Ballet to stage ‘Messiah’ this year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dancers rehearse during the 2006 Andalusia Ballet production of ‘Messiah.’

For several weeks, Meryane Murphy, artistic director of the Andalusia Ballet, has been saying, “We’ll see,” and “Maybe,” about the group’s holiday performance.

Yesterday, she made those “maybe’s” official, announcing that the pieces have fallen in place to present Handel’s “Messiah” for this year’s December performance.

The production is a tremendous undertaking, bringing together an orchestra, a community chorus and dancers from the ballet performing selections from “Messiah.”

Murphy said she has wanted to do this ballet again for several years.

“I am thrilled and excited that we are going to be able to present this magnificent production for this special season,” she said.

Former Andalusian Becky Taylor, director of the Montgomery Chorale, will coordinate the community chorus and orchestra. Murphy said 40 to 50 people are needed to sing in the chorus, which will practice on Sunday afternoons beginning in September. Taylor will first meet with those interested on Sun., Sept. 18.

Taylor also is the director of music ministries, organist and choirmaster at Montgomery’s Church of the Ascension. Her husband, Bill Taylor, is a baritone, and her son, Patrick Padgett, is also a musician.

Dance auditions are set for Sat., Sept. 17, at the ballet’s new home at the Church Street Cultural Arts Centre. Amelie Hunter, who choreographed the ballet several years ago, will be in Andalusia to work with dancers the weekend of Nov. 18.

Hunter is a Louisiana native who began her dance training with the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre. Her interest in world dance led to her performing with La Meri’s Ethnic Dance Arts Co. and in concerts in England, Indonesia and the United States, and to her dance studies in Java and Bali. She is a free-lance choreographer who has set ballets on companies across the country, with six of her works placed on the National Choreography Plan for Regional Dance America. She holds an MA from UCLA in dance ethnology and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

“Messiah” will replace “Nutcracker” this year. The Andalusia Ballet last presented “Messiah” in December of 2006.

This year’s performances are set for 7:30 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 9, and Sat., Dec. 10, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sun., Dec. 11.