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When Dance Arts Los Alamos Ballet Director and former American Ballet Theatre dancer Christin Severini was a young child, she would spend many hours choreographing and performing elaborate shows for her parents, with the reluctant participation of her younger brothers. The rest is, as they say, history.
The storybook ballet, “Hansel and Gretel,” being performed WinterFest Weekend at the Duane Smith auditorium, is an original ballet directed and choreographed by Severini, with additional choreography by DALA’s Executive Director Valerie Silks and Ballet Instructor Lisa Jaegers.
“Hansel and Gretel” tells the story of the young siblings Hansel and Gretel, as they go through a journey, overcoming adversity and challenges.
This ballet features enchanting woodland fairies and pixies, colorful candies and bunnies, butterflies and gingerbread girls, who guide them along the way.
Severini’s career with ABT gave her the opportunity to perform in numerous full-length story ballets and she said she is delighted to bring this talent to the Los Alamos community.
“Story ballets were some of my favorite ballets to perform,” recalls Severini, “I loved the variety of characters, the intensity of emotion, and the comedic elements. And the music was always so beautiful!”
“Hansel and Gretel” is far from a one-woman show, however. Severini, who encourages her students to participate in the creative process, emphasizes that the production has only been made possible by the level of dance training at DALA.
“I was able to develop choreography that challenged our most advanced students as well as provided fun performance opportunities for the youngest pre-ballet age students,” Severini said. “While I do hold very high standards in my classes, I encourage my students to find their own expression in their dancing.”
Cody Maggiore, 14, and Sally Grindstaff, 15, will dance the roles of Hansel and Gretel. Holly Erickson, a Los Alamos High School senior, dances the role of the Queen of Flowers. Joining them on the stage will be dancers from DALA’s seven levels of ballet and faculty members, Patrick McDonald and Kim Hoch, in the roles of Hansel and Gretel’s parents.
Severini will play the comedic role of the Witch.
“Hansel and Gretel” is DALA’s holiday gift to Los Alamos, in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 8-9. Following the Saturday show, the youngest audience members are welcome to enjoy a first-hand experience of coming onstage and taking photos with the performers.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and free for children younger than four. They are available at CB Fox, Smith’s Food and Drug in White Rock and at the door.