Ballet academy to present Cinderella

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NW0318 Cinderella Ballet

Few fairy tales are more well-known than “Cinderella,” and the East Tennessee Ballet Academy will present its own version of the tale this weekend at T.A Dugger Junior High School.

This is the first time the ETBA has presented a spring production, and academy Director Cynthia Bernshausen hopes to make it an annual event.

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The popularity of the classic tale led Bernshausen to select it for the academy’s first-ever spring show.

“We want to introduce children to the fine arts,” Bernshausen said. “(“Cinderella”) is a funny, easy story that has some fun moments, some funny moments and beautiful ballet moments.”

Erin Augustine will play Cinderella opposite Micah Nelson as the Prince. The cast also will include Jeremy Cochran and Jonah Calhoun as be the stepsisters, Regean Kelly as the Stepmother and Karissa Augustine as the Fairy Godmother. Dancers from the ETBA and the East Tennessee Youth Ballet will perform in the show, filling various roles.

“The whole school is involved,” Bernshausen said. “We encouraged everyone who wanted to be in the show to participate.”

It may seem odd that two boys are listed as playing the stepsisters, but it is traditional in “Cinderella” for the stepsisters and the stepmother to be played by male dancers, Bernshausen said.

The combination of male dancers with female roles leads to some funny moments in the production.

“In the ballroom scene, the prince gives the stepsisters an orange,” Bernshausen said. “In those times, an orange was something special. They didn’t have access to them like we do now. The stepsisters start to play with it, tossing it back and forth. Watching the boys practice, they throw and catch it like they are playing ball. It is an interesting combination.”

It is the combination of all these elements that will make for an entertaining show, Bernshausen said.

“It goes from being cute with the little mice to laugh-out-loud funny and then beautiful,” she said.

Dancers started working on the ballet at the beginning of the year. While a lot of hard work went into preparing for the show, the dancers were also battling Mother Nature to learn their roles in the ballet.

“We started at New Years, but little did I know that we would have ice and snow for almost two weeks straight,” Bernshausen said. “They have been working hard to make sure they are ready for the show.”

Parents are encouraged to bring their children to one of the showings, Bernshausen said. The ETBA hopes their performance can introduce more children to the fine arts.

“It’s not just about introducing them to the ballet, but to the arts in general,” she said. “One child might be attracted to music, another to drawing and others to dancing. There is something in the show that will appeal to all of them. With it’s familiar story line, funny characters, cute little creatures,  a beautiful fairy godmother and a handsome prince as well as the really lovely dancing of our own home grown ballet dancers the show is sure to leave the children and their parents knowing the performing arts is alive and well in Elizabethton.”

ETBA will present Cinderella on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the auditorium at T.A.D.

Tickets are $10 and admission is free for children age 12 and under.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 512-1722 or at the door 30 minutes before the performance.