Dancer Elin Antaya, portraying a frog, dances during a rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s production of “Snow White” at Juneau Dance Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Dancer Elin Antaya, portraying a frog, dances during a rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s production of “Snow White” at Juneau Dance Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Juneau Dance Theatre is doing something new with a familiar name

Spring show will feature showcase and for the first time a ballet

Get ready for poison apples and pointe shoes.

Juneau Dance Theatre’s annual spring show this year will feature the story-driven ballet “Snow White.”

Zachary Hench, artistic director for Juneau Dance Theatre, and Bridget Lujan, executive director for Juneau Dance Theatre, said it’s long been the theater’s goal to include a complement to the annual winter-time production of “The Nutcracker” in its spring production.

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“It’s super exciting for us,” Hench said in a phone interview. “This year we decided we were going to go for it. It’s a lot more involved than what we’ve done in the past in the spring. It’s been logistically a little crazy, but it’s exciting that we’ve been able to pull it off.”

Laszlo Berdo, who was a principal dancer in Boston, taught the show’s choreography to the theater’s students over the course of 10 days during February, Hench said.

He said students did a great job of picking it up and complimented their ability to handle the challenge posed by dancing and conveying a story.

“You also have to act and tell a story without using a word,” Hench said. “That’s throughout the whole cast. It’s a challenge, and that’s exactly why I wanted to do it.”

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The music used in “Snow White” was composed specifically for the ballet about a decade ago by the late William Wade and was based off of Berdo’s original choreography.

“That is completely the opposite of what usually happens,” Hench said. “The final product, the music does just fit absolutely perfectly to the choreography.”

Dancer Maren Parise, dances during a rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s production of “Snow White” at Juneau Dance Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Dancer Maren Parise, dances during a rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s production of “Snow White” at Juneau Dance Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

That means every time the seven dwarfs are seen, the same music can be heard. Hench said that might not be the case if the choreography was based around a pre-existing score.

Lujan said the ballet, which runs about 50 minutes and will feature the theater’s older students, is Act 2 of the trio of shows planned for April 26 and 27.

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In addition to public Friday and Saturday shows, Lujan said a partnership with Any Given Child means sixth-graders will get to see a free, full performance of “Snow White” Friday morning. Any Given Child is a Kennedy Center program that assists communities in offering expanded arts education opportunities in their schools.

The first act of the spring show is a showcase and a chance to see some of the theater’s younger students show off what they can do.

The first act will run about 40 minutes, and there will be an intermission in between the showcase and “Snow White,” which brings the total run time of the production to about two hours, Lujan said.

“You’ll see younger dancers, the modern and the tap dancers, and the adult modern,” Lujan said. “The pointe shoes come out in Act 2.”

Jillian Anderson, center, portrays the evil queen during a rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s production of “Snow White” at Juneau Dance Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Jillian Anderson, center, portrays the evil queen during a rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s production of “Snow White” at Juneau Dance Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Know & Go

What: “Snow White” and Juneau Dance Theatre’s Spring Showcase

When: 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27.

Where: Juneau Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Auditorium, 1639 Glacier Ave.

Admission: General admission is $20 or $15 for youths, students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online at juneaudance.org, jahc.org, Juneau Arts & Culture Center, Hearthside Books or at the door.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


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