'The Dancing Princesses' goes digital with Zoom production

By Tamra Testerman
Posted 5/23/20

Following 10 weeks of stage and online rehearsal, the tenacious Taos Children's Theater troupe of 24 is posed to launch Taos theater into cyberspace with the world premiere of their Zoom movie "The Dancing Princesses" on YouTube Sunday (May 31) at 2 and 5 p.m.

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'The Dancing Princesses' goes digital with Zoom production

Posted

Following 10 weeks of stage and online rehearsal, the tenacious Taos Children's Theater troupe of 24 is posed to launch Taos theater into cyberspace with the world premiere of their Zoom movie "The Dancing Princesses" on YouTube Sunday (May 31) at 2 and 5 p.m.

Grab some popcorn and head over to Taos Children's Theater and Cinema YouTube channel. Here is a link to the teaser trailer - you'll find the movie posted there on May 31: youtu.be/x3dslxDuYh4.

The film previewed to delighted parents and fans from Wyoming, New York, Kansas, Texas - and Taos. At the end of the movie, parents and actors applauded in a virtual standing ovation. The film is a poignant, straight-from-the-heart performance of all that is great about theater arts and the tenacity of children.

TCT director Karen Thibodeau said final Zoom filming sessions resonated with "Take one, take two, take three," as dedicated actors moved into the work of making a movie. This required patience, precision and timing. Assistant director Victoria Ortiz said, "The most were seven takes, the kids were outstanding."

Thibodeau said the play features a fractured version of the classic Grimm's fairy tale, in which the King and Queen's daughters wear out their shoes every full moon. Princesses Ashlee Martinez, Anastacia Santistevan, Shelby Kiel and Katherine Ballard all show their sore royal feet on camera after dancing all night.

To our delight the kids have responded, showing their talents on camera, sustaining their character before the lens, appearing in their self-created costumes, backdrops and makeup.

The Suitors group directed by Christopher Heron invented special Zoom techniques: The Old Woman (John Flaherty) handed off the magic cloak of invisibility to the left, and in an illusion worthy of a Hollywood stunt, Prince Antonio (Jesus Rosales) picked it up from the right. They had two cloaks but somehow created onscreen credibility. In another moment, their sword fight with actor Rowan Higdon crossed Zoom boxes.

Higdon said he was proud to be part of making the play come to life on the screen. "If the pandemic lockdown continues, I would be delighted to be in another Zoom play." Jesus Rosales said, "It's just another way of doing it!"

Bakhane Chandler, Taos Academy actor, said making the movies "is an opportunity to learn film-acting skills. It's what Netflix studios expect." Taos Academy actor Shelby Kiel said working on Zoom was beneficial because "the schedule was more flexible and gave us room to be creative."

The Taos cast was joined by out-of-state actors Jayci Gibson, Eva Williams and Andrew Nash, whose plays were shut down by COVID. In addition, adult performers Ryan Mulnik and Shanti Jones discovered their comic potential, as the smitten King Phillip and Queen Leticia, respectively.

Sponsors of TCT during these pandemic times are New Mexico Arts, Jones Family Fund, 9 to 5 Ship and Print, Centinel Bank and PPC Solar.

Actors look forward to this summer's Zoom movie of "The Little Prince." Roles are open. Text the director at (575) 758-0027. There is a suggested donation of $10 to view the film via PayPal to louiseida42@hotmail.com.

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