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Photo courtesy of David Reep
Laura Dunn dances the part of Cinderella, and Josh Allenback is the Prince in Roanoke Ballet Theatre’s production of “Cinderella.”
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Roanoke Ballet Theatre tries on the glass slipper with its upcoming production of “Cinderella.”
In assembling this ballet adapted from the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, RBT executive and artistic director Sandra Meythaler is getting some help from a Roanoke dancer returned home after considerable success abroad.
William Fleming High School graduate William Smith, 31, started with the Post School of Ballet in Roanoke. He trained at Joffrey Ballet School in New York, joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2000, and then became part of the Scottish Ballet in 2004.
He said he joined the Scottish Ballet to work with a particular director, and when the ballet changed to new management, he decided to move back to Roanoke. He contacted Meythaler, who hired him part time as a ballet instructor. She took a risk, as he’d always before been a full-time dancer, not a teacher.
He called Meythaler “inspiring” and his first experiences with teaching dance to RBT students “amazing.”
Smith is assisting Meythaler and ballet instructor Megan Rindoks in choreographing the new show.
“It’s a collaborative experience,” he said. “It’s been really nice of Sandra to let me have the artistic freedom to interpret how I think things should look.”
RBT’s City Modern Ensemble, a community modern dance troupe, and RBT’s City Youth Ballet are creating their own routines to be part of the performance, Meythaler said.
“Cinderella” marks RBT’s second full summer production since Meythaler’s tenure began in 2007.
Last summer, with “Napoli,” Meythaler introduced a trio of full-time dancers she had hired to form a professional dance company under RBT’s auspices.
Called Roanoke City Ballet, the troupe has changed personnel slightly but remains part of RBT.
“I’m happy with the progress of the company,” Meythaler said. “I think everything is working fine.”
Company members Josh Allenback and Laura Dunn play the Prince and Cinderella. Company member Sara Kosuth will dance as the Fairy Queen with a guest artist from Manassas hired to play the Fairy King. The guest artist also happens to be named William Smith.
“It is a little confusing to have two William Smiths, but we are certainly happy to have both of them,” Meythaler said.
Rounding out the cast, Rindoks and RBT student McKenna Luzynski play the wicked stepsisters, while West Virginia-based ballet dancer Lynn Clayton plays the wicked stepmother.
Meythaler wants to expand RBT’s professional company further, but she doesn’t have the budget to keep adding full-time dancers to the staff. And the dancers who are on staff take on administrative duties as RBT only puts on two big productions. Aside from the summer shows, RBT puts on an annual original Christmas performance, “The Magic Toyshop.”
Meythaler said she’s planning to experiment with adding dancers to Roanoke City Ballet who take part in the two yearly productions but won’t be year-round RBT employees .
The dancers provide role models for the students and also help RBT build an audience beyond the family members who come to see their children perform, she said. “The audience is beginning to know us,” she said.
But children’s performances are an essential part, too. In a nod to Disney’s version of the tale, the ballet incorporates dancing mice to make sure the youngest dancers have parts, she said.
The performance takes place 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Shaftman Performance Hall in Jefferson Center. Admission is $18 to $26, half-price for age 12 and younger. For more information, call 345-2550 or visit jeff center.org .
Carilion calls for artists
The Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Program at Carilion Clinic means to make the literary, performing and visual arts part of the process of healing by providing support and inspiration to patients and their loved ones. The program includes bedside activities for patients to participate in as well as demonstrations and workshops.
The program is looking for artists in those disciplines to apply for a three-month artist-in-residence post that takes up about eight hours a week. Artists chosen will receive a stipend. Applicants must undergo a background check. The deadline to apply for the first residency is June 15. For applications and more information, call 224-5398 or email email@example.com.
Juried show deadline
The Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd is accepting applications for its 2013 Jax Juried Exhibit, held in the Hayloft Gallery. The deadline for entries is June 10. This year’s judge is Sam Blanchard, a professor of sculpture at Virginia Tech.
The show will run July 26 through Oct. 5. A reception will be held 5 p.m. Aug. 10.
Applications can be acquired by calling 745-2784, visiting jacksonvillecenter.org or in person at the center at 220 Parkway Lane South in Floyd. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
On the Arts blog
Roanoke-made sitcom “Tuned Out,” run by and starring home-grown actors Blair Peyton and Bryan Hancock, celebrates its 50th episode with a gathering 2 p.m. June 9 at Schooner’s on Williamson Road. To learn more, visit blogs.roanoke.com/arts.
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