December 30, 2019
On Countless Cincinnati Families
After Beauty and the Beast inaugurated Cincinnati Ballet’s popular Family Series last season, the series returns March 30 – April 7 with another family-friendly production for kids of all ages with our Family Series: Aladdin.
We spoke with Suzette Boyer Webb, Director of Cincinnati Ballet Second Company (CB2), about what it takes to take to bring this enchanted and beloved classic to life.
There are 58 cast members in Aladdin.
Staging of the ballet and initial rehearsals began in September and we selected back-ups in mid-February.
The cast members range in age from 8 to 23.
Besides the beautiful and challenging pas de deux and solo variation, the most difficult thing is how each character must work to tell their individual stories physically, through both dance and pantomime. The dancing and acting to portray the monkey, Malik, is both challenging and fun! The role of Scherazade as the narrator also requires a great deal of attention as to how to create a spellbound tale through pantomime.
Not too close. It is a more traditional telling of the story brought to life through the narrators, led by Scherazade. There are some similar elements like Aladdin and the princess, magic carpets. But in this version Aladdin’s best friend is his monkey Malik and Kalila has a pet tiger. Another notable difference is that Aladdin’s mother plays a very important part in the ballet version.
It runs for an hour and ten minutes.
Absolutely! The ballet is formulated like a classical ballet so it incorporates all aspects of a full length work such as dance, storytelling, mime, characterization, corps de ballet and beautiful pas de deux. In addition, at only just over one hour it is the perfect time frame for a younger audience.
Besides working with the wonderful Ballet West choreographers, Pamela Robinson Harris and Peggy Dolkas, it is so much fun to watch all of the dancers grow in their roles.
Our young animal characters, are finding new ways every day to present their characters. Our upper level, and Academy are working hard on developing their corps de ballet roles and partnering skills. Our CB2 dancers are working on challenging choreography and finding the stage magnitude and presence, to carry principal roles.
I am also very grateful to have former CB dancer Grace Shivers helping out as Rehearsal Coach, along with Sarah Hairston Berkley, Zack Grubbs, Courtney Hellebuyck and Oǧulcan Borova. What a team!!