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'Bluebird': Fairy tale turned ballet

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Posted: Friday, May 15, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:07 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Iuliana Petre

Killeen Daily Herald

A ballet dancer since she was 5, 15-year-old Danielle Fasolino no longer gets nervous about performing for an audience until five minutes before a show.

It's only then, while she's standing in the wings making sure her ribbons are tucked in, that the longtime student of the Newcomb School of Ballet in Killeen gets nervous, Fasolino said.

But then she steps on the stage, smiles and dances gracefully because what Fasolino has practiced for so long comes naturally, she said.

Fasolino is a Newcomb School star who was selected to dance the lead part of "the bluebird" in the upcoming spring ballet "The Bluebird," which opens at the Vive Les Arts Theatre May 23.

Based on Maurice Maeterlinck's 1908 play, "The Bluebird" premiered at a Moscow theater that same year and has been turned into several films.

"'The Bluebird' was written originally in the early 1800s as a fairy tale, was converted to a play and in the 1940s Shirley Temple performed in the movie," said Renee Gillenwater, the director of the Newcomb School of Ballet, who selected "The Bluebird" for this year's spring ballet. "I grew up watching it and had it in the back of my mind. This was the year to do it."

Since there is no actual score for the ballet, Gillenwater had to find the music to accompany the story line and choreograph the performance.

"I went through literally hundreds of CDs just to find music that would fit the period and mood," Gillenwater said. "The Bluebird" will include music by about 10 different composers, ranging from Bach to Tchaikovsky and several modern pieces, too.

The performance will feature a cast of about 60 dancers, some of which are double cast, and range in age from 4 to adult.

The story is about sisters Mytyl and Tyltyl who are unhappy with their lives. The girls are very poor and don't have much in the way of material possessions, but have in it their heads that if they catch a bluebird – a symbol of happiness – that their lives will change. The girls come to realize later, after seeking through the past, the future and the land of luxury, that true happiness comes from within oneself and not from a bluebird.

"The fairy-tale ballet appeals to young people, but we have a group that comes up from Sun City in Georgetown to see our performances. There is something in it for everybody," Gillenwater said.

"The dancers and instructors at the Newcomb School are one of the best things about Killeen. We have a full-time ballet academy here in our part of the world and their reputation has grown far beyond our immediate area." said Eric Shephard, the VLA's artistic director. "We are always excited to see what ballet (Gillenwater) has planned for the spring. The dancers at the (Newcomb School of Ballet) have done exciting original ballets and so we're always looking forward to May for the company's new creation."

"The Bluebird" will be about two hours long.

Contact Iuliana Petre at ipetre@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7469.

If you go:

Sponsored by The Education Connection, "The Bluebird" will be presented by Killeen's Newcomb School of Ballet as this year's spring ballet at the Vive Les Arts theater on May 23-24.

Saturday's show will begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday's matinee will begin at 2 p.m.

For tickets, call the VLA box office at 526-9090 during office hours, which are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The VLA box office is open daily during normal business hours and one hour before each performance.

Tickets for the performance cost $10 for adults, $8 for children. Group rates are available as are discounted tickets for active-duty military personnel.

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