Elon University audiences may be familiar with the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” which focuses on a cursed princess who pricks her finger on a spindle and needs to be saved by her prince. However, McCrary Theatre will showcase a different interpretation of the classic tale, presented by the Moscow Festival Ballet 7:30 p.m. March 6.
Formed in 1989, the Moscow Festival Ballet travels around the world performing full-length ballets from the 20th century. They will perform the Marius Petipa-choreographed ballet, which originally premiered in 1890. Dance professor Jen Guy Metcalf said she is excited for her students to see a show directly connected to their coursework.
“Some of my dance students are currently learning repertoire from this ballet in my ‘Pointe I’ course,” Metcalf said. “I’m glad they don’t need to go on YouTube to watch a recorded performance because they can see it live.”
Lauren Kearns, head of the dance program, said shows like this offer another learning experience for the dancers at Elon, getting a chance to see their craft done professionally.
“This performance is an extension of our classroom,” Kearns said. “The dance majors attending this concert will be able to connect what they are working on in their ballet classes with the exquisite dancing they will see onstage. It is yet another example of the engaged learning that we value not only in the dance program, but in Elon in general.”
The chance to get a glimpse at the professional world of dance is why students like McKenna May are looking forward to the March 6 performance. May, a freshman dance major, said seeing professionals acts as a motivating force in her own dance training.
“After seeing a professional company perform, I always go into the studio the next day more focused and driven,” May said. “An aspiring dancer can learn a lot from watching professionals who have already succeeded in the field. After seeing a show, I also feel more inspired to chase my dreams of becoming a professional dancer.”
This is not the first ballet company Elon has hosted in the last several years. Since 1986, 10 professional, national and international touring companies have performed for Elon audiences, sometimes more than once.
Jeff Clark, the executive director of Cultural and Special Programs, said he believes that, by continuing to bring in groups like the Moscow Festival Ballet, Elon diversifies the culture its students and community members experience.
“[Hosting groups like this] is very important,” Clark said. “Exposure to different cultures, styles and people is an important part of a liberal arts education. It also brings to campus audience members who have not yet discovered Elon and all it has to offer.”
While the ballet will provide a beneficial learning experience for the dance majors on Elon’s campus, Kay encourages her classmates and fellow community members to see the performance, not just for the art, but to understand a little bit about the hard work of a dancer.
“I think the rest of the Elon community will learn to appreciate dance, especially ballet, and all the hard work that goes into a performance,” May said. “I don’t know how someone could watch dancers turning on their toes and defying gravity in their jumps and not be impressed. What we put our bodies through as dancers is brutal. And we do it all for the audience.”