By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

‘Sleeping Beauty’

Photo courtesy of Central Dance Academy.

The classic tale “Sleeping Beauty” has been reimagined into a unique ballet by the Central Washington Dance Academy. It’s a spin on the old classic tale with a mix of Disney’s flare to create a ballet that anyone in the Ellensburg community can enjoy. The ballet was performed on April 27 and April 28 at the Morgan Performing Arts Theatre. The performance showcased the power the Ellensburg community has as a whole.

“We did like a mix of traditional ballet, which was originally choreographed by Marius Pepita, long time ago in the 1800’s, and then we also pulled from the Disney version,” Taylor Burr, a CWU graduate and main choreographer for “Sleeping Beauty,” said. “So we have a mix of those two storylines, and when it comes to choreography, the variations that you’ll see, so the fairies, Aurora, most of their solo things are going to be the original choreography by Pepita but everything in between is going to be [our] original choreography.” 

Burr choreographed two acts of the production, “Cottage” and “Aurora’s 16th Birthday,” both of which played a significant role in the development of the story. 

The act “Cottage” depicts Aurora dreaming about falling in love. While out in the forest, Aurora meets an array of characters, ranging from birds, cats and woodland fairies. She also meets the handsome prince and the two quickly become infatuated. “Aurora’s 16th Birthday” is a tragic act where Aurora pricks her finger on a bouquet of roses, given to her by a mysterious guest. Aurora falls into a deep slumber during the night of her 16th birthday and can only be woken up from true love’s kiss by the prince in the end. 

Emma Tolmitch, a dance and theater productions major, plays the role of Flora in “Sleeping Beauty.” In the story Flora is one of the three fairies that help Aurora in breaking the curse from the evil Maleficent. Tolmitch has a solo part with the other fairies at the beginning of Aurora’s birth. 

Rhodes Manhatten, a clinical physiology major at CWU, was also involved in the production of “Sleeping Beauty” as a teacher. Manhatten applied for a position as a dance teacher at Central Washington Dance Academy, and ever since she has been able to teach ballet and contemporary dance. Manhatten has watched dancers grow over the past few years, while also getting to meet other college students who are pursuing dance.

 “I love how much we’re dancing at the college, but getting that little extra push here especially on the ballet side because they don’t focus heavily on ballet,” Tolmitch said.

The main takeaway however, would be how Ellensburg came together as a community to help in the preparation for the ballet. Ellensburg is a small town in comparison to other towns in the area, but many people came forward to help in the creation of the performance. 

“Everyone is so supportive of each other and that’s in between students and teachers and the instructors, but I’ve been at other studios that haven’t been as great community-wise,” Manhatten said. “And so it’s been really refreshing to have such a great community that you can really celebrate each other through just your normal classes, but also these bigger performances.” 

Tolmitch echoes this sentiment. “Yeah, I came from a really big studio over on the west side,” Mitch said. “So coming into a small studio, seeing the parents helping with costumes and sets and changes and everything is just so nice to see. Because you kind of get to know everyone so much better.”

Parent’s of the dancers even set up yard signs throughout the town to promote the performance. Manhatten herself helped with social media promoting the dance, while also coaching the variations of the original choreography. 

“We had some comments yesterday being like, ‘Oh, we’ve never been to a ballet [and] we had no idea what to expect…’” Burr said. “And then they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait for your next show.’”

Photo courtesy of Central Dance Academy.
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