Sarah Bosse and Dillon Davis portray Cinderella and the Prince in Central Ballet Theatre's upcoming performance of the classic tale.
Central Ballet Theatre of Greeneville will bring the beloved story of “Cinderella” to the stage Jan. 22-24 with some novel and interesting twists to the classic tale.
A cast of 110 local and professional dancers will present the original ballet for all ages in the auditorium of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building on the Tusculum College campus. Four performances are scheduled: 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22; 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 24.
NOTICE: The Friday and Saturday performances of the Cinderella ballet have been postponed until next week due to weather. The Sunday, January 24 performance of Cinderella will take place at 2 pm at Annie Hogan Byrd Auditorium.
Adapted and choreographed by Central Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Lori Ann Sparks, this unique ballet is based on the familiar children’s story of a virtuous young woman who suffers hardships and injustice but endures and is miraculously rewarded for her courage and kindness. While she was writing the storyline of Cinderella, Sparks said she read every version of the fairy tale she could, including versions from foreign countries that helped her create a the title character as a young lady with great depth and generosity.
“Cinderella” includes something for everyone: from cute little butterflies and military mice to dancers welding swords in a wolf attack, from a fire-breathing dragon to a manly but kind prince, as well as modest yet beautiful costuming, intricate choreography, inspiring music, creative sets and lighting.
The ballet will feature three guest professional dancers, Dillon Davis, Joshua Krutzberg and Nanako Yamamoto.
Davis, a dancer and teacher at Chattanooga Ballet, portrays the Prince. Davis started his professional career as a trainee at Alabama Ballet under the direction of Wes Chapman. After completing his training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Davis performed professionally with Nashville Ballet and Dance Theater of Tennessee.
Audiences may recognize Kurtzberg who has danced roles in previous Central Ballet productions including “Rapunzel” and “Caspian: Return to Narnia.” In “Cinderella” he will appear as the lead character’s father. Kurtzberg began his training on full scholarship with Atlanta Ballet. After four years, he was offered a company position but pursued his training with the Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy on full scholarship. Kurtzberg danced with American Repertory Ballet (ARB) for six years and now resides in Atlanta
Yamamoto, a principal with ARB, appears as the Coral Fairy in “Cinderella.” A native of Japan, she attended the prestigious Royal Ballet Summer School, then auditioned for and was accepted to the Elmhurst School for Dance in association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Yamamoto has performed for his Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and for the grand re-opening of Birmingham’s town hall. She has danced with ballet companies in Florida and is in her fourth season with ARB.
Sparks, the company’s resident professional dancer, returns to the stage in the role of Cinderella’s mother. In addition to serving as artistic director, storywriter and choreographer, Sparks is the founder of Central Ballet School and Central Ballet Theatre and is ballet mistress for both.
Company dancer Parke Brumit plays the role of Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother. Brumit majored in business administration and trained in ballet technique under Sydney Warren at Virginia Intermont College. As well as dancing with the ballet, she serves as Central Ballet Theatre’s board president and has garnered financial support from the generous donors in the community.
The title role of Cinderella will be danced by Dandridge Sarah Bosse. Greenevillian Hannah Randles will portray the Fairy Godmother.
Every part of the ballet has been designed, created and built by local community members. Helping lead a host of volunteers are Courtney Beddingfield, who oversees social media; Sara Aiken, who coordinates the children’s backstage; Cindy Kricko, who manages the box office; Kimberly Boschee and Jody Johnson, who have designed costumes and coordinated the sewing process, and Dave Johnson, who had edited music and is responsible for the sound during the productions. Parents became involved by assisting in set production and working in every facet of the backstage world of a production.
Talented local artists have added their touch to the production. “We are so blessed to work with Nan Anderson and Sherry Peters who paint the huge sets,” says Blair Berry, production manager for Central Ballet. “Brian Sparks, along with master builder, Scott Gailey, do a fantastic job of building several complicated sets, and we are always thankful for Frank Mengel’s (technical director for Tusculum College Arts Outreach) technical oversight and brilliant lighting design.” Central Ballet Theatre also appreciates the corporations, local business and individuals who financially support the organization to make productions such as “Cinderella” possible.
The thirteenth production for Central Ballet, “Cinderella” continues a tradition for the company in performing story ballets. Sparks said she enjoys the story ballets “because the pieces are highly educational and fulfilling in the sense that they encompass every part of a dancer’s being – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. The most exciting part of my job is taking an empty stage, then placing dancers on it. From there, they learn ballet movement that displays what I want them to ‘say.’ Using music that sets the tone of the scene, we add costuming, sets and props, and Frank adds lighting. Viola! We have an entire scene. The scenes add up to a ballet that tells an amazing life story.
“A nice addition to any ballet is a variation of choreography. In this ballet, four of the dances are choreographed by other professionals, Marilyn duBrisk, Jen Kintner, Joshua Kurtzberg and Elizabeth Sparks, adding different styles of dancing. Central Ballet Theatre strives for excellence in all we do so as to honor the One who gives us this beautiful art of dance and to share this gift with the community. My goal is to see the audience, and dancers alike, leaving the theater uplifted and joyful from watching and participating in the ballet.”
Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors 60 and over. Tickets are available for purchase at Three Blind Mice, the General Morgan Inn, Richland Creek Gifts, and Tusculum Arts Outreach. Tickets can also be reserved by calling (423) 724-7014 or (423) 798-1620.
Portraying the main characters of "Cinderella" are, from left, Parke Brumit as Lady Tremaine, Elizabeth Sparks as Anatasia Tremain, Sophia Sparks as Styles Tremaine, Hannah Randles as the Fairy Godmother, Emma Beddingfield as Bluebird, Dillon Davis as The Prince and Sarah Bosse as Cinderella. (Photos accompanying this article and the front teaser by Hiliary Bowman, courtesy of PicsByHil Photography)