It’s crunch time at the North Pole. Santa and his elves scurry to finish making toys and load the sleigh before their Christmas Eve deadline.
So begins the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s thoroughly delightful production last weekend. I’ve been to several of this company’s performances, and this show was my favorite so far. The elaborate sets and colorful lavish costumes make the stage pop, but it’s the talented dancers who entertain, amuse, and bring the show to life. LCCB performs only original productions. No stale nuts at our Rosa Hart Theater. The company has been thrilling audiences with the Rudolph production every few years since the late 1960s.
The opening scene pays homage to the true nature of the Christmas season with a beautiful dance of Mary, with the Christ child in the manger. Then ballet director Lady Holly introduces Santa Claus. Santa and Mrs. Claus guide the elves through a fun frolicking scene at the North Pole. These young performers enthusiastically dance around the stage with wrapped presents and a myriad of toys. Humor is at the forefront here. The elves then take Santa’s list around the world and we see dancers, veiled in gauzy shadows behind a screen, represent exotic places such as Russia, Hawaii, Scotland, Switzerland, Mexico, Arabia, Holland, and Japan.
We finally have the pleasure of meeting Rudolph when Santa checks to see if the reindeer are ready for their annual trip. He discovers Rudolph feeling sad and alone. The other reindeer shove, snub, or completely ignore Rudolph and her blinking bright red nose. They believably paw at the ground, strut, swagger, and point their noses haughtily in the air. Rudolph tries so hard to make friends with the other reindeer, to no avail. Santa brushes off Rudolph’s woes. Despondent, the little reindeer runs off into the forest. Magical pine trees comfort Rudolph and Eskimo children encourage and lift her spirits.
Then it’s Christmas Eve and we all know the story. Snow and fog threaten Santa’s trek ‘round the world. Here we meet the exquisite Snow Queen, shimmering in a sparkling blue tutu, accompanied by a flurry of graceful snowflakes.
Back at the reindeer stable, Santa realizes Rudolph’s shiny nose can save Christmas. Through the magic of theatrics, the audience sees only the beacon and imagines Santa and his sleigh passing through the rows of seats, up into the balcony, and back towards the stage. The grand finale brings the entire jubilant cast out on stage for bows and a much deserved standing ovation.
Photo by Cameron Durham
Congratulations to the LCCB on an awesome performance! I can’t wait to see Sleeping Beauty in March 2012!
As I watched my son practice for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Ballet, I was drawn to the educational experience it provides for children of all ages. I am a teacher who thrives on creative opportunities that will broaden the minds of my students beyond the realm of the everyday learning routine.
The history of Christmas as it relates to many cultures, countries, and traditions are embedded within the amazing ballet pieces presented. Santa discusses the rituals of countries such as Russia, China, and Switzerland. This ballet experience can provide many avenues for culture awareness development. Also, it can provide a plethora of in depth research that will challenge the mind of students across the parish. Teachers could use this opportunity for writing, comparing and contrasting the American culture to those of the countries discussed in the Ballet. State benchmarks and GLE’s definitely can be met on a higher level, which is the goal of all teachers. Students will also be able to develop a love for ballet, theatre, and telling a story through the art of dance.
Opportunities like this are those in which education should thrive upon. This total experience could cover a multitude of subject areas and student work. It is a great learning opportunity presented in a creative way. As educators and parents we must take advantage of those opportunities that will broaden the minds of our children. The Lake Charles Civic Ballet can provide that opportunity. Take advantage.
Pictured in photo from “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer‘ Around the World, Russian dance:
It’s not easy to enter the Rosa Hart Theatre via the loading dock door during a July deluge, but somehow, photography equipment, costumes, dancers, Lady Holly and Bohuslav Rattay, the charming new conductor of the Lake Charles Symphony, made it. The purpose? A publicity photo shoot for the March 2012 production of The Sleeping Beauty. Maestro Rattay kindly took time out of his busy Summer Pops schedule do the shoot with LCCB principal dancers. Bohuslav (Bo Hu slav, dancers discovered it is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable) is, as Katelyn Chargois put it, “cool.” He is at ease in front of the camera and jokes around on the set. The dancers enjoyed getting to know our new conductor.
And what about those yellow sneakers? To honor Bohuslav, the girls showed up in colored Converse All Stars, only to discover that the Maestro’s famous footwear is actually a brand called Diesel. He says they are very comfortable.
Photo by Cameron Durham
While on set, Maestro Rattay told me that he is excited about conducting the Tchaikovsky score. Although he has worked with ballet companies in the past, this will be his first time conducting The Sleeping Beauty.
Talk about a busy schedule! Conducting the Lake Charles Symphony is not the Maestro’s only job. He is currently the music director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, BallStateUniversity and has a busy guest conducting schedule. Rattay is originally from Prague, Czech Republic, so he also spends time in Europe. Bohuslav has said many times that he loves the people and the culture of Southwest Louisiana, and is most happy to be here. In a recent email conversation he shares, “I am eagerly looking forward to working with the young dance talents of Southwest Louisiana and foreseeing that this production of The Sleeping Beauty will awaken the Lake Charles arts community….. “ All involved believe that when combined, the talents of these two distinct organizations create an electrifying synergy greater than the sum of its parts and will add to an already lively arts season in Southwest Louisiana.
LCCB can’t wait to meet with Bohuslav and the rest of the Lake Charles Symphony orchestra in March. Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 17, 2012 at . You won’t be disappointed!
Kelley Saucier 2011-2012 LCCB Board President
LCCB Season Sponsorships are available now, and include tickets to The Sleeping Beauty. Call Kelley Saucier at 337-513-5808 for more information. You may also visit the website at www.lakecharlescivicballet.com.
Lake Charles Symphony Season Memberships are also available now. For more information call their ticket hotline at 337-433-1611 or visit their website at www.lcsymphony.org.