PITTSBURG — The Midwest Regional Ballet is about to bring one of the most beloved fairy tales to the Pittsburg stage.
Featuring music from acclaimed composer Sergei Prokofiev, “Cinderella” is directed, choreographed, and costumed by Kaye Lewis.
The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. April 12 through April 14 and at 2:30 p.m. April 15 at Memorial Auditorium at 503 North Pine. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children 13 and younger.
It has been about ten years since Midwest previously produced the show. Alongside her directorial duties, Lewis will reprise her role as one of Cinderella’s stepsisters.
“Thank god the stepsisters are required to dance badly,” Lewis said. “It’s hard to do that when you’re trained to dance well, but I’m fine with it because my body says ‘you need to chill, girl.’”
She and her fellow stepsister look to provide their own spin on the characters with this particular performance.
“Normally the stepsisters are written for men to dance, so we are going to make ourselves look like drag queens,” Lewis said. “So we’ll be women playing men playing women — it’s complicated stuff.”
Lewis said one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience is seeing her dancers evolve not only as performers, but also as people.
“I’ve had kids come in who are so shy that they can’t even look at you,” she said. “Fast forward a couple of years in dance class and it’s as if they’re a whole new kid.”
Having taught for 31 years, Lewis has worked with some of her current dancers for more than a decade.
“I’ve had 26 kids who I even know of that have gone on to dance professionally,” she said. “I’ve had some who have retired from professional dance, too.”
The director said Midwest Regional Ballet productions have often been praised for their authenticity throughout the years.
“Every show, I have at least a handful of people tell us they feel like they just went to somewhere in the big city to watch a full-blown performance but it’s just kids,” she said. “I don’t think they realize that they’re kids until they’re offstage because they look older.”
Additionally, Lewis maintained that the quality of her dancers’ performance is about more than just hitting the right beats.
“I always make sure that my dancers are also artists and know how to tell a story,” she said. “Plus I think the audience will enjoy the show because it has tutu skirts and sparkles, and who doesn’t love that?”
— Brandon Schmitz is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.