Dancers perform Beauty and the Beast

By Nathan Blaydes, Staff Writer and Carolyn Matthews, Business Manager — A classical Disney story will unfold on the Abbey Foltz stage as the dance program performs the production Beauty and the Beast. The dancers will bring new magic to a timeless fairy tale through movement, costumes and characterization.

The size of the Plain Local Dance Program has expanded for many years and this year the ballet is comprised of 275 students with an age span ranging from preschool to high school. The performance is also held as a fundraiser for the Plain Local Foundation, which raises money to support the arts within the school district.

“This is the sixth year that Plain Local has done a ballet,” dance teacher and director Jackie Blaydes said. “It is very rewarding from my perspective to see students that were involved in the very first ballet progress through the years and improve their dancing abilities.”

Many dancers have participated in the ballets for many years and their skill levels have grown over the years.

“The ballet has impacted me and many of my friends tremendously,” senior Alexis Mann, who plays the role of Belle in the ballet, said. “I would love to come back after I graduate and witness the dance program flourishing even more than it is now.”

The performers will continue extensive preparation in the upcoming weeks before the show opens to the community.

“We started learning choreography for the show in June and by the beginning of August, we had auditions for lead roles,” Mann said.

Every performer is required to attend Sunday practices each week. These practices incorporate dancers of all ages to work as a unit to make the dancers a cohesive piece of art. Preparation goes beyond weekend practices into the school day, where high school performers are often required to participate beyond their own dancing.

High school students often help to choreograph dances for their younger peers to perform, along with planning show order and collaborating with light and sound students. In addition, each dancer is also responsible for remembering and practicing their own choreography.

Students in the Entertainment Technology career tech program prepare and perform the special effects in the ballet. These effects include lighting, music, curtains and many other special effects that add to the overall performance of the ballet.

“People should come watch the show because there are many talented and dedicated dancers who will bring the story of Beauty and the Beast alive through movement and characterization,” senior Stephanie Villella, who is dancing as Babette in the production, said.

The production will be performed on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 21 at 2 p.m., and 7 p.m. The leading roles in the ballet are performed by Mianna Schut and Alexis Mann as Belle, Mackenzie Babics as Beast, Carolyn Matthews and Stacie Shalenberger as Cogsworth, Katie Kidwell as Lumiere, Stephanie Villella as Babette, Me’Lada Morgan as Mrs. Potts, and Kendra Gastin and Madison Maguire as Chip.

[Updated Aug. 8, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]