The Alabama Dance Theatre recently presented spectacular performances of “Beauty and the Beast” accompanied by full houses, thunderous applause, and standing ovations. Excitement was in the air as ADT presented the long awaited, full-length ballet to enthusiastic audiences. Choreographed by ADT’s very own Sara Sanford, “Beauty & the Beast” is ADT’s most extravagant performance to date, with stunning new costumes and scenery. Creating atmospheric lighting and enhancing the beauty onstage was the extremely talented lighting designer, Josh Monroe.

The huge cast of 80 was impressive from the adorable Petit Fours and Pudding to ADT’s own Beauty and her Beast. Sara Sanford choreographed a stunning version of the French fairy tale La Belle et la Bête.  Belle’s story begins in the halls of a palace deep within the French countryside. A prince (danced by Raul Peinado), cold and aloof by nature, pays no mind to the suffering of others. One night an Enchantress (danced by Mary Olivia Dudley ad Abigail Barr) visits him disguised as an old beggar woman. When he turns her away, she reveals herself to the prince -- and in his horror he throws himself upon her mercy. She transforms him into a hideous beast, and binds the spell with an enchanted rose (danced by Emily Efferson and Abigail Perkinson). Each petal that fell brought him closer to death, only to be saved by true love. Beauty, danced by Savannah Golden, impressed the audience with her technique and acting. Jonathan Chapman, dancing the role of the conceited Huntsman, delighted the audience with impressive technique and comedy. Other highlights were the Ravens and the Raven Queen (danced by Karen Licari), the wolves and the Wolf Queen (danced by Ahsha Gray) and the Chef (danced by Mickey Lonsdale) and his array of sweets.

Following the Saturday matinee, children were invited on stage to meet Beauty and her friends. Margaret Ann Selman, ADT's Special Events Chairman, Amy Chapman (co-chair) and Janie Alford along with her committee members, Lee Cobb, Shelia Babcock, Danielle Herod and Aynsley Armstrong planned an enchanting “Beauty and the Beast” Party. Children of all ages joined cast members for a meet and greet session! Beauty and her Beast, The Enchantress, The Huntsman, The Enchanted Rose, Wolves, Bon Bons, Petit Fours, Macaroons and Pudding were on hand for the magical event while the hilarious Chef (danced by Mickey Lonsdale) was entertaining the children waiting in the audience.

Children were excited to have cast members autograph their admission tickets and take photographs with the dancers as well.  As the children exited the stage the little girls received beautiful red roses and little boys were given toy swords.

ADT’s “Beauty & the Beast”, was sponsored by Owen Aronov & Family, Regions Bank, The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama, Montgomery Advertiser, and Cumulus Broadcasting and is also funded in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A special thank you goes out to The Daniel Foundation of Alabama for their generous support of this three-year project, and to Mayor Todd Strange and the City of Montgomery and the Montgomery County Commission. Housing Sponsors were Doubletree Downtown, Jason and Melanie Gentry, PJ and Hannah Beaver, Ruth and David Givens and Andy and Wynn Stumpf. Stivers Ford graciously provided transportation.

After four successful performances, the Alabama Dance Theatre gathered at the Armory Learning Arts Centre for Pizza, Salad and a delicious cake decorated with Beauty and the Beast, organized by Dana Parkman with assistance by Shannon Wilson. Performers enjoyed the night dancing to the latest hits. To conclude the night, ADT graduating senior Virginia Perry, gave a heartfelt message and left behind her legacy to younger dancers in the company. This touching moment brought tears to many eyes. Faculty awards were also given to members of the senior company: Abigail Barr, Most Dynamic Dancer; Savannah Golden, Most Professional Dancer; Karen Licari, Most Accomplished Dancer; Abigail Perkinson, Awesome Attitude Award; Ahsha Gray, Most Powerful Dancer Award; Emily Efferson, Most Graceful Dancer; Mary Olivia Dudley, Best Artistry Award; Celeste Deale, Most Determined Dancer Award, Virginia Perry, Outstanding Dancer Award; and guest artists Raul Peinado, Graduation from Obedience School, “Best Behaved Beast” and Mickey Lonsdale, Accepted to Le Cordon Bleu on Scholarship.

Preparations are now underway for an exciting spring and summer! The Alabama Dance Theatre will attend RDA/SERBA (Regional Dance America/ Southeastern Regional Ballet Association) May 1-5, 2019 in Athens, Georgia.

ADT will be offering summer classes in classical ballet (pre-ballet to the professional level), pointe and variations, composition, modern, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary and tap. Session I is May 28 – June 13 and Session II is June 24- July 11. There will also be a “Tutu’s and Tiaras” camp for ages 3-8 June 17 – 21.