Festival Ballet Providence brings a New England Premiere for its final performance of the 2017-2018 season, Little Mermaid. The ballet was originally created for Charlotte Ballet in 2008. In 2016 choreographer Mark Diamond reimagined the production, bringing to it more color, more scenery and more whimsical costumes. “This is an all-new version with elaborate scenery and very colorful costumes,” said Diamond. “The lighting plays a pivotal role in creating the magical undersea world. We have added background projections, which bring a 3D quality to the undersea adventure,” he says.
The ballet, while based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale, is far more light-hearted and family-friendly than Anderson’s original story, which is quite scary.
We first meet the Little Mermaid, portrayed by Kirsten Evan or Eugenia Zinovieva, when she is rolled onto the stage and then scooped up by a group of dancers who are referred to as the undertow. They carry her and guide her through the ocean along with a host of other colorful characters. “We actually do not see the Little Mermaid’s feet touch the floor until she finally finds her way to the shore. The movement of the undersea world characters is very flowy and soft; we see a much different quality of movement when we are in the Prince’s world. The movement is more grounded and realistic,” states Diamond.
We meet the Prince, portrayed by Alan Alberto or Alex Lantz, and his guard at the palace. This world choreographically is much more grounded in reality, we can feel gravity in the movement. The Guards dance a wonderful Mazurka with highly stylized steps and quick foot movement. Diamond has done a wonderful job creating two very different worlds with his sets, colorful costumes and diverse choreography.
The production includes more than 50 students from the Festival Ballet School. These students have been in rehearsal for several weeks, often outside of their regular training hours. “Giving students the opportunity to perform with the professional company takes their training to the next level,” says artistic director Mihailo Djuric in a press release. Diamond adds to this, “I wanted the young audiences to feel exhilarated and exalted by what they see; this is a ballet for the whole family.”
This wonderful interpretation ends joyfully, not tragically, like so many of the Hans Christian Anderson tales. Little Mermaid and her Prince have happily found each other and both worlds are filled with joy.
Little Mermaid makes its premiere in Providence April 27-28 at The Vets. Call 401-421-Arts or visit the Festival Ballet website for tickets. Don’t miss this bubbly adventure!