“The Ballet of Peter Pan” is filled with swashbuckling pirates, beautiful fairies, tempting mermaids and of course, a ticking crocodile.
To bring to life the fantasy of Neverland, the St. Augustine Ballet has cast 40 student dancers, professional guest dancers and local celebrities, including William McCrea, more commonly known as Captain Mayhem, to play the role of Captain Hook. The craziness of the show amps up with the addition of Noise Complaint, a professional tap ensemble, tapping across the stage as Hook’s band of rowdy pirates.
The lobby will be part of the preshow entertainment with a pirates rounded up by the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum to greet audience members, alongside a live crocodile provided by the St. Augustine Alligator Zoological Park. Live mermaids and pirate musicians Dirty James and Captain Barbossa will also be on hand to get everyone in the mood.
“We wanted to do more things that involve the community, and this is one way to do that,” said Joy D’Elia, of the St. Augustine Ballet. “The idea is to have a little bit for everybody in the show.”
St. Augustine Ballet Director Luis Abella said that the choice to perform “Peter Pan” left a lot of room for interpretation. “The Ballet of Peter Pan” is not like “Sleeping Beauty” or “The Nutcracker,” with standardized dance or music. This ballet started from the ground up, Abella and his team picking the music, which ranges from pirate drinking songs to classical scores, choreographing the show and creating sets, props and costumes.
“It’s been crazy, but it’s probably going to be the best show we’ve ever had,” Abella said.
One of his goals by choosing a kid-friendly, non-classic ballet is to help people understand ballet through a story they are familiar with.
“Ballet is not only dance, it’s a classical form of storytelling,” Abella said. “Part of choosing this type of show, it’s not only for the audience, but it’s for our kids to work harder to become good actors and dancers and overall performers; and to learn from each other.”
One student who will be taking a lead is Kali Lee, 15, dancing the role of Wendy. Lee has been dancing with the St. Augustine Ballet since it launched, working toward her aspiration of becoming a professional dancer.
“I really like being able to transform into a character that I’m not usually like and to act young and childlike and whimsical,” Lee said, adding that she’s usually quiet in social settings.
Lee is joined by Cuban-trained guest artists Margit Rodriguez and Daet Rodriguez dancing the roles of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. The two also choreographed the ballet. New to the St. Augustine Ballet this year is award-winning choreographer and dancer Kimberly Taylor, who will be dancing the role of Mrs. Darling.
“The Ballet of Peter Pan” will take the stage at the Lewis Auditorium, 14 Granada St., St. Augustine for shows at 2:30 and 7 p.m. May 16. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at saintaugustineballet.com or by calling 855-222-2849.
Peter Pan Cast Collects Peter Pan Peanut Butter
What’s in a name? Sometimes it’s the beginning of a fun community service project. St. Augustine Ballet decided to take a break during their Saturday rehearsal schedule to support a good cause and have a little fun playing with words.
Collecting Peter Pan Peanut Butter was a natural fit for the cast of the ballet’s upcoming production of “The Ballet of Peter Pan.” The 21 jars will be donated to the Food Pantry at St. Francis House.