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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Something New

Ballet Indiana’s ‘Rumplestiltskin’ will attempt something that has never been done before.

A significant piece of artistry is about to debut in Evansville. The story of “Rumpelstiltskin” has never been performed at a ballet in the U.S. — at least, not officially — and leading the charge is Ballet Indiana and its symphony orchestra.

The team includes Kerri Lambert, artistic director of Ballet Indiana, and conductor Henry Cheng, director of the Ballet Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Cheng also works as a guest conductor with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and has led musicians on three continents. Cheng and Mahlon Berv composed an original score for this ballet.

The production consists of two acts: the first a performance of thematic contemporary ballets coordinated by guest choreographers, and the second a telling of “Rumplestiltskin.”

The plot resembles the original published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, with a few adjustments. Instead of a miller for a father, protagonist Laurelin has a widowed mother. Rather than a king, it is a queen who demands Laurelin spin straw into gold. Instead of marrying the King, Laurelin chooses a prince consort.

Lambert, an Iowa native who moved to Evansville six years ago, created both the libretto and original choreography for “Rumpelstiltskin.” She only has ever choreographed from an existing structure and says creating something new was exciting but daunting.

“I had to come up with a libretto so that (Cheng) could compose music,” Lambert says. “Being a part of the process of creating music was really exciting. It’s like a movie in that it’s an art that occurs through time, as well as requiring consideration of so many aspects: the dancers and their movement, the costumes, sets, lighting, and music to tell the story.”

Dancers of all ages will perform, from children as young as six to adults filling older roles. Alayna Lautner, a Castle High School senior who has been dancing for nine years, will perform as the character, Laurelin. Lautner also will dance for the entire 90-minute ballet, including two thematic contemporary pieces in Act One.

While she says the hardest part is remembering all of her choreography, Lautner has enjoyed creating something new.

“I’m really excited to see what it looks like on stage,” she says.

Ballet Indiana’s “Rumpelstiltskin” is set to perform at 7 p.m. May 5 and 2 p.m. May 6 at Victory Theatre.

Breaking Ground

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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