Performance

A puppet's dream come true

Academy of Performing Arts stages 'Pinocchio' at the Taos Community Auditorium

By Tempo Staff
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 4/24/19

The classic tale of a lonely woodcarver who creates a puppet that magically comes alive may best be remembered as Walt Disney's 1955 animated feature "Pinocchio." But, the story was …

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Performance

A puppet's dream come true

Academy of Performing Arts stages 'Pinocchio' at the Taos Community Auditorium

Posted

The classic tale of a lonely woodcarver who creates a puppet that magically comes alive may best be remembered as Walt Disney's 1955 animated feature "Pinocchio." But, the story was originally written as a serial in 1881 called "Le avventure di Pinocchio" (The Adventures of Pinocchio).

Today, the Academy of Performing Arts in Taos has fashioned an adaptation of the world-renowned novel by Italian children's writer Carlo Collodi for the Taos Community Auditorium stage. Performances are planned Friday (April 26) at 6 p.m. and Saturday (April 27) at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Here is how A.P Arts Director Amber Vasquez describes the show: "From a piece of wood, Geppetto (Laryssa Short) creates Pinocchio (Emmasofia Hayett), whom he loves as his own son. And even though he has a little cricket (Adelaide Driver) to guide him, our puppet hero has a habit of getting himself into scrapes - running into colorful characters, first two greedy bullies, then a magic flute-playing puppeteer and finally a naughty rap-singing schoolmate.

"To top it all off, he even picks up the habit of lying! His lies cannot deceive the Blue Fairy (Grace Lerner), who makes his nose grow longer as he tells lies. To look for Pinocchio, Geppetto sets out to the sea and ends up in the stomach of a whale. Will the Blue Fairy come to their rescue? Will Geppetto and Pinocchio reunite in the end? Will Pinocchio learn to be real boy and good son?"

Collodi's bold theatrical tale of crickets, fairies and underwater beasts will be brought to life by more than 200 dancers, as young as 2 years old and up to 40 years old.

"The show is directed and conceptualized by myself, but the choreography is done jointly by all the collaborative members at A.P. Arts," Vasquez said in a prepared statement.

Ange'l Wilson, hip-hop teacher at A.P. Arts adds, "In this ballet, we had the idea of the naughty school kid Lampwick (played by Sierra Lindsey-Biscello) causing an upheaval in her school classroom, rapping live each show to the other students about why they should ditch school and follow her to Candy Island. There is no known rap that fits that subject so Amber had to write the rap lyrics and mix the music to create a hilarious and novel hip-hop track."

Tap and ballet instructor Michelle Roaque said, "This show has come together so beautifully. The way each style of dance and each age group is knitted together to create a cohesive performance is quite astounding. The community will be delighted to see the baby tap class as wind-up dolls in Geppetto's workshop, or the preteen contemporary dance class performing as smoke in the belly of the whale. It is a beautiful tale told with such visually appealing details."

The students this year had an opportunity to train with Kathleen Martin, who began her professional career with Ballet West and starred in the BBC worldwide production of "Breaking Pointe." She came to A.P. Arts from Ballet Idaho where she danced under Ballet Master Alex Ossadnick who has also spent time at A.P. Arts this year training the older dancers, according to Vasquez.

"Under Kathleen's tutelage the dancers' confidence and technical abilities have taken a huge leap forward," Vasquez states. "It is with Kathleen's coaching that Emmasofia [Hayett] and all the lead dancers in this production have a true understanding of classical ballet technique. In large part Kathleen's tutelage has allowed them to be able to present a level of technical accuracy seen in dancers much older. It is especially exciting that each of our lead dancers were invited to the Regional Dance America Festival this year. This is a huge honor for them and our little studio to be personally invited to represent Taos by this national dance organization. I am proud of the students' hard work and I hope the community will come support their young artists as they showcase the work they have done this year."

The Taos Community Auditorium is located at 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

Tickets are $15, $10 children and seniors. Running time is approximately 75 minutes. Content is appropriate for all ages. For more information, contact Amber Vasquez at (575) 770-0053 or amber@taosdance.com.

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