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We Reviewed Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and It’s Enchanting

CEO Tinh Phung
Playing this weekend at the Marcus Center, Milwaukee Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast concludes a season that has had its fair share of challenges and triumphs. From captivating contemporary works to timeless fairy tales, the...

Playing this weekend at the Marcus Center, Milwaukee Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast concludes a season that has had its fair share of challenges and triumphs. From captivating contemporary works to timeless fairy tales, the company has showcased its versatility and artistry throughout the year. In this review, we'll dive into the magical world of Beauty and the Beast and discover why it is a must-see ballet.

A Tale Brought to Life

Artistic director and choreographer, Michael Pink, expertly weaves together various versions of the beloved fairy tale, creating a ballet that is both familiar and captivating. While the ballet takes inspiration from the Disney adaptation, it is infused with Pink's unique vision and creativity. The result is a mesmerizing experience that transports the audience to a provincial town, a gloomy castle, and a haunted forest.

Milwaukee Ballet Company Milwaukee Ballet Company; Photo by Rachel Malehorn

Impeccable Music and Imagery

Composer Philip Feeney's original score adds depth and emotion to the ballet. Drawing inspiration from classical composers like Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, Feeney creates a musical landscape that perfectly complements the enchanting visuals on stage. From the mystical forest to the majestic castle, the music immerses the audience in the story.

The ballet begins in the forest, where a slow-motion prologue sets the stage for Beast's backstory. As the Prince gallops on a mechanical horse, a haunting mist envelops the scene. The attention to detail in the set design and lighting creates a truly immersive experience for the audience.

Captivating Performances

The dancers of Milwaukee Ballet bring the characters to life with grace and precision. Davit Hovhannisyan's portrayal of Beast is nothing short of extraordinary. Through his expressive movements, he captures the complexity of the character's transformation from a cursed creature to a potential love interest for Belle.

Annia Hidalgo Annia Hidalgo; Photo by Rachel Malehorn

Annia Hidalgo shines as Belle, embodying the character's intelligence and resilience. Her chemistry with Hovhannisyan creates a compelling dynamic on stage, keeping the audience engaged and invested in their journey.

The Perfect Blend of Tradition and Innovation

What sets Michael Pink's Beauty and the Beast apart is his ability to honor the classic elements of the story while adding his own artistic flair. The ballet incorporates traditional ballet techniques alongside modern dance vocabulary, creating a visually stunning blend of styles.

Annia Hidalgo and Josiah Cook Annia Hidalgo and Josiah Cook; Photo by Rachel Malehorn

The village scenes are a particular highlight, featuring lively group dances that exude joy and energy. Belle's two sisters and their suitors provide comic relief, adding a lighthearted touch to the narrative. The exquisite costumes, designed by Paul Daigle, beautifully complement the choreography and set design, creating a cohesive and visually stunning production.

A Tale for the Modern Audience

While Beauty and the Beast has its roots in a tale as old as time, this production manages to inject a fresh perspective into the narrative. The story's underlying message of not judging others based on appearances remains relevant in the 21st century. As we watch Beast's transformation and his burgeoning relationship with Belle, we are reminded of the power of empathy and compassion.

MBSA students MBSA students; Photo by Nathaniel Davauer

Milwaukee Ballet's Beauty and the Beast is a magical journey that transports audiences to a world of enchantment and wonder. With its captivating performances, exquisite music, and stunning visuals, this production is a testament to the artistry and creativity of the company. Don't miss the opportunity to experience this timeless fairy tale come to life on stage.

Beauty and the Beast by Milwaukee Ballet continues through Sunday, May 22, at the Marcus Performing Arts Center. For tickets and more information, visit milwaukeeballet.org.

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