Wednesday, December 5, 2007

?The Little Mermaid? to make splash debut

Ballet school creates original show with a touch of Broadway

Express Staff Writer

Nina Hirner is the sea witch in the Sun Valley Ballet School?s production of ?The Little Mermaid.? Photo by David N. Seelig

Sun Valley Ballet School members have been working especially hard these past months to present their original performance of "The Little Mermaid," based on the fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.

Departing from the "Disney" version but still producing a "happily ever-after story," the ballet school has choreographed and created a ballet with special guest and Broadway dancer Jermaine Rembert. Performances will be Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. Reserved seating is $25 and $50, half of which is a tax-deductible donation. General admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available at Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum and the Blaine County Fitness Center in Hailey.

The collaboration of Rembert and company artistic director Sherry Horton, who both danced together at the Columbia City Ballet, has resulted in a ballet, which includes the entire ballet school with the exception of the three-year olds.

"Rembert has been working with the ballet for a month and co-choreographing several pieces with Horton," said Sun Valley Ballet School co-director Jill Brennan. "There are a lot of Broadway influences from Rembert, such as his work in 'Swing.' Rembert lifts several girls, which is a great deal of fun for them."

Costumes were created by school co-director Nadja Hirner, who designed the tutus, the seahorse and the mermaid.

"The Little Mermaid" will be a permanent part of the school's repertoire, which includes at least ten years' worth of productions so no child has to do the same ballet twice. The school has five ballets, which it rotates around "The Nutcracker."

"All the seniors have solos and five of them are graduating," Brennan said. "Everyone has had lots of rehearsal, especially the older kids, who have been rehearsing for at least 15 hours a week for the last month."

Brennan said this is the school's biggest fundraiser of the year, and this year parents who went out to find sponsors obtained the largest number ever.

"We have almost twice as many as last year," Brennan said. "We want to give a big thank-you to the community for their support and to tell everyone to please shop locally."

The Sun Valley Ballet School will be moving and will hold its main studio classes for three-year olds to seniors at the YMCA in Ketchum as of Jan. 7. There will still be classes at the Blaine County Fitness Center in Hailey.

For more details, call 726-9876 or e-mail

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