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‘Snow Queen’ sparkles with its ice-cold beauty


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This weekend saw firsts for the Eugene Ballet Co. and lasts for the Silva Hall.

Firsts included Toni Pimble’s first full-length ballet, the gorgeous “The Snow Queen,” with original music by Portland composer Kenji Bunch and played by Orchestra Next, under the able baton of Brian McWhorter. Spectacular costumes were designed by Eugene’s Jonna Hayden. Michael Peterson produced thrilling lighting designs. Extraordinary set design and painted images were by Eugene artist Nadya Geras-Carson, who provided striking video images of snow and clouds. A creative team of 19 craftspeople provided the painting, construction and sewing to make the story come alive on stage with dazzling beauty.

What was the last? The Blackberry Curtain, which has graced the Silva stage since the Hult Center for the Performing Arts opened, and came down for the last time after 35 years. It will be missed.

“Snow Queen,” based on Hans Christian Anderson’s story, was danced by accomplished Danielle Tolmie in her palace of ice. Ice captives danced to entertain with stiff and angular movements befitting their frozen state. She looks into an assembled mirror and sees the beautiful boy, Kay (Hirofumi Kitazume), and his sweetheart, Gerda (Yuki Beppu).

Their sweet movements capture the queen, who steps into her ice crystal sleigh to find them.

Kay gives his love a rose, beautifully danced by Sara Stockwell. The queen brings hoarfrost to kill the rose and freeze Kay’s heart. He rejects Gerda for the glittering queen.

Gerda follows the Snow Queen, but is left behind to be rescued by the Conjure Woman, lyrically danced by Victoria Harvey. The exotic flowers in the garden are beautifully danced by Brooke Bero, Marilyn Brady, Vivien Farrell, Suzanne Haag, Erin Johnson, Sarah Kosterman and Emily Brady. Their full white skirts were dotted with perfect blooms.

Each dancer wore an 18-inch headpiece by Etain Wilday. The dancers moved sedately, but each would drop their head to the side to emphasize their heaviness, to our delight. This piece became one of my favorites.

Gerda finds a dead rose. Her tears reanimate the Rose (Sara Stockwell), who frees Gerda from the garden.

After intermission, Gerda sits at the edge of the forest by a field. A flock of crows harass her. Costumed in black and fluttering and flying, the dancers are Marilyn Brady, Cory Betts, Vivien Farrell, Suzanne Haag, Victoria Harvey, Erin Johnson, Isaac Jones, Yamil Maldonado, Reed Souther, Sara Stockwell, Mark Tucker and Colton West. They were perfect, and much loved by the audience.

Gerda is placed upon a large crow (designed and constructed by Bill Burback and Shaunna Durham) to be flown to a nearby palace. The crow is shot down by a band of gypsies. The energetic dancer gypsies were Brooke Bero, Cory Betts, Jessie Griffin, Erin Johnson, Sarah Kosterman, Yamil Maldonado, Emily Merkley, Reed Souther, Sara Stockwell and Colton West. This was an exciting highlight. Suzanne Haag protects Gerda and lends her two reindeer to lead her to the Queen’s ice palace. Gerda kisses the frozen Kay, who comes alive, and all is well.Read more at:backless evening dresses


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