For some, dancing is a form of expression, an outlet for emotional energy and an exercise in discipline and precision. For others, it's pure fun; enjoyment found in the drama and expression of leaping and twirling to a musical background. But for the dancers of the Vail Valley Academy of Dance and Vail Youth Ballet Company who are taking part in this week's performances of "Peter Pan," it's about coming together with dancers of all ages to put on a show that exhibits the artistry created by the intertwining of months of learning, fun and discipline.
"My favorite kind of dance is ballet, because it's so precise," said Finn Dippy, who will play Peter Pan. "It gives me something to strive for, and that's really fun. I guess I love dancing because it's amazing how fun and discipline actually go together."
"Peter Pan" is a Vail Valley favorite. The premiere was two years ago, when it was presented by Vail Valley Friends of Dance, and it returns again this year, with some changes. Anne Powell, the Vail Youth Ballet Company's director describes the show as, "such a fun show incorporating many different technical levels so there is something fun to dance for everyone."
The Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, Vilar Performing Arts Center performances will bring the familiar characters to life and feature local dancing talent from the Edwards-based studio.
"I get nervous right before we go on stage, but the bright lights help," said Taylor Petrowski, who will play Tinker Bell.
Audrey Howell, this year's only Company senior, has begun a big sister group at the studio with the intention of sharing insights, advice and experience among dancers of all ages. From working on specific moves or choreography to sharing tips on balancing the busy life of a student-dancer, being a leader in the company is something Howell has taken seriously. Dancing as Mrs. Darling, a mermaid and a pirate wench in this year's "Peter Pan," Howell is also active in Vail Mountain School's dance theater program. She's been dancing since she was three, and is excited to perform in "Peter Pan" once again.
The Vail Valley Academy of Dance version of "Peter Pan" strays from the darker style that other dance companies sometimes adopt. Opting for a lighter depiction with lots of upbeat choreography; the show uses the storyline to build excitement for dancers and viewers alike.
With bright and creative costumes — some homemade and others rented from a dance theater company in Denver — the dancers will step into costume and experience the whole process of putting on a show at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. They've been practicing up to six days a week, depending on their role in the show, for months. A troop of parents has been devoted to working on many of the costumes every Saturday leading up to the show as well, creating everything from beautiful fairy costumes to mermaids.
In addition to the costumes, a substantial amount of time and effort has gone into the set creation and practices as well. Viewers can expect to witness the athleticism and skill of dancers while they watch "Peter Pan" and Wendy fly through the air on silks and hammocks. The flying illusions were created by Leisha Knight, formerly of Cirque de Soleil, and now the owner of local studio Peace Love and Aerial Yoga. There is all-age-friendly action in the show, adding sparkle and fun to the familiar, all-ages storyline.
The community is welcome and encouraged to attend "Peter Pan," showing Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at The Vilar Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $38 and can be purchased online at http://www.vilarpac.org and at the venue.
Sponsored by Vail Friends of the Dance, proceeds from the performances will go toward scholarships for dancers, assisting with student tuition and the support of summer intensives and camps and local class tuition as well. For more information, visit http://www.friendsofthe dance.org.