With winter on the horizon, The Ballet Theatre of Maryland (BTM) is looking forward to its upcoming production, “The Snow Queen.”
Based on the famous fairytale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, the production will be brought onstage at 7:30pm on October 18 at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis.
Mystical trolls, a powerful enchantress, mischievous goblins, ice sprites and a gypsy caravan will combine to help fearless Gerda battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom and free those she loves, according to the BTM website.
“I liked that the friendship, and the sacrifice of the friends, I think, is what makes [the story] so popular,” said BTM’s artistic director, Dianna Cuatto.
The story was the inspiration for the Disney film, “Frozen.” Though the show will contain the same theme as the original fairytale, Cuatto said she took her version in a direction between the original fairytale and the Disney version.
BTM’s version of the story sees a young and unhappy princess about to be crowned queen. She has no interest in taking a suitor who is chosen for her, but as queen she will have no choice. In the distance, the Goblin King is looking to stir up mischief. At the coronation, the princess’ suitors arrive, and so does the Goblin King. He takes the princess away with him, freezing her kingdom in a tundra of ice.
This incident leads the princess’ friends on a journey to save her and their kingdom. Along the way, they are greeted by many mystical guides who give them gifts to help them succeed. In the end, the shattering of the Goblin King’s magical mirror breaks the curse, and the strength of love triumphs over all.
Cuatto was drawn to the show because of the moral of the story and what it means for audiences.
“The love that we have for each other in our hearts can break evil spells and create a better world,” Cuatto said. “We have to follow our hearts.”
The production is one of many originals created by Cuatto for BTM. She said that she has been working on it since May 2018. According to Cuatto, the process wasn’t cut and dry.
“I started with the story, but then I had to go to the music to finish the story,” Cuatto said.
The music and the story go hand-in-hand when composing an original ballet, and she listened to many pieces from different composers before deciding which ones went both together and with the story.
Cuatto then started observing the dancers in classes to help with casting and choreography.
“It becomes kind of a collaboration, even though they’re not really aware,” Cuatto said.
The cast will consist of company dancers, including 34 professional dancers and 12 trainees. Cuatto thinks the characters will be easily recognizable by fans of the Disney version of the story.
“My dancers are really good at portraying characters; we’re sort of known for that,” Cuatto explained.
The dancers practice 35 to 40 hours a week for five weeks until the show premieres. The demand for each part varies and requires different types of training.
“A lot of dancers work 35 to 40 hours a week and then go to the gym and work out,” Cuatto elaborated. “It is very demanding.”
BTM will host its 41st season grand opening celebration from 5:00pm to 7:00pm prior to the October 19 performance at Maryland Hall. The gala will act as a fundraiser and will feature light fare, a raffle and testimonies from BTM dancers.
An ice palace tea party will take place before the October 20 matinee performance that will be geared toward children. There will be crafts, treats, and a meet and greet with the show leads. This event is included in the price of Sunday tickets, and children are encouraged to dress as their favorite fairytale characters.
Tickets for the performances and gala tickets can be purchased by visiting www.balletmaryland.org.