It was a circle of life in many ways that afternoon.
The sanctuary was packed with families on a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon, and, I looked around and saw eager, younger children, many of whom were patiently waiting in their seats, on their parents' laps, or sitting in the aisles. I was impressed with their manners...and all dressed up!
Then, lights up to reveal a almost bare stage which reflected by design the cold wintry scene of an old European town.
The lonely little match girl is standing alone, shivering, sad looking, in the street with a few match sticks in her hands.
The ballet ensemble of the Youth Ballet Company from the Charleston Dance Institute show great acumen and talent, under the direction of choreographer, Jonathan Tabbert.
They were excellent, on pointe, and dressed in some of the most beautiful and cleverly designed costumes I had ever seen in a children's dance performance.
We saw snowflakes, fire, wind, frost, the fire wind in human form...like fairies flying through the air. The lighting made them sparkle.
As I sat, I looked up, there was another spectacle of sunlight streaming through the church's stained glass windows. It hit the inside of the church, on and around the seated audience.
It warmed my shoulders like a nudge.
Poetry in motion as the reader told the story in a dramatic, but lyrical way...all in sync with the perfect blend and timing of the musical ensemble.
Little match girl in solo tells her story in mime. All the winter weather elements came alive, crossing the stage, including frost and snowflakes. The sun strolled past match girl, back and forth. Fire pursues her, beckoning her to light the last few matches she has left to sell. She hesitates and refuses.
Wind blows in suddenly in quick steps and leaps across the stage. I am surprised with his nude skin tight leotard and tights. A few parents looked as surprised as was, but it didn't break the beauty of his dancing. Masterful and lithe, he properly expressed the essence of his role.
The little match girl is not seduced by all the allure of fire. She hesitates, and, contemplates the results if she gives in too soon, especially if the matches go dark. She fights the temptation to take a chance.
It was a sight to be scene! Without missing a beat, this well trained group of young dancers created magic on stage. I was very impressed with their dancing skills and talent. The costumes were uniquely crafted.
Their spins, twirls, leaps, and, on pointe in perfect form spoke volumes about their dedication and aspirations. It showed serious, hard work, and discipline.
Sweet, gentle and angelic, the young dancers were light on their toes. I could visualize running across a meadow, in spite of the winter scene.
The Chamber Music Charleston, complete with string and wind instruments were in sync with the dancers on every note. From mellow to lively at an even, easy pace, the music punctuated the dancing and the story line.
It was a triumph of young talent, aspiring dancers, and the living score of music all rolled into one. I went home, fully charged, inspired, and satiated by the experience.
I privately thought to myself, one can never get enough of the "heart and soul" of classic stories, the dance in all of its forms, and, the richness of the music behind every step.