'Peter Pan' takes flight this weekend at Blaisdell
By Kristen Consillio
Special to The Advertiser
The timeless tale of the boy who never grew up makes its Island debut this weekend as part of Ballet Hawaii's rendition of "Peter Pan."
Peter Pan the ballet, performed by companies throughout the country and Europe as a collaboration between the Washington and Cincinnati ballets, is a comical and exuberant rendition of the classic story written by J.M. Barrie more than a century ago.
"Peter Pan makes a perfect ballet — it has a vivid and exciting story, swashbuckling sword fights, tender and lyrical moments between Wendy and Peter Pan, and a dancing crocodile," said choreographer Septime Webre, artistic director of the Washington Ballet.
Approximately 40 local students will dance as ragamuffins, fairies, Indian princesses and pirate wenches in two matinee shows Saturday and Sunday at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. The nearly $175,000 production, with original scenery and costumes imported from the Cincinnati Ballet, features a musical score by Cincinnati Ballet music director Carmon DeLeone.
To depict the magical flights of Peter Pan, Wendy and other characters, dancers will be suspended above the stage using leather harnesses and hidden wires controlled by the backstage crew. The show will be "on par with any national touring dance company you might see, with the added benefit of having a strong local involvement in the cast," said John Parkinson, Ballet Hawaii's executive director.
Among the exciting moments is a riveting tango between Captain Hook and a tick-tocking crocodile. One of the lost boys also will fly offstage on a giant cannon ball. And Peter Pan is set to backflip over Captain Hook's head during a climactic sword fight.
"It provides for kids a great story they might be familiar with and entertained by, and also gives kids a wonderful port of entry into the world of dance," Webre said. "For adults, it's got really wonderful classical dancing, exciting athletic solos and just a lot of comedy that adults and kids can share."
The whimsical story of eternal youth and endless adventure also promises to be one of this summer's most feel-good productions.
"One of the appeals is the message it leaves us, which is to hang on to the child inside of us even as we grow old," Webre said. "These days when the economy is tough and the world is not at peace, living life in an adventuresome way, full of child-like zest and enthusiasm, is certainly a great a message."