Lafayette Ballet Company to present ‘Once Upon a Time’

Published 6:34 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

Three epic fairy tales will come to life on stage on March 15, 16 and 17 when the Lafayette Ballet Company presents ‘Once Upon a Time.’

Dancers ranging from kindergarten students to professional dancers will tell the stories of Rapunzel, Pocahontas and the Firebird on the Troup High Fine Arts Auditorium stage during the ballet, which will be narrated by Carol Cain.

“We usually say there is no narration in ballet, but if people have ever thought, ‘I don’t know about the ballet. They don’t even talk in the ballet.’ Well there is going to be talking,” said Amy Orr, the LBC artistic director. “She does a lovely job narrating a couple of times throughout the story, so you don’t even have to read a synopsis. You should get it totally.”

Orr said she hopes the different style of performance along with the well-known stories will encourage even ballet skeptics to come out and watch the company perform.

“I like the different stories, how everyone can come for a different reason,” said Madelyn Battle, one of the dancers who plays the firebird. “It has favorite princesses for the ballet.”

While the stories of Rapunzel and Pocahontas are well known, Orr said the music and styles challenged dancers to step outside their comfort zone and learn new choreography.

“Dance-wise, it has been a nice challenge … to have new choreography, new types of music to challenge themselves with,” Orr said. “My dancers have learned to count music that is not countable, so to speak.”

Each of the three main roles will feature two dancers who alternate performances and have worked together to master their parts to a more modern style of music than what is seen at many ballet performances.

“There are different varieties of dance to show,” said Lizzie Doerr, one of the dancers playing Pocahontas. “It is something different for LaGrange.”

Doerr and Payton Moody, who performs as Pocahontas on other nights, said the dance style strongly contrasts other shows like The Nutcracker, especially Pocahontas’ dance, which focuses more on strength than classical ballet ideas of beauty. Meanwhile, for the Rapunzel performers, the biggest adjustment has been learning to dance with hair worthy of their fairy tale.

“We are normally bun-heads. We always wear our [hair in] buns, but now our hair is down,” said Bentley Wilson, who plays Rapunzel.

The dancers said that change means an increased focus on techniques that they have known for years because of the movement and weight of the hair.

“It makes me focus on my technique because if you know what to do then you can work with your challenges,” said Lucy Alford, who plays Rapunzel.

Orr said that she is proud of how the Rapunzel dancers have learned to perform with the hairpieces, as well as the firebird dancers’ work to perform in their feathery unitards.

“I’ve never danced in a dance like firebird [before],” said Lydia Alford, who plays the firebird.

The Firebird is a Russian folk tale that became a ballet in 1910. The dancers said fast-paced firebird dance has challenged them to grow as performers, and Alford and Battle look forward to the opportunity to introduce the community to a lesser known fairy tale.

“It will be fun because it is new,” Alford said. “No one has heard of it or seen it, so I think it will be interesting to see if everyone likes it and their reactions.”

The Lafayette Ballet Company will perform Once Upon a Time at the Troup County Fine Arts Auditorium on March 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. and March 16 and 17 at 2 p.m. For tickets or more information, call (706) 882-9909 or visit