Courtesy Brandy Jensen
IDAHO FALLS — The dancers of Idaho Ballet Theater are taking to the Colonial Theater stage in Idaho Falls this weekend to perform “Little Red Riding Hood.” (Click here for tickets.)
This family-friendly show is an original ballet that puts a non-traditional spin on the familiar Little Red Riding Hood story, focusing more on Red’s journey through the forest and her interactions with the woodland creatures. This relationship between humans and nature is something that the ballet’s writer/director Brandy Jensen has been interested in since her youth.
“I grew up doing a lot of backpacking, and I feel very comfortable in the woods,” Jensen said. “The wilderness is my favorite place to be but you have to be aware that you need to leave the animals alone, especially the big animals.”
The story of “Little Red Riding Hood” is driven by a misunderstanding between Red and a pack of wolves.
“This little distracted baby wolf is always getting separated from the pack, chasing all the other animals and ends up following Little Red Riding Hood,” said Jensen. “It eventually ends up getting Little Red Riding Hood’s cape and tears it all up. Then the wolves find this torn-up red cape and realize that Little Red Riding Hood must be associated with the baby wolf.”
Jensen said that “Little Red Riding Hood” revolves around a number of ideas, including the bond the wolves have to their young and the idea that the woods aren’t a scary place to be.
“There’s always a mean witch in the woods, or there’s always a mean something in the woods, and everything in the woods is scary,” she said. “But actually, the woods are a pretty wonderful place. You just have to leave the baby animals alone.”
“The mom has confidence sending (Little Red Riding Hood) into the woods,” she added. “She’s not afraid that she won’t be ok and Little Red Riding Hood is not afraid, either. She’s fine and she’s happy and confident in that she’s going to Grandma’s house and she’s done that before.”
“Little Red Riding Hood” feature dancers ranging from ages 3 to 17. Jensen said that some scenes feature as many as 60 dancers on stage at the same time.
“The thing is that everyone is essential to the piece,” Jensen said. “It’s about the whole entire forest working together.”
Jensen said directing such big scenes is a process of teaching the individual groups of performers their choreography and adding them in layer by layer.
“For example, I have the trees and they learn their part first,” she said. “Then I add in the bunnies, then I add in the deer, then I add in the wolves after that … It’s like adding things little by little but all together, it’s like an orchestra because they’re all doing stuff at different times but it all has to work together.”
Jensen said that this ballet wouldn’t be possible without the hard work put in by the dancers.
“These ballerinas don’t get seen a lot,” she said. “But they work hard in the studio. They get to perform twice a year and they pour their hearts out working really hard in the studio. We have some really talented dancers and I wish I could show them off all the time.”
You can catch Idaho Ballet Theater’s production of “Little Red Riding Hood” this Friday and Saturday, May 5 and May 6, at 7 p.m. at the Colonial Theater in Idaho Falls. Click here for tickets.
Courtesy Idaho Ballet Theater Facebook
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