The Snow Queen: Ballet Theatre of Toledo maintains its high standards

by Lindsay Smith

The beloved Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Snow Queen” burst into life with Ballet Theatre of Toledo’s latest and innovative production March 18-19 at Trinity Church in downtown Toledo.

Choreography was by Sylvania resident and BTT’s own Nigel Burgoine, who has established himself not only as the artistic director for BTT but as an innovative and adventurous choreographer. Hopefully this Toledo Treasure will not be lured to other pastures!

Again the Company seems to grow and develop its professionalism and rises to every challenge with each new production it presents, and the Snow Queen, composed by Alexander Glazunov, was no exception.

And how fitting that this production, superb in every aspect, was dedicated to the memory of the late Dorothy Mackenzie Price who supported BTT since its inception some 12 years ago.

Whether on tour, or at established theaters such as The Valentine, or in this case the wonderful atmospheric Trinity Church with its stained glass adding to the stage effects, the company’s standard of professionalism never varies.

Stand-outs in this production were Hannah Pruiett as Gerda. Her fouettes turns were strong and exceptionally well-presented.

Hannah Pruiett as Gerda

Evan Long as Kai displayed technically the qualities of a professional dancer – his relevés in A La Seconde were sensational and his attitude pirouettes were flawless. His acting ability surpassed what a 13-year-old dancer should be able to accomplish!

Evan Long as Kai

Hannah Gerken as the guardian of Gerda portrayed her role most expressively and Regan Simon as the Snow Queen brought out the assertiveness of the character. Also showing great characterization was Rebekah Schmitz as the enchanted lady and Mackenzie Abodeely floated through her princess variation and had a handsome partner in Jared Davis.

Bringing humor and strong technique to the production were Jacqueline Weaner and Emma Hennessy as the robbers. There is no doubt that BTT’s strength lies in its ability to groom and develop up and coming dancers for principal roles.

In addition, the setting at Trinity Church gives the audience the advantage of being very close to all the dancers. In a lesser company this could have been to the disadvantage of the audience.

As I have mentioned in previous review, when it comes to BTT, the dedication of the principals and costs shows through, and illustrates there is nothing wrong with our youth when given the challenge to perform in the discipline of dance.

This latest production shows BTT going from strength to strength, due, in this critic’s opinion, to the fact that it is not tempted to diversify with other dance forms, but relishes in the challenges involved in specializing only in the art of classical ballet.

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Lindsay Smith is a former career diplomat with the Australian Government, having served as Counsellor (Culture and Information) in various postings including Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, United States and the South Pacific.