by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
In its original 18th century form, Beauty and the Beast was actually a primer for young ladies facing the perils of marriage. Your husband might seem to be a beast to you but it was your job to find something to like about him. “We’ve come a long way since then…” commented founder/directed Victoria Koenig in a pre-show jest, which garnered an instantaneous house-wide giggle. But really in its essence the story of Beauty and the Beast, as an instructional or otherwise, universally speaks to our better selves and our willingness to look past surface and find the inner beauty of another person; in Beauty’s case, love and a fairytale marriage.
Opening a bit like a town hall meeting, the show was introduced by Arcadia’s mayor, followed by an unexpected mini-history lesson of the tale and of the ballet. In and of itself the ballet Beauty and the Beast is a rather modern creation, with a strung together musical score by composers, Shostakovich, Komzak, Dvorak, Chapi, Mendelssohn, Khachaturian, Grieg, Massenet, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Paine, and Glazunov, which although did not evince a particularly strong denouement did seamlessly and quite beautifully lead the ballet. The first several minutes were devoted to an expressive and perfect balletic mime demonstration by dance veteran Jonathan Sharp who exampled the “language” of story ballet.
There are no dancing tea cups but there are wolves, fairies and knomes aplenty. Suited for adults and children of all ages. There are two more performances taking place in Riverside, CA today:
Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501
Box Office: (951) 779-9800
Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Information & Tickets: ipballet.org; tickets from $34 with senior/child/group discounts available