Conceptualized and choreographed by Artistic Director William Starrett in 1995, Columbia City Ballet presents the return of Aladdin for one weekend only, January 29th and 30th. Last performed 13 years ago to the musical score of composer Ludwig Minkus, Columbia City Ballet brings back this classic fairy tale based on Arabian Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folktales. “Aladdin is a huge epic ballet, technically demanding for the dancers, visually thrilling for the audience and perfect for the entire family. It is such fun to see Aladdin and Jasmine flying on their magic carpet as the Genie grants Aladdin’s famous three wishes,” says Starrett.
But “the ballet Aladdin isn’t just for children,” Starrett says, “because the choreographic foundation of the full length production is based on the 1877 ballet La Bayadere that was first choreographed by Marius Petipa.” The ballet La Bayadere is a story of deceit and love, poisonous snakes, ghosts, and murder. The ballet “pre-dates the major romantic era by several years and it includes the famous scene from the ballet The Kingdom of the Shades, one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet.” The famous late critic Clive Barnes of the New York Times is well known for having said, ‘If you don’t like the scene of The Kingdom of the Shades you don’t like classical ballet,’” Starrett says. “So even though the children are so familiar because of the Disney popularity adults will love it because it is rooted in such a strong classical foundation in ballet technique and tradition.”
This three-act performance is developed from four of Minkus’ most memorable ballets including Paquita, and La Bayadere; excerpts are incorporated into the score of Aladdin. The roles of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, originated by Peter Kozak and City Ballet Prima Ballerina Mariclare Miranda, will be performed in this production by Ballerina Regina Willoughby and Principal Dancer Christopher Miro. Willoughby, who grew up in Texas, came to CCB in 1997 and has risen through the ranks of the company to the position of Ballerina. Reinaldo Soto will be featured as the Genie. Other favorites from Columbia City Ballet include Claire McCaa, Autumn Hill, Bonnie Boiter-Jolley, and Claire Richards.
Columbia City Ballet will give three performances of Aladdin at the Koger Center for the Arts Friday, January 29th at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 30th at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets, starting at $20, can be purchased at the box office, at www.kogercenterforthearts.com or by calling 803-251-2222. An Aladdin tea will be held prior to Saturday’s performance at 1:30 p.m. in the Koger Center ballroom. For tea tickets and information call 803-799-7605. Call today as seating is limited.