On Stage

Story Time

Fun with fairy tales

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A quick glance at Mount Baker Theatre’s schedule for the month of June reveals a trio of fairytale-related dance events sure to bring magic and movement to the stage. Best of all, the stories that will be told will all be executed by local movers and shakers—meaning the mythical characters populating the classic tales actually reside among us.

First up is Northwest Ballet Theatre’s rendition of Cinderella June 2-3 at the historic Commercial Street venue. It’s the third time in the dance company’s 19-year history that they’ll be bringing the rags-to-riches ballet about a young woman and a glass slipper to life, and artistic director John Bishop is excited to offer a few changes to audiences.

“We have a bigger and bolder production this year than the previous two,” Bishop says. “We have also added nice backdrops and scenery props such as an elaborate pumpkin carriage and some special effects that will give the audience more to ooh and ahh about. Some of what is similar is the basic story line, but I have added some embellishments here and there that make the ballet even more enjoyable to watch.”

Bishop also notes that Eleanor Totten, the 14-year-old dancer playing the title role at the Mount Baker Theatre and at a June 9 performance at Mount Vernon’s McIntyre Hall, has to be seen to be believed.

“She totally embodies what it means to give everything you have every day in class and rehearsal and then improve upon it by the next,” Bishop says. “More than any other dancer I have worked with, Eleanor possesses a quality and understanding of dance that is far beyond her years. The sacrifices she makes each day to make her a better and better dancer is truly what we take for granted when we watch a seasoned professional dancer. It blows my mind sometimes.”

The following weekend, Belle, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, and a host of other enchanted characters will be among those joining Ballet Bellingham’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast/i> Sun., June 10 at the MBT. The new, original ballet will feature a cast of more than 50 local dancers—including some as young as 3 years old—as well as lively music, canny choreography and jaw-dropping costumes.

Finally, Dancing for Joy ups the ante by combining three fairy tales into a memorable mashup. Those attending Neverwonderland of Oz at June 16-18 performances will see Wendy, Alice, and Dorothy—who are sisters in this telling—saving their worlds of Neverland, Wonderland, and Oz from the clutches of Captain Hook, the Red Queen, and Mombi. Wrap your mind around that, and then settle in for a story.

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