To Be Presented For The First Time On February 16th, 2013!
Starting a ballet from
scratch is both exciting and daunting! Northwest Michigan Ballet Theater
artistic director Tom Morrell launches a new project from an inspiration: a
story, some music, a vision of what he plans to bring to life on stage. As he
sifts through songs and begins sketching out a narrative, he is also shaping
choreography to tell the story in dance.
Song of Wyoming stems
from Tom’s childhood fascination with Westerns and the Old West era in the
United States. He was captivated by numerous classic TV shows and movies he
watched as a kid. In fact, some of the
iconic musical themes from the 1950s and 1960s shows are woven into this
As the idea for a
Western-themed ballet began to take root over the summer, Tom searched out a
storyline that he could adapt: one featuring lots of romance and action, fun
and tender moments. When he struck out finding one, Tom decided to write the
Song of Wyoming story from scratch.
He developed a cast of
characters – a rancher and saloon keeper, a sheriff and cattle baron, Eastern
ladies and little girls, gamblers and cowboys – and fit them, their movements
and motivations to his dancers.
Hours and hours of
creative time go into each dance, costume, set piece and moment on stage. All
this effort is invisible to the audience – as it should be. From conception to
teaching the dancers to polishing for the final performance on stage, Tom makes
each decision and direction based on transporting the audience into the story.
While immersed in this
creative zone for months, Tom is also thinking about the bottom line: money to
fund his vision and share it with the community. He manages all aspects of the
program himself, with help from part-time office help and a dedicated rehearsal
assistant. Plus a volunteer board of directors for Northwest Michigan Ballet
Usually a production of
the scope and quality presented by Tom and his dancers means many staff and
even more volunteers. However, he makes it all work and this year is asking for
additional funding help from the Kickstarter community.
The $5,000 goal of the
Song of Wyoming Kickstarter campaign will fund male guest dancers, an amazing
professional costumer, a talented set designer and materials for both of those
Song of Wyoming is his
ninth original ballet and is shaping up to be his best offering yet! Please
consider helping today with a donation supporting Song of Wyoming.
GENERAL AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Founded in 1997 by
artistic director Thomas Morrell, the purpose of the Traverse City-based youth
company is to develop technical excellence and provide performance
opportunities for dancers while also offering arts education by introducing
regional audiences to innovative dance theater.
Mr. Morrell always
presents original, full-length ballets to the community. He has also toured his
ballets to smaller communities in the region that are under-served by the arts.
In addition, for the past four seasons, he has presented excerpts of his annual
ballet for free to a packed audience of young people and their parents at the
Traverse Area District Library.
The company's full
repertoire includes classic faerie tales from many cultures as well as a
Biblical story and piece set at the dawn of World War II.
The list below illustrates
the scope of the company's breadth and depth – an artistic impact that over 15
seasons has featured more than a hundred youth dancers and enchanted thousands.
“Scenes from A Park” –
2012, 2006 and 2002
“The Legend of Knockgraften” – 2011, 2003 and
“Hansel and Gretel” –
2010, 2008, 2000
“The Princess Peony” –
“A Midsummer Night's
Faerie Tale” – 2009 and 2001
“Whither Thou Goest: The
Story of Ruth” – 2007
“Diedre of the Sorrows” – 2005 and 1999
Princesses” – 2004
Dancers audition to participate in the Northwest Michigan
Ballet Theatre. Acceptance is based on ability and commitment to performance
opportunities. The dancers in the company are truly exceptional, logging
hundreds of hours every season rehearsing and perfecting the ballets. The
resulting performances bring to life Mr. Morrell’s artistic vision, creative
energy and exacting technical standards. The productions are truly on a par
with a professional ballet company’s work.