The upcoming ballet "Sleeping Beauty," with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is a collaboration between The Eugene Ballet, the Walla Walla Symphony, and Whitman dance instructor Idalee Hutson-Fish.
This is the second time the two companies have joined forces; they put on "The Nutcracker" (also by Tchaikovsky) in December of 2008. The performance was the first full symphony and ballet production in Walla Walla in more than 30 years, and it was a huge success. Ironically, it all happened because Hutson-Fish, after performing "The Nutcracker" countless times, came to hate it. Hutson-Fish spoke with the symphony's music director and conductor, Yaacov Bergman, several years ago, and he suggested that they put on "The Nutcracker."
"I said, 'Yaaci, I hate 'The Nutcracker.' If you want to do 'The Nutcracker,' you have to do it with a company that already does 'The Nutcracker,'" Hutson-Fish said.
She had a change of heart at the first dress rehearsal when the symphony began to play.
"I'm sitting in the middle of the stage, and I literally start weeping. I had forgotten how incredibly beautiful Tchaikovsky's music really is," Hutson-Fish said.
This will mark the first time in its 103-year-history that the Walla Walla Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" in its entirety.
While the interaction between choreographer and conductor can be tricky, Walla Walla Symphony Executive Director Mike Wenberg said Bergman has a natural talent for conducting to dance.
"He's really evocative in terms of the way he conducts," Wenberg said.
The Eugene Ballet, led by renowned choreographer Toni Pimble, will put on a classic rendition of "Sleeping Beauty" with elaborate sets and costuming.
In addition to the professional dancers, the production will feature many talented young dancers from the community who have rehearsed with Hutson-Fish.
You may know the story from the Disney movie, but you haven't seen it told like this.