Dancing into its 30th season

Ballet Theatre of Maryland plans 'Cinderella,' 'Nutcracker,' 'Excalibur'

October 02, 2008|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Ballet Theatre of Maryland is a company of paid professionals who teach and share technical responsibilities in addition to performing. At a recent rehearsal it was clear that their camaraderie is strong.

With the troupe's 30th-anniversary season set to start this month, members lent their talents where needed as ballerina Jessica Fry demonstrated how to sew costumes she had designed. She was joined by Kathryn Carlson, both dancers in their sixth season with the BTM.

The two are joined by six other returning dancers: Calder Taylor, Meagan Helman, Brian Walker, David McAlister, Margaret Hannah, and Scali Riggs. Also, former apprentice Nicole Seitz moves to full company status.

The company has added three dancers: Kelly Braga, Matthew Stern and Alden Taylor (three-season veteran Calder Taylor's younger brother). A major addition is ballet master Rob Royce, now settled in Annapolis.

Royce exudes positive energy, reflected in his sense of command at rehearsal. He displayed an obvious concern for each dancer, projecting a cheerful attitude, saying, "We support each other and we have fun. If we're not having fun, why should we be here?"

Rounding out the company are returning apprentices Valerie Nezich, Sarah Neilson, Alyssa Johnson, Sarah Obuzor, Megan Giroir, Stephanie Rowe and Katlynn Temple. New apprentices are Tabitha Alessi, Lynne Bellinger, Emily Oppelt, Sarah Poinksi, Rachel Terry, Jesse Tidquist, Jacqueline Wille and Rose Whitney.

Together these dancers will offer a season of four programs - Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Excalibur and an April anniversary celebration honoring the company's origins and founders.

The season starts Oct. 25 and 26 with Cinderella, choreographed by artistic director Dianna Cuatto. She said she looks forward to using the best parts of her favorite versions of Cinderella for what she hopes will be a "magical, live re-creation of the beloved tale."

For adults in the audience, she hopes to show that "our thoughts are powerful enough to create the events of our lives. What we believe and make concrete through our dreams will come to pass."

Dec. 13 to 21 brings six performances of the holiday classic Nutcracker to Maryland Hall. Last season's three Sugar Plum parties proved so popular that another one has been added. There will be one "Case of the Missing Nutcracker" Dec. 20.

Cuatto's acclaimed original ballet Excalibur, which debuted in 2006, returns Feb. 21 and 22. The Arthurian legend will be told entirely through dance and through the perspective of King Arthur's half-sister, Morgan Le Fay. The ballet will include live music by Maggie Sansone in a score based on her compositions, as well as traditional Celtic music.

On April 19, the 30th-anniversary celebration will feature the Dancers' Gala.

Ending the season April 25 and 26, the program will feature an original "Songs of Life"-themed ballet with music composed and performed by Rob Levitt. This ballet honors the first director, Danny Diamond, and BTM founder Eddie Stewart.

Information: 410-263-8289 or balletmaryland.org.

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