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Published: Monday, 4/15/2013

Ballet Theatre of Toledo presents ‘Snow White,’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf.'

STORIES BY SALLY VALLONGO
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

If you want to witness a graceful example of the dark side in art, don’t miss Danielle Moseley’s portrayal of the Evil Queen, poisoner of gift apples, in Ballet Theatre of Toledo’s production next weekend of Snow White.

Moseley, a Ballet Theatre graduate and member of its company, becomes jealousy personified in this evocative new dance choreographed by Nigel Burgoine, founder and artistic director of the company, and set to original music by Toledo composer Wayne Anthony.

This will be a world premiere — not the first for the Burgoine-Anthony team.

Also planned is Peter and the Wolf, with music by Prokofiev and new choreography by Burgoine.

The double bill opens Friday for three performances at Trinity Episcopal Church, 316 Adams St. downtown. Friday and Saturday start times are 7 p.m. and an April 21 matinee is at 2 p.m.

“This will be our fifth year of collaboration,” Burgoine said. “I’m so excited about it. It’s community people coming together.”

Company dancers with guest performers from the community will fill all the roles, which range from the vulnerable Snow White and her adorable seven dwarves to newsman Tony Geftos of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, as narrator for Peter and the Wolf.

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Both dances will be accompanied by 23 musicians in the SonoNovo Ensemble, the resident chamber orchestra of Trinity, where Anthony is on staff.

Anthony and Burgoine have created a rich array of performances for the spring performance schedule each year and the concert season Anthony produces at Trinity each year.

“We started with Appalachian Spring, then the Narnian Fantasy, Four Seasons, American in Paris, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Carnival of the Animals,” said Burgoine, rattling off half a decade of team-conceived and executed performance projects.

Often, the next idea arises during the performance itself, when both men view the fulfillment of visions from a year earlier.

For this year’s Snow White score, Anthony avoided all things Disney, seeking the original text by the brothers Grimm, whose moral tales came packaged in stories shaded dark and darker.

“I distilled the story to nine scenes,” Anthony explained. Each scene advanced the story and gave him space to create themes for his characters.

Composing music for dancers requires sustaining a recognizable beat for the dancers, as well as creating melodic leitmotifs to link sections together and give the audience a sonic thread to follow.

Burgoine’s ability to shape movements through space for multiple performers leaves Anthony impressed.

“He’s pretty amazing at taking something fairly un-metered and wild and having his dancers arrive at the right place at the right time,” said Anthony. “What he does works so much better than what I had envisioned.”

For his part, Burgoine, ever pragmatic, tries to plan ballets that play to the strength of his company, year by year.

“Last year I realized I had seven boys,” he said happily. (Boys are usually in short supply in classical dance companies.) Many of these boy dancers began studying with him when they were barely out of kindergarten.

In Ballet Theatre’s annual production of Nutcracker, boys have many roles to play, from the party scene to all the color segments in Act II.

“You get a good feeling from Nutcracker of how the boys work together,” Burgoine said. This year for the first time, Anthony was conducting the orchestra and watching rehearsals.

The all-local cast includes Peter Krull as the Huntsman. The St. John’s High School wrestler has taken to the physical and artistic demands of ballet with surprising speed and talent, Burgoine noted.

Dancing the roles of Snow White’s parents are Beth Hyder and Peter Weaner. Snow White will be portrayed by Claire Hyder.

The version of Peter and the Wolf will stray a bit from the original story. “The wolf is captured and taken to the zoo,” said Burgoine.

Working with the colorful score was a delight, he said.

“When Prokofiev did this, he approached it like a choreographer, moving his music forward and at the same time showing young people how music can portray a bird. The joy I get is to add to that. I love portraying the animal through a dancer’s body.”

Harrison McClintock will dance the role of Peter and Robert Rash will be the Wolf.

Tony Geftos, a newsman from the 13ABC, will narrate the tale. He has worked with Ballet Theatre of Toledo in the past, portraying Mother Ginger in The Nutcracker.

Tickets are $20-$25 at 419-861-0895.

Contact Sally Vallongo at: svallongo@theblade.com



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