Ballet to bring spring enchantment to Matthews

MATTHEWS – Members of the Charlotte City Ballet Company will transform the stage of Fullwood Theater this weekend into a world of enchantment, danger and romance as they present the ballet “Sleeping Beauty Suite.”

“Sleeping Beauty” will be performed Saturday, May 10, at 3 and 7 p.m. at 100 McDowell St. in Matthews.

“Sleeping Beauty” will be performed Saturday, May 10, at 3 and 7 p.m. at 100 McDowell St. in Matthews.

Show times are Saturday, May 10, at 3 and 7 p.m. at the theater, part of the Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell St. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $12 at the door, and there will be a special tea party following the 3 p.m. performance where families can purchase refreshments, meet the dancers and take photos with them.

Charlotte City Ballet performs two annual shows at Fullwood Theater – a holiday show consisting of scenes from “The Nutcracker” and other ballets in December and a spring show, typically in May. This will be the first time the company has performed “Sleeping Beauty Suite,” which is a condensed version of the “Sleeping Beauty” ballet.

“We do like to present story ballets, ballets with a theme, because I think it’s something people can relate to,” said Lisa Leone, who co-directs the company with Melissa Hale Coyle. “… We do try to present a performance that can be enjoyed by all ages and levels of interest.”

“Sleeping Beauty Suite” follows the well-known story of Princess Aurora, who is cursed at her christening by an evil fairy. The evil fairy’s curse says Aurora will prick her finger on her 16th birthday and die; however, a good fairy – the Lilac Fairy in this version – intervenes and adjusts the curse to where Aurora will not die, but instead will fall asleep for 100 years.

“It does hit the highlights of the story, for sure,” Leone said. “If anyone has a basic understanding of the storyline, they will certainly be able to relate to the story.”

The ballet will feature 15 company members, all teenagers who are part of the Sullivan Dance Centre, as well as four girls 12 to 14 years old, who represent Sullivan’s children’s division. Guest dancer Trey Mauldwin will play the role of the prince.

Leone said one of the most exciting things about the show is the costuming. Charlotte City Ballet turned to, which is headed up by Claudia Folts, one of the company’s founding members, for costumes.

“It’s one of the things that comes full circle,” Leone said. “We really appreciate that Claudia continues to be so supportive of the story. She does wonderful work and makes gorgeous costumes for companies all over the world.”

One of the biggest challenges of the show, Leone said, is teaching the dancers to pantomime. Because “Sleeping Beauty Suite” is story intensive – and because there’s no dialogue between the actors in the show – all of the dancers must get into character and convey conversations through gestures and facial expressions.

“I think that’s always interesting because the actors don’t communicate with their voices,” Leone said. “If they want to tell a storyline, they have to communicate more with gestures, through pantomime.”

Despite the challenges of performing a show like “Sleeping Beauty Suite,” Leone said she’s always impressed with the way the dancers get into character, as well as how well-rounded they are – and this year is no exception.

“These are accomplished and successful young women. They have high academic standards, (participate in) extracurricular activities, are involved in their communities,” Leone said. “… I just think Missy (Hale Coyle) and I are extremely proud of their accomplishments both in and outside the studio.”

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