About this project
Ciao a tutti! (informal hello, to a group)
How do you say "yeehaw" in Italian?! We're honored, humbled, and thrilled to say that we have been invited to perform a daring, playful, all-original Ballet Fantastique work—our Wild West ballet version of Shakespeare's As You Like It (need we say more about the ambition of BFan's ballet endeavors)—in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy in July 2012. This feisty group of gutsy dancers is the first US ballet company that we are aware of to perform in this beautiful city on the Adriatic coast. It's super-duper exciting. As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet is one of our all-time audience favorite works (strangers are still stopping us in elevators to talk to us about it), and this performance will be our first out-of-country tour.
Since we don't have any Italian speakers in our roster of talented, intelligent professional dancers—yet!—it's a good thing that we are going to be speaking to our audience through the power of both Shakespeare and dance. This little Northwest ballet company will be traveling afar and bridging cultural divides to bring our riotously unique Wild West ballet to a new audience. Yeehaw!
Maggiori dettagli (more details)
As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet was choreographed by BFan co-directors and mother-daughter team Donna and Hannah Bontrager and premiered in Eugene, OR in April 2010. Bringing one of Shakespeare's most beloved romantic comedies to life wasn't easy, but Donna and Hannah were inspired by the fact that critics consider Rosalind ("Rosie," in our version) to be one of Shakespeare's most fully-developed female characters, and by the number of other compelling female characters in the work. (Y'all should know that Ballet Fantastique's chamber ballet company is comprised of a core of strong female dancers.)
Here are a few fun facts about Ballet Fantastique's As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet:
- Ballet Fantastique's version plays up the role of all of the women in the ballet, making the character of Le Beau into "La Belle," adding the character of Cupid (giving physical force to the themes of love weaving throughout the story), and emphasizing CeCe's role in teaching Ollie about love.
- We also had fun with our Wild West version, changing the "Forest of Arden" to the "Range of Arden," setting Act I in the town saloon (with a brawl, not a duel, between "Big Bad Charlie" and Lando), and dubbing Duke Frederick "Sheriff Frederick." (Throughout history, the American West has been idealized and romanticized as a space of infinite possibility where the individual betters and discovers him- or herself—what a perfect setting, we think, for Shakespeare's themes of the natural world's transformative power.) Moreover, the iconographies of the sappiest Spaghetti Western lend themselves perfectly to the humor and delightful impossibilities of Shakespeare's original.
- Two University of Oregon Shakespeare scholars lent their pens to write a Shakespearean narration for the ballet with a Wild West twang (we even borrowed a line from Romeo and Juliet—"she doth teach the campfires to burn bright" instead of "she doth teach the torches to burn bright"). For this summer's performance, the ballet's narration will be translated into Italian. The dancers have promised to work on theirs.
Aiuto! (help—here's where you come in)
This project will enable the critically-acclaimed professional dancers of the Ballet Fantastique company (10 dancers in total, plus choreographer/artistic director/coach Donna) to travel to San Benedetto to perform As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet in a beautiful local theater, by invitation of the city's ministry of culture and tourism. Italian dancer and cultural liaison Alberto Liberatioscioli will dance the part of Orlando/Lando, and has told us that Italians have never seen a ballet like this before!
The money we raise here on Kickstarter is VITAL to our project—it will literally make our trip to Italy possible! We have a great start from generous fans, family, friends, board members, and our collective fundraising efforts...and now we're reaching out to you, art enthusiasts, dance aficionados, fans, friends, believers. Please help send us on our way with a pledge in any amount you're able. We've got some cool rewards for you, too, to show our heartfelt gratitude. ------------>
Thank you SO MUCH for your support! It means the world to us.
Ballet Fantastique is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Video Credit: Jackson Hager, Vanguard Media
Photo Credits: Greg Burns
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