Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tale as old as time

Bellingham Dance Co. updates a classic

By Lily Olason

It’s a storybook favorite: girl meets bewitched prince in temporary form of beast, beast falls in love. Beast wins over girl with eventual charm and warm-heartedness. Furry creatures abound.

Bellingham Dance Company, however, has kicked it up a notch and added a wholly contemporary soundtrack and original choreography. Helmed by director Mary Simler Evans, BDC’s Beauty and the Beast is a visual stunner that boasts some serious chops at the hands of leads Tempeste Langille and Cody Johnson. A massive ensemble gives way to innovative and fun choreography, and puts a compelling spin on an ageless narrative.

Langille is a joy as Beauty. She expertly negotiates the space, and her work in solo and ensemble shimmer with care and precision. Johnson is also a perfect pick for the role. His dancing is immediate and emotional, and his solo to Radiohead’s Creep (for one example of many) is particularly powerful. 

After woodland friends organize a meet-cute with salsa and good intentions, Langille and Johnson team up to deliver several fantastic duets. They make lifts, turns, jumps, the whole nine yards, look easy. They dance fluidly and in tandem and hit their marks. Prepare for some acrobatic and sparkling numbers.

Rita Malpica and Katie Watkins dance perfect sisters to Beauty, and preside over many a funny scene at the Castle. Their solos to “Money (That’s What I Want)” are a riot and technically solid. David Bolden as Beauty’s dad is also a perfect pick: he dances with practically the whole cast and makes it look like cake.

Jeff Maltewsky dances a hilariously pompous Guillome, suitor to Beauty.  His sidekick, Von Ochoa as Copain, nearly steals the show with a couple of hammy (and exceptional) dance breaks. Castle crew Catherine Napier, Brenna Landon, Renee Dimond, and Paige Guthrie weave in and out of Beauty and Beast’s stories with talent and grace.

Maggie Rose as the Enchantress brings calamity and closure to the show, leading a troupe of belly dancers to help cast a spell on the Prince (Austin Hunt). Hunt gives a wonderful performance pre and post tenure as Beast.

This is a lovely show-- funny and creative and well done, it's perfect for the whole family.

Beauty and the Beast runs June 3rd (7:30pm) and 4th (2:00pm and 7:30pm) at the Majestic on North Forest in Bellingham; running time is a little over an hour. Tickets go for $25; $20 for military, seniors, and students with ID. The show is a dessert theater, so you’ll have something tasty to munch on, too.  For more info and to buy tickets, visit Bellingham Dance Company's website.

Don’t miss out!

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