Emily Buckley, editor in chief

This Friday and Saturday, March 23-24, the Cache Valley Civic Ballet, now in its 35th anniversary season, will perform its production of Charles Perrault and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty at the Ellen Eccles Theatre.

“As has been tradition for several years, we are thankful for a very generous donor, who believes in the arts, and believes in introducing children to the arts. It is possible for any elementary school child, kindergarten through sixth grade, to attend the ballet for free,” said Wendy Wimmer, president of the board of directors for the Cache Valley Civic Ballet.

“I believe that being introduced to ballet, or any of the arts, at an early age increases a child’s ability to think and act creatively,” said Sandy Emile, artistic director for the Cache Valley Civic Ballet. “It enhances an individual’s awareness of people and emotions, which is becoming stripped away in our ever-increasing culture of technology. These skills are all important for creative problem solving and innovation. Having children exposed to the arts while still in grade school is like learning a foreign language at an early age. After all, the arts are just another way of communicating. The sooner children have been exposed to an art form, the better their understanding and appreciation of it will be.”

This Sleeping Beauty includes a cast of 61 dancers who have been rehearsing for three months, original costumes created for this show, and lush backdrops that will bring the audience inside Aurora’s castle from her christening to her 16th birthday party. The show will be performed to live accompaniment by the Northern Utah Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Mark Emile. “This is very exciting for the audience and performers alike,” Sandy said.

The three-act ballet tells the story of Princess Aurora (15-year-old Jade Wimmer) who, by a spell from of the evil fairy Carabosse (Stephanie White), is destined to prick her finger on a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday. The lilac fairy (Becky Kruisi) changes the spell so it can be broken by true love’s kiss. The prince (Jacob Hancock, a guest artist from Ballet West) and Carabosse battle, but, of course, true love wins. The finale is comprised of a multitude of fairytale characters attending the wedding of Aurora and the prince.

“Because of this donor, many children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend, get an introduction to ballet and the experience of attending a live production in a theatre,” Wendy said. “Kids may not love the ballet, but they can learn to appreciate it if they are introduced at a young age.”

Tickets for the show, including free education tickets, are available at cachearts.org, or by calling the Ellen Eccles Theatre Box Office at (435) 752-0026.