hutchinson, now helps run the concert. Each year Wilkinson and Hutchinson discuss which ballet to put on. They each have a list of six ballets that work for the event.

"We consider a lot of factors before deciding each year," Wilkinson said.

This year's theme covers different fairytales with a main focus on Sleeping Beauty. There will be an abridged performance of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty. The ballet follows mostly the same plot as the original story written by Charles Perrault. 

A king and queen host a party to celebrate their newborn daughter. Six fairies grant the child gifts. An evil fairy crashes the party and curses the girl to prick her finger on her 16th birthday and die. The last fairy changes the curse so that the princess will merely sleep for 100 years and be awakened by a kiss from a handsome prince.

When the curse is carried out the fairy places the whole kingdom under a sleeping spell. 100 years later a prince comes along, kisses the princess, and wakes the whole kingdom. The ballet ends with yet another party celebrating the prince and princess's wedding. There will be music from other fairy tales sprinkled in as well.

For those involved, it is truly a collaborative effort. The musicians must play flawlessly so as not to disrupt the dancers. They have to maintain speed and stay focused with all of the distractions on the stage. 

The dancers must adjust to the differences of live music, the way the music echoes and resonates can be off-putting. Live music is also far more varied, each rendition is not the same as it is with recorded music. 

"For a dancer, it is a privilege to dance to live music," Wilkinson said.

Tickets can be purchased here for $8 per person.