East Portland dancers prepare for downtown show

See the Metro Dancers, from Gateway’s Portland Metro Performing Arts Center, audition for “Alice in Wonderland” …

To land a part in PMPA’s “Alice in Wonderland” production, these future ballerinas must demonstrate they can quickly learn the dance steps they’ll need if they are chosen.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Portland Metro Performing Arts (PMPA) hall was filled both aspiring and studied ballerinas, when we visited a couple weeks ago.

These dancers, each wearing a number, were focused on the instructions given by the center’s Director, Nancy Yeamans, who was giving dance step instructions and playing snippets of music.

At a front table, three dance instructors watched how well the dancers, ranging in age from preschool to adult, could learn the combination of steps, and perform them in time with the music. After each section, these judges wrote down the numbers of dancers who could perform the steps well.

“We’re auditioning performers for the Metro Dancers’ presentation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ show in April,” Yeamans told us.

Yeamans reminded us that the Metro Dancers is a regional dance company comprised of local pre-professional and professional dancers, now celebrating its 30th Anniversary Season. “Our performances of ‘Coppelia’, ‘La Fille Mal Gardee’, and ‘Les Ruses d’Amour’ have played to sold-out audiences,” she added.

Nancy Yeamans demonstrates a series of steps the dancers are expected to perform in time with the music she’ll play.

Working toward April 5 performance
This ballet version of “Alice in Wonderland” is appropriate for all ages, Yeamans told us. It features all of the classic story’s characters – in full costume – including the busy White Rabbit, the mysterious Cheshire Cat, and the domineering Queen of Hearts, as they romp through dance re-creation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”.

It isn’t too early to consider buying tickets. There will be two performances at 2 pm and 7 pm on April 5 at Portland Center for the Performing Arts Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway.

Tickets are $20 for high school and adults, $14 for children. Reserve your seats by calling (503) 408-0604, emailing them at info@PDXMetroArts.org or pick them up at the PMPA box office at 9933 SE Pine Street.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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