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New York Theatre Ballet.

With its production for young audiences of The Magic Rose: A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, choreographed by Edward Henkel, New York Theatre Ballet delivered both enchantment and confusion. Youthful spectators are well versed in the tale "Beauty and the Beast," particularly in the Walt Disney version. What hardly any of them know, however, is the myth of Theseus and Ariadne, so awkwardly combined here with the fairy tale as to leave even adult viewers questioning what the Greek legend added other than an interesting opportunity to weave a labyrinth out of a skein of thread and a second scary monster, the horned Minotaur (danced by Jeff Moen).

The Theseus and Ariadne plot is presented at curtain's rise as a masque for the court of King Minos (Paul Burns), who casts out the young man loved by his daughter. My wise, six-year-old companion, Irene, cut through the clutter at once with her statement, "It's silly to call him Theseus, when we know he's The Prince."

When Ariadne (Sylvia Nolan) sets off to follow her hero (Jack Hansen) through the maze, she is transformed into Beauty by the Magic Rose (Ursula Prenzlau), because the lovers' quest has actually led to the garden of the Beast (Elmar Streeter). Bewilderment grows with such details as a magic mirror and a statue (the lost Ariadne? her mom?) at whose base the king pines, but so, too, grows the degree of captivation.

Sylvia Taalsohn's lovely costumes and the ingenious set designs by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith made a picture-pretty environment for some delightful dancing to Elgar's Wand of Youth suites. As something of a fairy godmother figure, Prenzlau was bewitching; her first appearance had some delicate port de bras that quoted from Fokine's Spectre de la Rose. Nolan is a fine dramatic dancer, and Hansen executes princely tours en I'air. Elizabeth Bruning, Patrice Burnside, Olivia King, Tracy Roberts, Rubria Rodriguez and Felicia Terlecki danced as the corps.

A clever activities sheet introduced young balletomanes to the term choreographer. Irene, who liked the dancing a lot, picked up the new term at once when she concluded, "But the choreographer didn't tell the story very well."
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Title Annotation:Florence Gould Hall, New York, New York
Author:Hardy, Camille
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Nov 1, 1994
Words:357
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