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Vashon dancers bring beauty to a tragic tale
A company of young dancers will take the stage in Vashon Allied Arts Center for Dance’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” coming up this weekend at the Vashon High School theater.
The ballet, scored by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, tells the familiar and tragic story of a pair of star-crossed teenaged lovers, but the dance concert will also include lighter, more upbeat fare.
In keeping with VAA’s past spring dance concerts, a full slate of high-energy, student-choreographed original dance works will complement the ballet.
The Center for Dance is helmed by Christine Juarez, who has run VAA’s dance program for 16 years. Many of the principal dancers in “Romeo and Juliet” have studied with Juarez for years.
Senior dancer Katherine Misel will star as the tempestuous, love-struck Juliet, and Meg Sayre will bring the comical role of Juliet’s nursemaid to life. Quinn McTighe will play Romeo’s hot-tempered rival Tybalt. A guest danseur from Cornish College of the Arts, Sam Opsel, will play Romeo.
Adults will also join in the dance. Kirsten Eastman will play Lady Capulet, and Barbara Gustafson will provide the show’s continuous thread as the village flower peddler.
A group of 8-year-old dancers will join Gustafson as flower and fruit sellers.
“I wanted to stage a more narrative ballet,” said Juarez. “The romance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is so exciting and colorful.”
The story of the doomed duo is also full of fighting, of course, and Juarez’s dancers will be called upon to enact the war between the Capulet and Montague families.
To that end, the company has been practicing for the ballet’s dueling scenes and receiving stage combat instruction from a guest teacher from Cornish College.
And as usual, a battalion of stage artists and parent volunteers will be backstage, helping to bring the show to the stage.
Kate Guinee has designed flowing costumes for the production, and set painter Laura Whitmore has made sure the scenery will reflect the setting in 15th-century Verona.
“Our performance space is always challenging,” said Juarez. “We’ll fill the entire theater space with surprises for the audience.”
“Romeo and Juliet,” will be presented at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday at the VHS theater. Tickets, $10 and $13, are on sale at www.vashonalliedarts.org, the Heron’s Nest and at the door.