Arts and Entertainment

Blue Heron dancers take a leap

Emma Rose DeSantis  in  “Carnival of Animals.” - Mike Urban photo
Emma Rose DeSantis in “Carnival of Animals.”
— image credit: Mike Urban photo

More than 100 dancers are in the final rehearsals for an ambitious spring concert that will include two much-loved ballets.

The dancers, all students in the Blue Heron Dance program, will take the stage at Vashon High School on Mother’s Day weekend to perform “Carnival of Animals,” composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, and Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade,” which was a signature piece of the famous choreographer George Balanchine. There will also be a selection of modern dance and original works.

Younger dancers, ages 3 to 12, will perform “Carnival of Animals,” while more experienced dancers, including eight graduating seniors, will dance to “Serenade.” Christine Juarez, artistic director of the dance company, has restaged the work for Blue Heron dancers.

According to Juarez, “Serenade” will be a visual spectacle, with a focus more on dance and music than a specific story.

She also said this performance will be bittersweet for her and the graduating seniors who have danced together since they were young girls.

Juarez and the group also choreographed a special original work, and they’ll all dance that piece together.

“It’s about their relationships with one another and my relationship with them as their long-term dance teacher,” she explained.

The dance concert will not only be a farewell to the seniors, however. It will also give audiences opportunities to welcome some tiny new dancers and see a group of athletic adults who take classes at the Blue Heron show off their skills.

Juarez will also bestow “10-year tiaras” to dancers who have danced consistently in the program for a decade.

Behind the scenes, committed parents and friends of dance have been instrumental in mounting the production.

Costumes were created by Kate Guinee.

Alison and Dan Bockus, who have dancing twin daughters, designed a dinosaur fossil that comes to life during the show. The set was designed and painted by Island artist Jeffrey Zheutlin, with multiple set pieces contributed by Tony Furr. Stan Voynick is producing the event and is also the lighting designer.

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10, at the Vashon High School theater.

Tickets, $10 and $13, are on sale at Books by the Way, Blue Heron and Heron’s Nest.

Dance blooms in May

Two other dance companies are preparing for shows later this month.

Vashon Junior Civic Ballet, a Vashon Park District program, will present Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 17, at Vashon High School.

Tickets, $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and free for anyone younger than 5, will be available at the door or in advance at Ober Park.

Meanwhile, Dance! Vashon is gearing up to present “Snow White” at the high school the last weekend of May. Evening performances are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 29 and 30. Matinees will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31. Tickets, $12 for adults and $10 for children, will be available at Books by the Way starting May 11.

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