Hansel and Gretel: Long Beach Ballet's 25th Annual Production
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The last date listed for Hansel and Gretel was Saturday July 2, 2005 / 7:30pm.
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Barbara I.
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This is a ballet performed primarily by students at the Long Beach Ballet Arts school. My children dance at a smaller local school and I figured the performance would be similar to the one in which they had just performed. The Hansel and Gretel performance would have been a very short one if not for the first-act addition of an excerpt from another ballet, made up of dancers who were good for well-trained amateurs. The costuming for the first excerpt was uninspired and uncreative, with no background scenery and only one danseur. The dancers were well-rehearsed and performed well. The school's involvement only became apparent when multitudes of butterflies and bunnies were inserted into the scene where Hansel and Gretel were lost in the woods. They were cute, but were obviously just there for a few minutes of stage time for the hundreds of parents and relatives in the audience. The creative use of black-light butterflies added to the enchantment, however.
I was not happy with the seats set aside for Gold Star members (far back and way off to the side), but the discount made the purchase worthwhile. We moved closer to the stage in the intermission, and enjoyed the rest of the performance in better seats.
Overall the performance was scored, danced and set very well. It was definitely worth the money and I would go again next year, if only to see the competition.
This completely original production was the creation of Long Beach Ballet Artistic Director David Wilcox, who wanted the students of Ballet Arts Center to have the opportunity to participate in a full length story ballet.
The story has been slightly adapted to accommodate a large cast, but the original Grimms tale still comes through strong and clear.
After developing the story line to the point that all except the very youngest students in the school could be given a part, Mr. Wilcox then set out to find appropriate music for the ballet. This proved to be a difficult endeavor, as only relatively unknown classical music was to be used. A combination of composers was settled upon, and the final result is a beautifully harmonious and fascinating array of music which more than adequately portrays the vivid characters of Hansel, Gretel, the Mother and Father, the villagers and most importantly the witch (even the town mayor has a special theme).
Lively festive dances fill the first colorful tableaux-blending from scene to scene to the mother’s anguish at having to part with her children, Hansel and Gretel lost in the forest; the frightening yet comical witch and her two tiny helpers, and culminating in a joyous celebration.
This production of “Hansel and Gretel” is the result of much dedicated work on the part of the students, their parents, and many others associated with the Ballet Arts Center.
Long Beach Ballet’s Annual School Performance is held in the Summer. Each of the Annual School Performances has a full-length story ballet as its centerpiece, choreographed and directed by artistic director David Wilcox. All of the students in the Children’s and Professional Divisions participate in this performance, showcasing to family and friends the students’ ever-increasing skills and talents.
This performance incorporates all of the theatrical spectacle to be found in the largest of classical ballet performances, including scenery, special effects, dramatic lighting, and custom designed costumes. The students are given the opportunity to experience the thrill and challenge of being part of a major ballet performance in front of an audience of thousands.