The Northwest Michigan Ballet Theatre will present “The Princess Peony” February 4 at the Dennos Museum Center-Milliken Auditorium. The ballet is based on an old Japanese folk tale about Princess Aya whose father has arranged a marriage engagement for her with the son of a neighboring warlord. One day while dancing among the peonies, she slips and almost falls into the pond only to be rescued by a handsome young Samurai who suddenly vanishes. When the princess becomes heartsick, her maidens try to lift her spirits with music and dancing in the garden. Although betrothed to another, Aya’s heart belongs to the young Samurai.
“The Princess Peony” showcases original choreography on pointe by artistic director Thomas Morrell. The ballet is set to a compilation score of traditional and contemporary Japanese music. Lush period costumes have been created by Laura Bremer, Sue Judson and Dawn Johnson. Set design by Amy Cyr transforms the stage into a Japanese garden. The cast features 20 company members ages 9-20. Former Dayton Ballet Principle Dancer and current Interlochen Arts Academy dance faculty member, Justin Koertgen will be making his 4th appearance with NMBT.
“The Princess Peony” is one of nine original full-length ballets Morrell has created for his non-profit youth company. Previously tapping Irish and Celtic tales, this was his first foray into the Far East, an interest sparked during a visit to San Francisco. Morrell's artistic vision has always looked beyond traditional ballets.
Performances are Saturday, February 4th at 2 & 7 pm at the Dennos Museum Center-Milliken Auditorium. Reserved seating tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students/seniors. Please call 231-929-2787 for more information.