Local Ballet Company, California Contemporary Ballet, Presents “The Legend of Jack Frost”; Original Story with New Choreography, Original Music, Sets and Costumes to Premiere at Glendale Community College Theater, December 20 and 21
LOS ANGELES, CA: There is much excitement at California DanceArts where auditions for roles have been cast and rehearsals are already under way for a new ballet. The school, nestled in the foothills of La Cañada, California, is the residence of California Contemporary Ballet (http://www.CalBallet.com/). The dance company is preparing to launch one of its grandest full-scale ballets kicking off the winter holidays—The Legend of Jack Frost premiering December 20 and 21 at 2:00pm at Glendale Community College Theater.
The company is best known for its successful signature ballet, The Snow Queen, based on the beloved fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. Until this year, the Snow Queen Ballet has been performed by the company annually for the past 16 years to sold-out audiences in Glendale. Now, the company is giving birth to a new original ballet, The Legend of Jack Frost. A ballet production about Jack Frost is a unique idea for a small company that strives to make its mark by producing original, fully orchestrated and full-scale productions.
Jack Frost, that mischievous spirit of winter ice, snow, sleet and frosty weather, who is responsible for “nipping at your nose,” will be the subject of the latest ballet created by Aerin Holt, the company’s artistic director and choreographer. “Our ballet of The Snow Queen was virtually ignored by ballet companies before we started to develop it. No template existed for the story as a ballet. It was created and conceived with new choreography, newly composed music, newly designed costumes, set designs etc. We are attempting to do it again with a character whose time is long overdue.”
Jack Frost has made guest appearances in numerous ballets, stories and movies. With a few exceptions, he is usually seen in cameo or supporting roles. The Frost character was recently featured in the popular children’s animated movie “The Rise of the Guardians”. Holt is attempting to give Frost not only his own moment in the spotlight but also the opportunity to tell his own story. Holt began by researching and examining various folklore stories about Jack Frost. “He is often seen as a spirit or as a mischievous elfish pixie or imp. Some legends and old sketches depict him more as a giant and a hero. Our Jack Frost is a combination of many of these myths and legends”, Holt explained.
The specific storyline of the ballet was further developed with her collaborator, Dwight B. Mikkelsen, who is also the ballet’s composer. Previously, in the spring of 2013, Mikkelsen composed the music for the company’s successful original ballet of Thumbelina, with a reprised performance the following year. The pair seem to have found a successful formula. Holt says, “Dwight and I share a vision for each project which we express through our respective disciplines of music and dance. He creates music that articulates the exact harmonic of my movements.”
The new ballet focuses on Jack Frost as the protagonist who will take center stage of the mythical Frosty underworld and who is invisible to human kind. The role of Jack Frost is performed by Nicholas Zerman from Los Angeles. Jaclyn Stryker, a professional dancer from La Crescenta, performs the role of his human love interest. The ballet is performed by a cast of pre-professional youth supporting a company of professional career dancers who will command the principal roles.
Professional dancer and aerialist, Alyssa Thompson from Canyon Country, will perform as The Phoenix, who will fly and perform on an aerial hoop. A guest appearance by her majesty, the Snow Queen, will be danced by professional ballerina Natalie Grina, from North Hollywood, giving a nice nod to the Company’s previous Snow Queen Ballet while positioning Jack Frost as a prequel in the Company’s Snow Queen saga. Fire Dancers attempt to melt Jack Frost in a scene with professional dancer Daniel Tran, from Los Angeles, who performs the role of The Dragon and who is soundly defeated by Jack in battle. The fight takes place in order to save the village full of good folk.
The ballet is performed with originally designed and handmade costumes. Details such as trim on the skirts and buttons on jackets will be done last minute while the ballet is produced with little time left to spare. “Creating our own version of all the characters with costumes that the dancers feel comfortable in and allow them to move freely, along with getting everything done on time is always our challenge”, say costumers, Christine Morrison and Nancy Scott. The two costume designers have been making costumes for the company for the past 15 years, “We love the company and all of the dancers”.
The Legend of Jack Frost, a frosty wintertime fantasy, will premier in celebration of Winter Solstice which falls directly on the days of the performance, December 20 & 21st at 2:00pm. Fun for the entire family, the ballet will be performed at Glendale Community College Theater. Advanced Reserved Seating Tickets are $20 and $25 at http://www.CalBallet.com. At the door tickets $25 & $30. Tickets are also sold by calling 818-583-7406.