Wednesday, May 7, 2014

‘Hansel & Gretel’ set to dance

Footlight to perform well-known story in a unique presentation

Express Staff Writer

Jazz dancers as cobweb spiders. Back row, from left, Annie Ashfield, Liza Buell, Kendall Piggins; front row: Malila Freeman, Lauren Robideaux, Lynnlea Strickland; and in the middle Hansel and Gretel: Shea Slanetz, Isabella Cronin.
Courtesy photos by Aubrey Stephens and Manon Gaudreau

    Most have heard of the story of “Hansel & Gretel,” the German fairy tale published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. And many have heard of Engelbert Humperdinck, the British-Indian pop singer.
     Fewer, myself included, likely know that not only was there an earlier Engelbert Humperdinck, back in the 1800s, but that that Humperdinck composed an opera of “Hansel
& Gretel.”
    After 30 years of bringing out original versions of classics and reimagining just about everything else as performances, Footlight Dance Centre has once again tackled something new to celebrate the anniversary milestone.
    Footlight dancers will perform “Hansel & Gretel” Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 11, at 2 p.m. at the Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater at the Community Campus in Hailey.
    “Hansel & Gretel” is new to the Foolight’s repertory of dance, and although the story was put into animation in the 1950s, it was never set to original music for a ballet.
    Director Hilarie Neely explains that while there have been numerous theatrical productions of “Hansel & Gretel,” few dance performances have been choreographed to the tale.
    “We have wonderful surprises in store with the music, dances and set to fill your imagination,” she said. “The journey of our heroines is sure to warm your heart.”
    The production features Shea Slanetz as Hansel and Isabella Cronin and Bryn Downey dual cast as Gretel. Annie Ashfield is the Queen of the Forest and brother and sister Lemuel and Bronwyn Reagan play the Woodcutter and his Wife. The Gingerbread Witch will be played by Lauren Robideaux.
    A total of 180 young dancers will take the stage for the production. Choreography will be by core artists Christina Arpp, Peter Burke, Shellrae Garnes, Julie Fox, Michele Minailo, Hilarie Neely, Anne Winton, Yurek Hansen and Sheena Phelps.
    All tickets are $6 and available in advance at Iconoclast Bookstore in Ketchum and The Modern Mercantile in Hailey.

What: “Hansel & Gretel” performance by Footlight Dance Centre.
When: May 9-11.
Where: Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater at the Community Campus in Hailey.


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