Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ delights all ages
By Adrienne Warber
When the curtain rose at the beginning of the “Beauty of the Beast” ballet, children in the audience were already happily sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the start of a beloved fairy tale. Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company performed “Beauty and the Beast” on March 15-17, and will hold two more performances this weekend, March 23-24. The ballet lived up to the magic of the classic story with the inventive choreography of Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company Director Attila Mosoylgo and the lovely dancing of the student dancers in the year’s production.
Grand Rapids Ballet School’s Special ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Grand Rapids Ballet School premiered the “Beauty and the Beast,” with original choreography by Attila Mosolygo in May 2014 and was a fast family favorite. This year’s show captured all the magic of the original premiere. Mosolygo crafted a warm, inviting show with choreography that deftly defines each character and a set design that cleverly established the mood for each number. The set was a combination of projections, moveable scenery and props. The pretty projection paintings worked well with the lighting design. The elegant costumes captured the warmth of the fairy tale. The Junior Company dancers gave a strong, artful performance on opening weekend. Overall, the production gives Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company dancers the experience of a professional-level production at the Peter Martin Wege Theatre. Mosolygo, Grand Rapids Ballet School staff and parents all worked together with the student dancers create an enjoyable, professional quality show.
Dancing ‘Beauty and the Beast’
The quality of a Grand Rapids Ballet School education is evident in the production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company dancers gave an impressive performance. The dancers told the story with expression, good acting skills and well-executed technique.
Lily Pietryga (Belle) and Luca Massara (Beast) performed their roles with emotion and strong technique on opening weekend. Pietryga’s Belle communicated the caring and kind-hearted spirit of the character. Massara’s Beast portrayed the character’s inner gentleness and generosity. Both Pietryga and Massara are talented dancers and actors that brought the fairy tale characters to life in a believable and enjoyable manner.
The show featured a large cast of dancers with many opportunities for Junior Company members to dance. The numbers were well-staged to feature the large cast and tell the story. The story unfolded in a way that was easy to follow, even if one was unfamiliar with the fairy tale. Each character was well-developed in both dancer performance and choreography. The talented cast brought to the fairy tale to life with their performance of life in the mystical forest, the merry town, Belle’s happy home, and Beast’s enchanted castle. The dancers in the enchanted castle created a magical world that entertained all ages in the audience. The costumes of the enchanted household were adorable, and the dancers created personas that matched their assigned characters smoothly. The rose dancers performed their numbers with elegance matching Mosolygo’s lovely choreography. The roses were a large part of the magical feel of scenes in the beast’s domain. Professional guests Grand Rapids Company dancer Amadeo Lopez-Keranen did a good job as Belle’s suitor, Avenant, and Grand Rapids Ballet Guest Services Manager Errol Shewman was a delightful Belle’s father.
The combination of good character development with quality dance technique are very noteworthy in this Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company show of “Beauty and the Beast.” The production took the audience into the classic fairy tale through the strong performance, and each character left a unique impression. This is a show worth seeing for the entire family. All ages will find something to enjoy in this lovely production.
It is still possible to see this entertaining show. Tickets are available for the Saturday, March 22 and Sunday, March 23 performances. Buy tickets fast because some recent shows have sold out. Purchase tickets online at Ticketmaster. Call Grand Rapids Ballet’s Box Office at 616-454-4771, ext. 10 for current ticket availability information.