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‘Wizard of Oz: The Ballet’ a community-wide effort

Updated: Aug 19, 2018

On Friday and Saturday, the Vilar Performing Arts Center was full of munchkins, poppies, flying monkeys, witches and, of course, Dorothy, Tinman, Scarecrow and Lion. Many more took to the stage and probably as many helped behind the stage to make Vail Youth Ballet Company's new winter show, "Wizard of Oz: The Ballet," a spectacular production.

Julia Kozusko said, "The Friends of the Dance board would like to thank the community for the incredible support for our new show, "Wizard of Oz: The Ballet." From all the parents who helped with costumes, props, the set, bake sale items and much more and to the businesses and individuals who contributed, we are so grateful."

Sometimes, locals may take for granted the phenomenal amount of talent that we have right here in the Vail Valley. Local teacher Tanya Kessenich said that she expressed this sentiment to her children.

"I told my kids that we are very lucky to have the amount of cultural experiences that we do here in the mountains," she said.

"Wizard of Oz: The Ballet" did not disappoint. Everyone in the audience was wowed by the caliber of dance, costumes, music and production. VYBC Artistic Director Nicole Hattler and her assistant, Cheryl Senser, did a fabulous job, as did music arranger and composer Mark Hagerling. In The dancers were excellent actors, as well.

In addition to their impressive performances on the VPAC stage, the Friends of the Dance Outreach Program offers cultural dance awareness programs throughout the community, reaching more than 1,000 students each year, including performing excerpts of ballets at local schools. Ballet students are excellent role models, as they exhibit discipline, poise, passion and commitment. Hattler addressed her patrons stating, "The story of 'Wizard of Oz' is rich with wonderful themes of friendship, family and empowerment. … I hope that if you are touched by this performance that you will consider giving in whatever way that you can to the many organizations that enrich our children's lives on our own backyard. There truly is 'no place like home' and the energy we put into our community is exactly why we call it home."

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Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events, fundraisers for nonprofits and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at


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