International artist inspires local dancer
When the curtain goes up on Andalusia Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty this weekend, the spotlight features local dancers performing alongside renowned international guest dancers. Those professional dancers hail from Australia, Brazil, Colombia and Kyrgyzstan and have come to Andalusia to inspire and share their experiences with Andalusia Ballet dancers and audiences.
Savannah Claire Morgan, who dances the role of Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, will have the opportunity to perform with Darren McIntyre, who is originally from Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, and is now with City Ballet of San Diego in California as a freelance performer, choreographer, ballet master, adjudicator and répétiteur.
“In some ways, dancing with professional dancers is intimidating because I want to do my best and try to exceed their expectations. It is also exciting to partner with someone experienced,” Morgan said.
McIntyre dances the role of Prince Desíre, the complement of Princess Aurora. He has high praise about his experience here so far, noting both the gracious hospitality of the city of Andalusia and the visible support that the community gives to Andalusia Ballet. He also credits Andalusia Ballet for its exceptionality and organization, as well as the talent of Andalusia Ballet’s students.
“Rehearsals have been a great deal of fun and my partner, Savannah Claire Morgan, was exceptionally well prepared. Her talent is very delightful and her success in this very challenging role of Aurora is really a credit to her hard work and dedication,” McIntyre said. “She poured her heart and soul into her dancing and I think her performance will be very genuine and consistent. I really enjoyed dancing with this young lady and look forward to following her career with great interest.”
Dawn Crouch, Andalusia Ballet teacher, expressed admiration for Meryane Murphy’s vision and dedication to instill a love for ballet and an eye for experience in her of her students. She says that this has been especially evident through Murphy’s tireless efforts to create these invaluable experiences for Andalusia Ballet dancers and audiences.
Pairing students with professional dancers is a learning experience and is exactly what Meryane Murphy, artistic director of Andalusia Ballet, had hoped for when she cast Sleeping Beauty.
“It makes me so proud to see my beautiful young dancers working with these excellent professional male dancers that we have engaged for this performance. They are rising to new levels with this opportunity,” Murphy said. “Being around these young men who hail from all corners of the world gives our young dancers an insight into professional dance and other cultures. It is an exciting experience that stays with us well beyond the actual performances.”
McIntyre echoed Murphy’s sentiment exactly when asked what advice he would give to his partner before they take the stage.
“Enjoy the experience and become your character. Leave it all out there on the stage and be content with every performance because once you step onto that stage the dream is real for you, for the audience and for everyone who has worked so hard to make the production a reality,” McIntyre said.
Morgan feels grateful for the opportunity to learn from McIntyre, and has tried to delve greater into the depths of her character from an emotional standpoint, while still showcasing her ballet technique.
“The biggest thing I have learned through this experience is not new steps, but finding different ways of executing them with a partner,” Morgan said. “When I dance with Darren, I am portraying a princess who has found her prince and I can’t wait to share this experience with audiences of Sleeping Beauty this weekend.”
Andalusia Ballet premiered Sleeping Beauty last night. Performances also are set for 7:30 tonight, Sat., March 19, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20, in the Dixon Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of LBWCC. General admission tickets are $15 and are available at Andalusia Ballet, the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, www.andalusiaballet.com and at the door. Children who attend in costume with receive a free tiara or crown. For more information, like Andalusia Ballet on Facebook or call (334) 222-6620.