First Act: Cinderella


-- Expect some differences in the Wilmington Ballet Company's version of Cinderella. There will be no "bibbidy bobbidy boo" and you might meet some characters you're not familiar with, but after all this isn't Disney.

"It's hard work, though," says Dara Holmes who dances the role of the title character.

Hard work to tell the story of the beautiful woman who waits hand and foot on her stepmother and stepsisters while waiting for her prince to come. And they tell it all through a pointed toe, graceful turn of the head and a leap into the air.

The dancers with the Wilmington Ballet Company have spent many long hours rehearsing. Their show is specifically choreographed to tell a story without saying a word.

"Part of the dancing is telling a story. So you can tell it through movement, actual dance steps or through mime sequences," says artistic director Gregg Saulnier.

They are techniques the young dancers, none of whom are over the age of 18, are dedicated to learning. They practice for months for the opportunity to shine on stage.

"They go to school all day long and then they go to ballet class at night. It puts in context why they're going to class at night for dance," says Saulnier.

The ballerinas also dance because at one point in their lives they were inspired.

"My mother told me when I was three years old I said I want to be a ballet dancer. I want to be with the New York City Ballet. We would always take the encyclopedia down and she would show me the steps," says Holmes.

"I had a friend at church who danced and she was on point all the time and she just inspired me to become a dancer," says Lindsey Piepmeyer who dances the role of the Fairy Godmother.

And dance they will, as they tell the story of Cinderella in their own way. Not with a glass slipper but a ballet slipper, of course.

The Wilmington Symphony Youth Orchestra will also perform some of the music for the ballet. If you'd like to see it, there's only one chance. That's Saturday, November 18. The performance starts at 7:00pm at Kenan Auditorium on the campus of UNCW. For tickets call 962-3500.

Reported by Heather Setzler