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Ballet Wooster presents 'Summer in Paris'

Sara Daugherty, left, Mae Miller and Hope Kennedy are in Ballet Wooster's production, "Summer in Paris."


Ballet Wooster will present "Summer in Paris" along with other pieces during its upcoming production on the weekend of April 21 and 22 at Wooster High School Performing Arts Center, 515 Oldman Road, Wooster.
"'Summer in Paris' is a really enjoyable show for all ages," said Stephanie Sustar, co-artistic director of Ballet Wooster. "The classical music from Jacques Offenbach provides an energetic backdrop for the dancing, and I find myself smiling along throughout the entire show."
The production will feature nearly 70 local Wayne County dancers along with five adult guest artists. Two of the adults, Ethan Ralston and Veronica Nolletti, are Ballet Wooster instructors.
The show is set on a sunny summer day in Paris. "It's a narrative ballet," said Brenda Schwinn, co-artistic director of Ballet Wooster. "It tells a tale of life in old Paris on a Sunday afternoon."
The tale includes an eclectic cast of characters, from a flower seller, to high-kicking can can dancers, to the local gendarme. There also will be energetic groups of the youngest dancers performing as butterflies and bees.
The first half of the program will provide variety with three separate dance pieces: two classical ballets and one modern dance.
Nolletti has choreographed a classical ballet piece, "Nightfall," for the intermediate dancers. Schwinn's classical piece, "Flower Festival," will feature the older dancers.
"It's very playful," Schwinn said. "It is in the Bournonville style, which is characteristic of the Royal Danish Ballet: lots of intricate and quick footwork."
Sustar's modern dance uses music from a popular movie's soundtrack. "You'll have to come see the performance to hear which one," she said.
Sustar explained that modern dance and ballet, while completely different styles, compliment one another. "I like to say that ballet tends to fight gravity, whereas modern dance embraces it," she said. "We use the floor, and we're grounded."
In modern dance one might see flexed feet or somersaults on the floor. "I love seeing a classical dancer discover the freedom of modern dance," Sustar said. "Training in both styles results in a more well-rounded dancer. However, I would say that those dancers with a strong ballet foundation tend to make the transition to different styles more easily."
Putting on a full-scale dance production is no easy feat. Everyone at Ballet Wooster has been working long hours since January to bring the show together.
"All of the students, instructors, choreographers, directors and volunteers have been working really hard, once again, to help make this production a success," Sustar said.
The dance company had just completed their December "Nutcracker" performance, and it was time to turn around and look toward a spring show.
"There wasn't much down time," Sustar said. "However, it's satisfying and worth all the work to be able to provide quality, professional-like performance opportunities for our students and the community."
It's a win-win situation for everyone with the community having access to high-quality dance performances and the students having the experience of performing.
"These young dancers are learning and refining performing skills while enjoying the privilege of working in a professional setting," Sustar said. "It takes discipline, commitment and motivation, and with all of their extra rehearsals and hours spent with each other at the studio and in the theater, they are creating memories and developing character that will last a lifetime."
The presentation on Saturday, April 21 will be at 7 p.m., and the one on Sunday, April 22 will be at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.balletwooster.org/events/ or at the door.

Published: April 10, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180409934