Dance is an ever-evolving form of expression, and on Sunday, June 12 more than 250 dancers from seven area towns in Wilton Dance Studio’s 2016 production will showcase that variety. From classical to contemporary, they’ll share all they’ve learned in dance this year on Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton High School’s Clune Center for the Performing Arts.

Following Wilton Dance Studio’s traditional format, the Spring show has three different acts that highlight the various styles of dance taught by the studio. Act One is the classical ballet “The Firebird.”  This challenging ballet is based on music from Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. The story follows a Russian fairytale about a prince who discovers and captures a magical bird. The Firebird, in return for her freedom, offers the prince a feather that he can use to summon her should he need help. The prince’s adventures take him to an enchanted castle where he meets a beautiful princess who explains that she and many others need to be freed from an evil sorceress. Ivan and the Firebird together free the princess and her fellow captives and vanquish the sorceress.

This year’s ballet leads include graduating Wilton High School seniors Jackie Cahill (The Firebird), Michele Assef (Evil Sorceress Katschvina) and Jace Collins (Prince Ivan). Weston High School senior Lily Harwood plays the beautiful princess Irina.

The studio’s owner and artistic director Brenda Froehlich created and designed the concept for the ballet and selected the compositions to create an original score. Froehlich said, “We used many key selections from Stravinsky’s original score for The Firebird ballet, but because we’re a ballet school, we needed to augment the score with more user-friendly selections for the younger students.” The score includes selections from Camille Saint-Saëns Javotte, Edvard Grieg’s Norwegian Dance Op 25/2, Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Flute & String and Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices for violin solo.

Many teachers from the studio helped with the ballet, including Peter Nevin, Kristen Prescott, Aisha Saeed, and Pamela Lisi.

The second act of the show is “Under the Big Top,” where the studio’s youngest dancers show off their developing dance skills. With students ranging in age from three years old to Kindergarten age, each class has an individual performance opportunity, set to a fun circus theme.

The show’s third act is “All That Jazz, where older dancers have their opportunity to shine. Dance styles this year include jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, Irish and a new style for the studio called Acro, in the style of Cirque Du Soleil. A unique addition to this year’s All That Jazz is a tribute to the late artist Prince, choreographed by New York-based professional dancer Shawn Rawls. The tribute includes dancers from age eight to adult. Rawls is a contributor to the Wilton Dance Studio and runs an annual intensive summer camp as well as master classes.

A highlight of the Spring Show each year is the solos performed by graduating seniors. This year, four seniors, Michele Assef, Jackie Cahill, Jace Collins and Lily Harwood collaborated to create their own piece.

An additional self-choreographed senior solo is performed by Cassandra A’Hearn.

Teachers for Under The Big Top include Brenda Froehlich, Pamela Lisi and Aisha Saeed. Teachers for All That Jazz in addition to Jennifer Danise include Brian Froehlich, Pamela Lisi, Mickey Lonsdale and Aisha Saeed.

Wilton Dance Studio invites the community to enjoy this family-friendly production. The Wilton Dance Studio Spring performances will be on Sunday, June 12 at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Wilton High School’s Clune Performing Arts Center. To buy tickets, call 203.544.9007 or download an order form on the Wilton Dance Studio website. Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the show.

Photo credit:  all photos by Allison Hansen Photography.

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