In His Steps’ original ballet musical coming April 29

Greg Hunt

An original ballet musical is being prepared for the stage, showcasing its young performers’ energy, grace and skills across a myriad of dance styles. The timing of the performance is perfect since it brings color to what has been for the most part a chilly and drab Spring 2011.

Elizabeth as “Chloe” and Deanna as “Sophia” are two leads in “Beautiful Imperfections” which will be presented April 29.

“Beautiful Imperfection” will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday, April 29 at the Cambridge-Isanti High School Hardy Performing Arts Center. Creators of the musical are Robyn Fixell and Lisa McKinnis of Cambridge’s In His Steps Ballet and Performing Arts Company.

Those two have been forming “Beautiful Imperfections” in stints the past two years.

“It was actually last June when we really brain-stormed, pulling the storyline together, the music together and even the characters’ names. It really started coming to life last year,” said Fixell.

“I felt like Jesse James. We were kind of hiding out in St. Olaf down in Northfield, treating it like a mini-retreat, and we wrote the script,” chimed in McKinnis. “Robyn’s daughter had a volleyball camp at the college, so it worked out great.”

Musical selections served both as a base for the storyline, and additional selections were added as the dance numbers grew to fit.

“It’s not all ballet. It will be really fun to have people see the different dances– modern, tap, jazz, just a lot of freestyle,” said McKinnis. “This is a collaborative effort, with the students giving choreography ideas. The whole idea is to give them a format to create and an outlet to perform.”

Creativity is central to the learning environment at In His Steps Ballet.

“Young children can be so creative, but somewhere along the way to actually create something themselves is actually scary because it makes you vulnerable to whomever is watching. So you hit middle school especially– and maybe even intermediate school– some of that stuff starts to kick in. We try to provide that creative outlet for them. It’s huge. We don’t them to lose it,” explained Fixell.

The story

Jenny Fredrickson, one of the cast mothers, came up with the title of the piece, and she recalled explaining the meaning to her child, “Well, we are all beautiful to God– in his eyes we are– and most of us as moms, dads or kids want to try to be perfect, do perfect, but we all fall short. We are imperfect, but beautiful, so there is ‘beautiful imperfection’ in all of us.”

Fixell offered this plot summary of “Beautiful Imperfection”: “It’s amazing how one event in someone’s life can carry through the years. In this story, Sophia has such an event in her life, and we see how it has carried through the years, escalating into disaster for her. Many times, tragic events spur sadness, frustration and feelings of unfairness, which many times turn into anger…Her best friend, Logan is trying to be there for her, but ultimately she hurts him, too. He tells her to ‘give her anger to God, 20 times a day if she has to.’ After all, God’s big enough to handle it.”

A flashback is employed to aid in understanding the base of the emotions, with four dancers performing as the younger selves of the four leads.

“We use choreography to take the storyline and really bring emotion to it. One of my favorite lines from Sophia in the musical is, ‘…and it just ticks me off when people don’t give dance the credit it deserves. We are athletes,’” said McKinnis. “As their instructor, I can verify that the students work diligently and have amazing physical abilities as a result.

“Combine this with creative thought and the freedom of emotional expression…and Voila…you have ballet.”

Live vocal music, instrumentals and recorded selections add to the performance– ranging from Cantus to Beyonce to The Cars to Ziggy Top.

Tickets are $12.50 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children and will be available at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased through PayPal at the inhisstepsballet.com Web site or by e-mailing ticket requests to lisa@ inhisstepsballet.com.

 

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