Arts and Entertainment

Dancers ignite the stage with 'Firebird'

Meg Sayre will dance the lead in “Firebird.” - Mike Urban Photo
Meg Sayre will dance the lead in “Firebird.”
— image credit: Mike Urban Photo

Every fall for the past 18 years, Christine Juarez, director of the VAA Center for Dance, has thought about spring. That’s because she has the challenging task of choosing and adapting a classical ballet to showcase her graduating dancers in the annual spring ballet.

This year Juarez picked Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” ballet for Vashon High School senior Meg Sayre and guest dancer Sam Opsal, who will graduate from Cornish College of the Arts.

“The Firebird Ballet & Short Works” will be performed Friday through Sunday, May 16 to 18, at the Open Space for Arts & Community.

Stravinsky created “The Firebird” ballet in 1910 for the Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Based on Russian folk tales about a magical bird that is both a blessing and a curse to its owner, the ballet tells the story of a mythical creature — the firebird — who convinces a smitten Prince Ivan to free her from captivity.

Juarez said Sayre embodies the Firebird as she is full of life, quick to think and act and is ready to embrace her own freedom and change the world. Juarez called Opsal the passionate dance partner, saying he has been very supportive of the Vashon dancers.

Juarez’s intermediate and advanced students will dance the story to life in costumes by Kate Guinee. The evening program includes young VAA dancers ages 2 to 4, who will march and tip-toe to “The Fairies and the Dragon,” a narrated dance choreographed by Juarez. Pre-ballet dancers will chassé and skip in the one-act ballet “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.” The Center for Dance’s tap dancers will also perform.


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