Studio K springs into action
Animals, beasts and belles take the Farthing Auditorium stage May 1-2, as Studio K presents its spring ballet, featuring The Carnival of the Animals and Beauty and the Beast.
"We try to do something that's appealing to all ages - boys, girls, men and women," Studio K founder and director Cay Harkins said.
The Carnival of the Animals, adapted for ballet by Christopher Wheeldon and based on Charles Camille Saint-Saens's eponymous musical suite, will open the ballet, featuring a parade of 19 animals played by Studio K dancers.
"It will have interpretive-style dancing to fit the animals' unique personalities," Harkins said.
Saint-Saens portrays each animal through his music, and poems to be read during the performance describe each colorful creature in eloquent detail.
Following the 20-minute Carnival, audiences will be swept away to the land of fairy tales with Beauty and the Beast, what Harkins called the ballet's main feature. Beauty, this particular version designed for ballet by Harkins and her fellow instructors, stars Studio K members young and old and showcases the company's detailed backdrops, set pieces, props and special effects.
A cast of 300 dancers will perform in the show, from ages 2 and a half to 60 plus, and all local.
Beauty and the Beast is the story of Belle, a young misfit who seeks to broaden her horizons, to her fellow villagers' dismay. Meanwhile, a selfish prince has provoked the wrath of an enchantress, who casts a spell on him and his entire castle, turning him into a ghastly beast and his servants into furniture.
"Until he's able to find the true beauty in everybody, the whole castle remains under the spell," Harkins said. "Belle teaches everybody that their personal gifts and abilities will help them blossom, that true beauty is on the inside."
Studio K's shows are consistently designed to be bright, colorful and appealing to the eye, but also descriptive without the benefit of spoken dialogue.
"There are no words, so we have to present a story through music, backdrops, dancing, pantomime and humor," Harkins said. "This is a fun one, and it's all new. We've been able to explore a lot of costumes - turning someone into a chest of drawers, candlestick or teapot is a lot of fun."
The visual nature of Beauty and the Beast also sparked some visual ingenuity. For a scene in which the spell is lifted from the servants, Harkins designed the maids' costumes to fold out from their morose black exterior into bright and vivid colors.
"Twenty people turn all different colors once that happens on stage," she said.
To boot, the audience can also expect pyrotechnics, fog and showers of rose pedals as part of their visual feast.
The performers have been rehearsing since February, after a month's reprieve following Studio K's annual production of The Nutcracker in December.
"There aren't a lot of full-length ballets that are appealing to a wide audience," she said. "I don't even like to sit through the old classical ballets, even though that's how I was trained."
And Harkins promises Beauty and the Beast will be anything but.
The spring ballet will be held Saturday, May 1, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 2, at 3 p.m., both in Farthing Auditorium, located on Rivers Street on the Appalachian State University campus. Tickets cost $11 for adults and $7 for children, and are available at the Farthing box office by calling (828) 262-4046 or visiting in person.
Harkins advises interested parties to purchase tickets in advance.
The Carnival of the Animals stars Ariel Franklin as Swan; Lauren Greene as Lion; Meghan, Sarah Critcher, Jenny Myers, Nicole Werner, Cay Harkins and Georgia Ray as Birds; Wendy Broderick and Shannon Hatley as Cockoo Birds; Shellie Karaus as Kangaroo; Gayle Anderson, Tara Wicker and Lindsey Harkins as Roosters; Abby Willis, Sarah Pinnix and Ashley Miller as Fish; and Brianne Newell Thurman and Catherine Harkins Milner as Donkeys.
Beauty and the Beast stars Matte Backe as the Prince; Shellie Karaus, Kathy Moorman, Shannon Hatley, Lindsey Harkins, Anna Reichard, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Meghan Mixon, Gayle Anderson, Tiffany Christian, Meresa Verholek, Carol Anderson and Saralyn Kader as Castle Maids; Jacob Ray, Ken Steele and Greg Lovins as Butlers; Jeff Hatley as the Beast; Nicole Werner as the Enchantress; and Ashley Harkins as Belle.
Belle's Village Friends in the Saturday show are Josie Armes, Raylen Christian, Rayna Christian, Kaylee Coffey, Korbel Cook, Hannah Critcher, Austin Dyer, Tory Goss, Madi Greene, Natalie Hill, Katie May Mast, Emma Kate Moore, Georgia Parker, Mackenzie Rominger, ViVi Rushing, Addison Schoychid and Lucy Willis.
Belle's Village Friends in the Sunday show are Anna Grace Anderson, Gwendolyn Anderson, Olivia Burroughs, Rylee Councill, Bailey Councill, Lilly Fairbanks, Sarah Fredenburg, Macayla Kanoy, Camryn Norris, Hannah Grace Norris, Lauren Patterson, Ava Pinnix, Katie Gray Sechrist, Laurel West and Casey Ray.
Dan Krontz stars as Belle's Father; Lee Jordan as Gaston; Andy Harkins as Gaston's sidekick; Abby Foster, Tara Wicker and Ariel Franklin as Flirts.
Village Children in the Saturday show are Rebecca Anderson, Lili Bauer, Lauren Cottom, Riley Fowler, Caroline Hoover, Emmie Huffman, Eden Indicott, Erin Jensen, Maggie Milhaupt, Natalie Noble, Caitlin Sanders, Sarah Grace Shellman, Mattie Suggs, Kaycee Wilson, Tegan Allen, R J Christian, Kaylee Cottom, Noelle Eller, Summit Fredenburg, Andrew Hatley, Emma Hudspeth, Carrie Labonte, Mary Lovins, Emma Kate Sevensky, Anna Shellman, Audrey Smith, Sage Souza, Sydney Styron, Belinda Wang and Demi Wang.
Village Children in the Sunday show are Sage Cercopely, Alison Cook, Emily Grant, Hattie Rose Greene, Faith Ann Henson, Kayla Mast, Emma Pinnix, Samantha Reese, Savannah Spencer, Kelsey Watts, Caroline Zuber, Julia Banks, Rebekah Blair, Lilly Coggins, Bailey Cook, Luci Brooke Creed, Libby Glidewell, Kati Mac Greene, Molly Grimes, Sarah Grimes, Ella Pennell, Olivia Pinnix, Marisa Romanat, Madelyne Street, Allison Turbyfill, Katie Thompson, Rhianna Verholek and Peyton Walton.
Village Adults are Margaret Handley, Carol Anderson, Christie Fredenburg, Meresa Verholek, Kenneth Wright, Tiffany Christian, Saralyn Kader, Ken Steele, Greg Lovins, Jeannine Indicott, Joy Garvin, Lynn Patterson and Stacey Gibson.
The Friends Dance is performed in both shows by Gabrielle Barlow, Hannah Bates, Courtney Bell, Mackenna Berry, Staci Brown, Ashley Canter, Savannah Copeland, Sidney Ginn, Morgan Hatley, Brandy Hicks, J.J. Indicott, Nicole Krontz, Ryan Loflin, Caroline Lovins, Aynsley Moore, Elizabeth Pitts, Amelia Powers, Megan Tate, Rayanna Christian, Amanda Eagle-Farrar and Jasmine Jackson
Belle's Friends in the Sunday show only are Elizabeth Coley, Jackie Greene, Margaret Greene, Cadence Greene, Cora Hatley, Maya Johnston, Kamryn Lavell, Katie Lipford, Lily Baye Maple, Georgia Northern, Madeline Powell, Abigail Pulliam, Addison Totherow and Madi Greene
The Village Friends in the Saturday Show are Tatum Garrett, Kasey Gragg, Shannon Hall, Lauren Hawkins, Colby Hester, Ragan Huntsman, Charli Johnson, Brealin Maya, Liliana Miller, Addison Smith, Genevieve Powell, Kara Schneider, Kate Sears, Hannah Studt, Katie Ward and Madison Welch.
The Village Friends in the Sunday show are Makayla Andrews, Peyton Bakken, Elli Berry, Madelyn Ellis, Foster Fowler, Matty Garvin, Sarah Garvin, Kara Johnson, Avery Martin, Brielynn Myers, Cerelia Renwick, Naia Renwick, Piper Grace Saunders, Sophie Speckmann and Gretchin Turbyfill.
The show features Abby Foster as Firefly Lead and Olivia Watson, Laurel Beebe, Addi Berry, Emily Berry, Abigail Apgar, Taylor Blanton, Brittany Burwell, Joanna Campbell, Anna Jensen, Victoria Redmon, Kellyn Stamey , Ivy Ulmer, Laura Zuber and Ashley Miller as Fireflies.
Simone Anderson plays the Snow Lead, and Gayle Anderson, Sara Critcher, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Abby Foster, Ariel Franklin, Lindsey Harkins, Shannon Hatley, Shellie Karaus, Meghan Mixon, Jenny Myers, Alana Patterson, Anna Reichard, Nicole Werner, Tara Wicker, Abby Willis, Sarah Pinnix, Brianne Newell Thurman, Ashley Miller, Laurel Beebe and Evan Redmond play Snow.
The Dark Forest Sprites are played by Sara Critcher, Jenny Myers, Georgia Goss and Cara Ray, and Alana Patterson plays the Wolf.
Shellie Karaus stars as the Tea Pot; Kathy Moorman as the Chest of Drawers; Shannon Hatley, Lindsey Harkins, Anna Reichard, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Meghan Mixon and Gayle Anderson as Feather Dusters; Tiffany Christian, Meresa Verholek, Carol Anderson, Saralyn Kader as Statues; Jacob Ray as Candle; Ken Steele as Clock; and Greg Lovins as Rug.
Enchanted Parfait Ballerinas in both shows are played by Allison Brown, Emma Carder, Lindsey Cole, Sara Frances Greene, Olivia Handley, Emma Harkins, Cami Hastings, Lacy Holder, Tory Jensen, Amanda Lubkemann, Hannah Nemcosky, Allison Quinn, Meghan Smith, Camille Ward, Catherine Catoe, Rayanna Christian, Carolina Conway, Morgan Critcher, Moriah Franklin, Amelia Humiston-Baker, Deanna Indicott, Jasmine Jackson, Kennedy Kavanaugh, Rachel Norwood, Jessica Tufts and Katherine Tufts
Confections and Utensils in both shows are played by Laura Zuber, Anna Jensen, Mackenna Berry, Amanda Eagle-Farrar, JJ Indicott, Sidney Ginn, Nicole Krontz, Ashley Canter, Morgan Hatley and Caroline Lovins
Little Feather Dusters in the Saturday show are played by Emma Barr, Kate Dailey, Julia Handley, Gaia Harper, Emalyn Heathershaw, Josie Herring, Emily Hill, Caroline Hodges, Hannah Ligon, Ramsey Parker, Meredith Rhem, Kacie Rominger, Molly Taylor and Annika Willis
Little Feather Dusters in the Sunday show are Abbie Anderson, Natalie Davis, Leah Hampton, Fern Hoover, Aliya Kincaid, Lana Grace Natusch, Bethany Pryor, Maggie Quigley, Bayleigh Wilson and Morgan Brink.
The Enchanted Tablecloth in both shows is played by Gayle Anderson, Sara Critcher, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Abby Foster, Ariel Franklin, Lindsey Harkins, Shannon Hatley, Meghan Mixon, Jenny Myers, Alana Patterson, Anna Reichard, Nicole Werner, Tara Wicker, Abby Willis, Sarah Pinnix, Brianne Newell Thurman, Ashley Miller, Laurel Beebe, Evan Redmond, Jodie Ginn, Kellyn Stamey, Brittany Burwell and Georgia Goss.
The Beast's Dance Lesson in Saturday's show is performed by Isabella Barlow, Bethany Critcher, Lily Devereux, Angela Claire Henderson, Hazel Jorgenson, Lucy Miller, Reagan Miller, Evangelina Mizell, Elizabeth Noble, Emma Rominger, Lydia Rothrock, Ellery Rushing and Jada Shomake.
The Beast's Dance Lesson in Sunday's show is performed by Christa Rose Acker, Ava Black, Kylie Clarke, Alexis Clary, Kathleen Gibson, Sunny Greene, Taylor Grogitsky, Kyleigh Marton, Lizzie Miller, Lily Mueller, Kazia Orkiszewski, Rose Porter, Hannah Roten, Grace Sears, Kailei Watts, Autumn Weaver and Bre Winkler Price.
The Village Tavern scene in both shows is performed by Margaret Handley, Meresa Verholek, Kenneth Wright, Tiffany Christian, Saralyn Kader, Stacey Gibson, Luray Rominger, Vanessa VanValin, Mike Wilson, Lynn Patterson, Christy Welch, Rob Indicott, Greg Lovins, Jeannine Indicott, Sarah Apgar, Lee Jordon, Shannon Hatley, Andy Harkins and Joy Garvin.
The Mob in both shows is played by Sidney Ginn, Mackenna Berry, Ashley Canter, Morgan Hatley, Nicole Krontz, Caroline Lovins, Abigail Apgar, Brittany Burwell, Anna Jensen, Kellyn Stamey, Laura Zuber, JJ Indicott and Amanda Eagle-Farrar.
The Finale is performed by Gayle Anderson, Sara Critcher, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Abby Foster, Ariel Franklin, Lindsey Harkins, Shannon Hatley, Shellie Karaus, Meghan Mixon, Jenny Myers, Alana Patterson, Anna Reichard, Nicole Werner, Tara Wicker, Abby Willis, Sarah Pinnix, Brianne Newell Thurman, Ashley Miller, Laurel Beebe, Georgia Gross and Cara Ray.