Lifestyle

Dance!Vashon brings Pinocchio to island

Pinocchio promises to be a delightful showcase of talent A wide smile comes over my face this time of year as Dance!Vashon brings its Broadway-quality productions to my front door. As a kid growing up outside of New York City, spring always meant class trips to shows like “A Chorus Line,” “Pippin” and “The Wiz.” Dance!Vashon brings me full circle and lets spring have its old meaning — it’s show time! My daughter and I saw our first Dance!Vashon production in 2005. It was “The Wizard of Oz.” I thought it was the best thing I’d seen on stage since I’d left New York. We were hooked; my daughter joined Vashon Dance Academy (VDA) and found her life’s passion. She has joyfully appeared in every show since, and I have joyfully experienced them from third row center or backstage as a volunteer. This year’s production of “Pinocchio” on May 30 and 31 and June 1 will bring lots of Island families full circle. During a pre-production meeting about creatively updating original costumes and visualizing new costumes for this year, parents shared with me their memories from the 1999 production, and I was touched by their nostalgic smiles. One mom talked about her special excitement over seeing her daughter in this year’s “Pinocchio” — it was her dancer’s first show at 3, when she played a cuckoo bird, and now, at 11, she is the Cuckoo Bird Mom. Adorable toddler cuckoo birds, mermaids and jellyfish are back, with that special twist only artistic director Cheryl Krown and company can deliver. Krown has outdone herself this year, starting with her own vision, then synthesizing humorous and creative ideas from the Vashon Dance Academy community to co-create and co-choreograph a fantastic show that is (can I say it?) Broadway quality. It sparkles (as do those costumes) with delightfully updated technique, music and a Pleasure Island that is so 2008. Eleven-year-old Graham Peet (“a real boy!”) stars as Pinocchio. He is charming, as are the wind-up dolls, the woodpeckers, the puppets and the puppeteers — who will surprise you with their incredible … height. I don’t want to give away any more surprises. Honesty, lying and following one’s conscience, as you know, are central themes in “Pinocchio.” In this production, the moral dilemma is handled with humor and originality. I’ve seen rehearsals, and truthfully, if a scene isn’t downright funny, then it’s amazing in its execution. For instance, The Lies are people. Mark Lacina performs as one with these VDA dads-turned-dancers: Grant Ballingham, John ‘Oz’ Osborne, Neil Shiosaki and Roger Taylor. Sweetly, dad Martin Koenig, after 15 years of being a VDA parent, appears on stage as Gepetto, and gets a special dance with his daughter, Ravenna, who plays Jiminy Cricket. Talk about full circle! To see your friends and loved ones, find out which of the two casts they’re in — the Friday night/Saturday matinee, or the Saturday night/Sunday matinee. Principal dancers, respective to the Friday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday casts include: Ravenna Koenig and Rebecca Snyder as Jiminy Cricket; Chelsea Wagner and Simone Wood as Blue Fairy; Carlie-Sue Anderson and Chloe Zimberg as Cat; Anna Hicks and Rachel Taylor as Fox; Emma Strong and Madeline Osborne as Cleo. Lea Zaglin performs as Figaro; Lisa Mitchell-York as Gepetto’s wife; Anne Dulfer as Strombolina and Max Herrington as Lampwick. For me, Pinocchio isn’t quite the full circle of dance life on Vashon. After all, we’ve been in the Dance!Vashon community only three years. But I realized, when I saw my daughter try on her costume as a puppet — a costume from The Wizard of Oz — she has come half circle. And a half circle, turned at an upward orientation, is a smile. Pinocchio promises to be a delightful showcase of talent A wide smile comes over my face this time of year as Dance!Vashon brings its Broadway-quality productions to my front door. As a kid growing up outside of New York City, spring always meant class trips to shows like “A Chorus Line,” “Pippin” and “The Wiz.” Dance!Vashon brings me full circle and lets spring have its old meaning — it’s show time! My daughter and I saw our first Dance!Vashon production in 2005. It was “The Wizard of Oz.” I thought it was the best thing I’d seen on stage since I’d left New York. We were hooked; my daughter joined Vashon Dance Academy (VDA) and found her life’s passion. She has joyfully appeared in every show since, and I have joyfully experienced them from third row center or backstage as a volunteer. This year’s production of “Pinocchio” on May 30 and 31 and June 1 will bring lots of Island families full circle. During a pre-production meeting about creatively updating original costumes and visualizing new costumes for this year, parents shared with me their memories from the 1999 production, and I was touched by their nostalgic smiles. One mom talked about her special excitement over seeing her daughter in this year’s “Pinocchio” — it was her dancer’s first show at 3, when she played a cuckoo bird, and now, at 11, she is the Cuckoo Bird Mom. Adorable toddler cuckoo birds, mermaids and jellyfish are back, with that special twist only artistic director Cheryl Krown and company can deliver. Krown has outdone herself this year, starting with her own vision, then synthesizing humorous and creative ideas from the Vashon Dance Academy community to co-create and co-choreograph a fantastic show that is (can I say it?) Broadway quality. It sparkles (as do those costumes) with delightfully updated technique, music and a Pleasure Island that is so 2008. Eleven-year-old Graham Peet (“a real boy!”) stars as Pinocchio. He is charming, as are the wind-up dolls, the woodpeckers, the puppets and the puppeteers — who will surprise you with their incredible … height. I don’t want to give away any more surprises. Honesty, lying and following one’s conscience, as you know, are central themes in “Pinocchio.” In this production, the moral dilemma is handled with humor and originality. I’ve seen rehearsals, and truthfully, if a scene isn’t downright funny, then it’s amazing in its execution. For instance, The Lies are people. Mark Lacina performs as one with these VDA dads-turned-dancers: Grant Ballingham, John ‘Oz’ Osborne, Neil Shiosaki and Roger Taylor. Sweetly, dad Martin Koenig, after 15 years of being a VDA parent, appears on stage as Gepetto, and gets a special dance with his daughter, Ravenna, who plays Jiminy Cricket. Talk about full circle! To see your friends and loved ones, find out which of the two casts they’re in — the Friday night/Saturday matinee, or the Saturday night/Sunday matinee. Principal dancers, respective to the Friday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday casts include: Ravenna Koenig and Rebecca Snyder as Jiminy Cricket; Chelsea Wagner and Simone Wood as Blue Fairy; Carlie-Sue Anderson and Chloe Zimberg as Cat; Anna Hicks and Rachel Taylor as Fox; Emma Strong and Madeline Osborne as Cleo. Lea Zaglin performs as Figaro; Lisa Mitchell-York as Gepetto’s wife; Anne Dulfer as Strombolina and Max Herrington as Lampwick. For me, Pinocchio isn’t quite the full circle of dance life on Vashon. After all, we’ve been in the Dance!Vashon community only three years. But I realized, when I saw my daughter try on her costume as a puppet — a costume from The Wizard of Oz — she has come half circle. And a half circle, turned at an upward orientation, is a smile.

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