Nora (Ginger Patterson) and the Proprietor (Adara Allen) stand at the forefront of a wide assortment of critters, including, a macaw (Georgia Post) and a donkey (Elizabeth Eriksen).  (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau Dance Theatre’s showcase is ready to spring

Animals big and small will gather in one place.

Critters from the depths of the sea to not-quite-outer space — are all part of Juneau Dance Theatre’s returning spring showcase.

“Carnival of Animals,” a ballet by Laszlo Berdo set to movements by composer Camille Saint-Saëns, tells a whimsical tale through Seussian rhymes. It will include performances from the Juneau Dance Theatre Fusion Dance Team, as well as adult, tap and young dancer classes in works by Juneau Dance Theatre faculty Christa Baxter, Viktor Bell, Danielle Cadiente, Debbie Driscoll, Alisha Falberg and Janice Hurley. It is narrated by Bostin Christopher.

Snails (from left to right) Emily Feliciano-Soto and LeaDonna Castillo inch their way forward on Saturday April 16 during rehearsal for “Carnival of the Animals.” Juneau Dance Theatre’s spring showcase will feature performances April 22, 23 and 24. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Snails (from left to right) Emily Feliciano-Soto and LeaDonna Castillo inch their way forward on Saturday April 16 during rehearsal for “Carnival of the Animals.” Juneau Dance Theatre’s spring showcase will feature performances April 22, 23 and 24. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“Performing with a live orchestra has been a dream of ours for many years,” said Zachary Hench, who is now in his seventh year as Juneau Dance Theatre’s artistic director, in a news release. “We have collaborated with conductor William Todd Hunt and Orpheus Project, on previous projects, and it is a privilege to add the talents of the Amalga Chamber Orchestra to this year’s showcase.”

It opens at 7 p.m. on Friday, and subsequent showtimes are 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. All performances are at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s auditorium.

A small school of fish (left to right) Dani Hayes, Andie Reid, Scotlyn Beck and Avery McCarthy take in the action during rehearsal for “Carnival of Animals.” Juneau Dance. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

A small school of fish (left to right) Dani Hayes, Andie Reid, Scotlyn Beck and Avery McCarthy take in the action during rehearsal for “Carnival of Animals.” Juneau Dance. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

In the piece, which will be presented in Part 2 of the showcase, a young girl’s piano lessons take an unexpected departure to an extraordinary pet store, where the girl encounters a lively menagerie of animals while attempting to avoid her stern instructor, who would have her return to her piano lesson — and reality.

The ballet is appropriate for all ages, according to the dance theater, and children attending performances will receive a souvenir.

The first part of the two-hour showcase will feature a mixed repertory by students in creative movement through Level 1 ballet, as well as Juneau Dance Theatre’s five dance teams, adult and tap classes. Upper-level students will premiere an original contemporary work, “New Season,” choreographed by Bell.

Mr. Baggers (Viktor Bell) makes his way through a fantastical pet shop during rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s upcoming spring showcase. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Mr. Baggers (Viktor Bell) makes his way through a fantastical pet shop during rehearsal for Juneau Dance Theatre’s upcoming spring showcase. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

Know & Go

What: Juneau Dance Theatre’s Spring Showcase

When: 7 p.m. Friday, April 22; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23; and 2 p.m., Sunday, April 24.

Where: Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s auditorium, 1639 Glacier Ave.

Admission: Tickets are $20 for general admission or $15 for youth or senior tickets. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online at www.juneaudance.org.

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