Local ballet studio presents children’s stories

Tales of Beatrix Potter come to stage

Submitted Photo Dancers with the Rinat Mouzafarov Institute of Dance & Ballet Theatre shown in costume from “Tales of Beatrix Potter” are (left to right): front, Francesa Renda, Linnea Gillis, Astrid Allan, Annalise Hovde, Chloe Burgardt, McKenzie Andersen, Archer Schnaible; middle, Clara Withers, Eva Brady, Ali Haas, Jacey Leifson, Madilyn Monson, Julianne O’Farrell; back, Ashley Carr, Addison Pringle, Olivia Christianson, Colin Robson, Branden Alvarez and Haleigh Carr. Photo by Ronald Rouse.

The Rinat Mouzafarov Institute of Dance & Ballet Theatre will bring the children’s tales of Beatrix Potter to Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on the Minot State University campus this weekend.

The ballet features original choreography by Mouzafarov, performed by about 65 students from ages 3 to 18.

Mouzafarov said the local ballet community encouraged him to develop an entirely new production for the studio’s annual spring’s performance. When the studio’s long-time costume designer, Tonya Lewis, suggested Beatrix Potter’s stories, he was hesitant, knowing how involved such a production would be. However, Mouzafarov said, he eventually agreed it was a good choice, and his excitement for the production has grown as he’s watched the dances, costuming and set come together for this weekend’s performances.

“Tales of Beatrix Potter” will be performed Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and are available at the studio, Artmain and Eckroth Music or at the door.

Mouzafarov said the London Royal Ballet has been the only professional ballet organization to showcase stories of Beatrix Potter. His institute is taking a step rare in the ballet world to offer this production to the community.

Mouzafarov was able to import classical music for the ballet from Europe. About 18 Potter stories were selected, including the well-known story of Peter Rabbit and his garden escapades. There’s also tales of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Benjamin Bunny, Pigling Bland, the Flopsy Bunnies, Jemima Puddle Duck, Squirrel Nutkin and others.

Because this is a new production, all new costuming also has been professionally designed by Lewis and created by Lewis and her team of seamstresses. Dancers will portray a variety of creatures, from turtles, mice and squirrels to bunnies, foxes and pigs and more.

“For a small town like Minot, it’s very unique,” Mouzafarov said of the extravaganza.

This spring’s production also is unique in that it fully engages all dancers, drawing on students of all ages and skill levels to tell the stories and share the spotlight. Because of the nature of the stories, dance segments also are longer, placing more demands on the physical stamina of dancers, Mouzafarov said.

Mouzafarov noted a production of this type would not be possible without the help of studio families and supporters in the community. He added the purity of the stories and beauty of the dances in this production are just the diversion needed in these times when there’s so much negative in the world.


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