Marquee: Dancers present a re-imagining of 'Snow White'

Ballet dancers of the The Dance Center will perform a piece researched and envisioned by instructor Idalee Hutson-Fish.

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Masked dancers lean out, reaching as they are brought to life by lead Ashley Akacich (left) during a rehearsal for The Dance Center's upcoming production of "Snow White." Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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A green mask, worn by prima ballerina Ashley Akacich, sits on the floor as she rehearses through a solo for the upcoming performance of Snow White. Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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Wearing green masks, The Dance Center ballerinas, including Ashley Akacich (center), rehearse through a piece in the upcoming production of "Snow White," directed by Idalee Hutson-Fish. Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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Ashley Akacich performs a solo with an ornate green mask she wears at a rehearsal for "Snow White." Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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Ballerina Ashley Akacich performs a jump during a run through of a solo that will be part of The Dance Center's upcoming performance of Snow White. Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Seven dwarves, an evil queen and a young princess will soon fill the stage to tell the fairy tale of "Snow White" through ballet.

Students of The Dance Center will perform this family-friendly story 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in Cordiner Hall. Tickets are available at the door. General admission is $12 and $10 for students and seniors.

This production of "Snow White" is near to dance instructor Idalee Hutson-Fish's heart. She has spent hours of preparation and research to create this original show.

"This is not your Disney version of 'Snow White,'" Hutson-Fish said. There are many special twists and extra pieces of the story that give a background to the original tale. This version will explore the beginnings of the evil Queen and her transformation into who she becomes.

"When we looking into the mirror," Hutson-Fish said, "we are seeking perfection." This influences the queen's transformation in the ballet.

To reach the final script for her libretto, Hutson-Fish spent time reading various stories of "Snow White" during the summer, learning all she could about the story and characters. Eventually, it came together and her students are putting it in motion.

There are more than 100 dance students performing in the show. Each of The Dance Center classes will participate in the production in some fashion. Sarah McVane, 11, will play the role of young Snow White and dance as a fairy with her class. McVane said she has been dancing since she was 3 years old and very much enjoys her solo piece as Snow White.

As the story progresses, young Snow White grows older and Sarah's sister, Jessica McVane, will play the role of the older Snow White.

Ashley Akacich will play the role of the Queen. Akacich is currently an instructor at The Dance Center, teaching Ballet 4, and was formerly part of Mid-Columbia Ballet and California Ballet.

"It's a little bit different than the normal 'Snow White,'" Akacich said. Her character is different from her normal parts as well. Akacich is not used to playing an evil character, but she is having fun with the opportunity and the challenge.

"It's going to be another great production," Akacich said. One twist in the story brings a new character into the picture: a Jinn, or genie of some sort. This role will be played by Summer Wardlaw. Other cast members include Natalie Hargreaves as the mother of Snow White, Craig Allen as the King, Allison Garza as the Angel of Death, Emma Eskil as the Head of the Dwarves and Annika Swant, Mimi Filan, Lisi Dobson, Jordan Duehn, Junia Paulus and Jason Ilaoa as the other dwarves.

Many of the cast members will be wearing handmade costumes created specifically for this show. One piece close to Hutson-Fish's heart is the mask that Akacich will wear to portray the Queen. A few years ago during a dance tour in Europe, Hutson-Fish purchased a unique mask in Venice, Italy. The mask complements the Queen's vain nature and has inspired some other costume pieces.

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