Beauty and the Beast: A Dancer’s POV


Sophomores Maya Brown and Mackenzie Fondriest prepare to go on stage for opening night of the ballet. “I’ve never been so tired after performing a dance,” Fondriest said. “It was a lot to handle and a completely new experience.” Eagle photo by Maya Brown

In the spring, it was revealed that Beauty and the Beast would take the stage as this year’s fall ballet. 

The tale as old as time would be performed on Nov. 18 and 19, under the direction of Jacquenette Blaydes. 

When summer dance began in June, preparations started for auditioned parts and leads. Blaydes told my class that we would take on the challenge of dancing in fur suits and wolf masks. 

At the beginning, I didn’t really know how hard it would be to dance en pointe in such a restrictive costume. While it started as a funny thought, playing the part of a wolf was more difficult than I envisioned it being. 

My level two dance class had been dancing in sweat suits and wolf masks leading up to the performance to prepare for the challenge that our wolf costumes would cause to our ability to move. Come show time, dancing in the costume became much easier, as we’d been anticipating and preparing for the difficulty. 

Most costumes used in the ballet were rented, so we had very little time to work with them. When the costume came in only a week before the show, we had to instantly adjust to it. We had to learn how to be careful while doing face first falls in slippery gloves. 

The masks that we had to wear were also very challenging. There was barely room to see out of the eye holes with them pressed against your head tightly. They were a tuff plastic material that would dig into your face. Running around and dancing in them was a very difficult, sweaty task.

But, from an audience perspective, the costuming illuminated the stage. When we received the costumes, we weren’t sure how they would look on stage, but I’ve heard numerous comments about the brilliant costuming. 

Be Our Guest was definitely one of the biggest highlights of the show, running almost eight minutes long. The dance consisted of six different grade levels, all coming together to create an unforgettable performance. 

The dancers who were in this number rehearsed every Saturday in October up until the show for about two hours. The dance was very elaborate with all different styles from swan lake to kicklines. It filled the entire space of the stage with nearly 40 dancers at points. Many audience members after the show said this was their favorite dance of the entire show.  

My favorite dance that I was involved in was Wolf Attack. This dance was the wolves attacking Belle in the forest, while she traveled to find her father. Waiting in the wings before entering the stage creates a sense of nervous excitement I don’t find anywhere else. Once the music hit, our dance running out from the wings began. 

Each one of my three wolf dances were equally thrilling and exhausting. Coming back from the stage after Wolf Attack and collapsing on the floor out of breath definitely took a toll on my energy for my next dance, but my joy for performing held strong. 

Beauty and the Beast was an experience that I am forever grateful to have been a part of. From the countless after-school and weekend rehearsals, to taking the final bow on stage, I am proud to say I shared the stage with so many talented people, who made the ballet so worth it.