Opera production features young dancers

Students of Rinat Mouzafarov who will be performing in the Western Plains Opera production this weekend are, from left, (back) Kaitlyn Klein, Madalyn Meagher, Eva Bloom, Olivia Christianson, Nevaeh Corzette, (middle) Ashley Carr, Kaydence Klein, Ruby Lormejuste, Ella Wittliff, Addison Pringle, (front) Alaina Gochanour, Brianna Quick, Houston Head, Haleigh Carr. Photo submitted by Ron Rouse

Fourteen advanced dancers with the Rinat Mouzafarov Institute of Dance & Ballet Theatre will be performing with the Western Plains Opera as it presents “Hansel and Gretel” in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall Jan. 24-26.

Mouzafarov choreographed the ballet being performed by dancers aged 10 to 17 during a six-minute dream sequence within the opera.

Mouzafarov, whose dancers have performed previously with Western Plains Opera, said his students always welcome the opportunity to dance with the Minot Symphony Orchestra and Western Plains.

“It’s a great experience for my students and they are so honored, so excited, to be in the opera,” he said.

Mouzafarov not only has worked with the opera company in the past but he also has worked with this opera’s stage director, Julie Wright Costa. Those connections led to the opportunity for his students to be part of “Hansel and Gretel.”

Ballet students dancing on pointe will portray fairies and angels in the heads of Hansel and Gretel as they sleep. Dancers will move in and out of the scene, which will include solo performances. Highlights will be the partnering of dancers Houston Head and Brianna Quick and a special dance performance featuring Kaydence and Kaitlyn Klein as they engage with the opera’s evil Witch.

Mouzafarov’s dancers are known for their technical skills and professionalism as well as their beautiful costuming. Mouzafarov said the music of Engelbert Humperdinck also is amazing and adds to the expression of the dance.

Humperdinck had taken his sister’s suggestion to set music to the familiar Brothers Grimm fairy tale about siblings Hansel and Gretel, who discover a fantastic gingerbread house after getting lost in the woods. They encounter a witch who wants to turn them into gingerbread cookies, but they develop a plan to trick the witch and escape.


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