By ANDREA JOHNSON
Photo by Andrea Johnson/MDN
The cast of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” are back row, from left to right, Lyndsay Squires, Makenna Sartwell, Timothy Lewis, Laurel Collins, Hannah Wollenzien, Anja Selland, Cole Anderson, Chloe Ondracek and Caleb Roach; front row, from left to right, Gabrielle Kindy, Anastassia Hofer, Ashton Cassim, Annelize Collins and Karin Selland.
Dancers promise that children should love the Rinat Mouzafarov Classical Ballet Company's production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" this weekend. Tickets for the ballet, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Minot State University's Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, are $10 per person and are on sale at Esoteric, Video Magic, Home Sweet Home, Jacobson Music and Northwest Music.
Red-headed Laurel Collins will don a black wig to play the role of Snow White. Collins said she was always a bigger fan of Ariel the Little Mermaid than Snow White, probably because of their shared hair color, but she loved the rest of the Disney princesses too. Now she'll get a chance to embody that dream for all the little girls in the audience.
Mouzafarov said he wanted to put on a light, happy production in the aftermath of last summer's flood and also of the previous spring ballet, "Hatikvah," which focused on the Holocaust.
"I have put my own touch on this much loved story," said Mouzafarov. "The story begins with the Queen's Ball. The Queen has invited all of the story book characters from foreign lands to attend a ball celebrating her beauty. Snow White and her prince attend but the Queen makes them leave because Snow White is more beautiful than she is. Afterwards all of the story book characters present a gift of dance to the queen.
"Acts 2 and 3 are the classic story of Snow White portrayed through classical ballet with Snow and her prince living happily ever after."
Mouzafarov said it's a happy coincidence that the ballet company is putting on this production at the same time as there are two movies based on the fairy tale coming out in theaters. He said they chose to do the ballet last fall, well before they knew the movies were coming out.
Students who will dance in the production have been appearing in costume to read stories to children during a weekly story hour at Barnes and Noble, and the cast said it's fun to watch the children react to seeing their favorite characters from Snow White or Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. Mouzafarov said the production brings back a lot of memories for him, since he danced the role of a dwarf when he performed in a production in St. Petersburg, Russia, when he was 9.
Mouzafarov said he also chose this ballet because his students are ready to handle the technically difficult production. He did all the choreography for the production and all the parts are danced by his students. Parents of his students volunteered to help with costumes and the set design, which helps keep the cost of the production low. The backdrops for the productions are professional and have been flown in from California, said Mouzafarov.
"The costumes are beautiful," he said. "The children in the audience will immediately recognize all of their favorite storybook characters like Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine and Aladdin, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, Mary Poppins and Bert, Mother Goose, Gepetto, Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf."
In addition to Collins, the cast includes Anja Selland, who dances the part of the Wicked Queen and Witch, and Timothy Lewis, who dances the part of the Prince. The seven dwarfs are danced by Macy Christianson, Chloe Ondracek, Anastassia Hofer, Annelize Collins, Gabrielle Kindy, Makenna Sartwell and Ashton Cassim.
Chloe Ondracek and Cole Anderson will dance the parts of Cinderella and her Prince, respectively.
Macy Christianson and Caleb Roach will dance the parts of Sleeping Beauty and her Prince, respectively.
Chloe Ondracek and Caleb Roach will dance the parts of Jasmine and Aladdin, respectively.
Makenna Sartwell and Lyndsay Squires will dance the parts of Belle and the Beast, respectively.
Puss and Boots and Mother Goose will be danced by Brianna Berg and Hannah Wollenzien, respectively.
Mary Poppins and Bert will be danced by Brianna Berg and Timothy Lewis, respectively.
Mouzafarov will dance the part of Gepetto; Emma Cassim will dance the part of Red Riding Hood; and Ashton Cassim will dance the part of Big Bad Wolf.
Other children from the studio will appear in animal roles as well.