Two dancers in Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast Ballet

The South Carolina Ballet returns to the Wildstein Center at South Florida State College on Saturday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m., for the Florida premiere of its newly staged ballet, “Beauty and the Beast.”

“‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a love story that’s perfect for all ages,” said Cindy Garren, director of SFSC’s Cultural Programs. “Adults and children will be captivated by this fairy tale, but it’s important to note that this is not the Disney version with dancing tea pots and candlesticks.”

The production features choreography from South Carolina Ballet executive director William Starrett, with music composed by Leon Fyodorovich, and costumes by Alexis Doktor.

Last November, Starrett held auditions at the SFSC Wildstein Center for local children, with 60 dancers cast to serve as villagers, bride’s attendants, flower girls, wedding guests, and more. Nancy McDuffee, a Sebring resident and teacher at Dance Unlimited, served as the local ballet mistress, who rehearsed the young dancers every week.

“The production is a classic story mixed with despair, love and patience,” Starrett said of his company’s production of the traditional fairy tale. “It’s a magical and enchanting story for the whole family where love conquers all!”

The production features enchanting medieval sets including the mysterious castle nestled in old France. A one-of-a-kind Belle gown has been designed to debut in this production. The Beast’s character is artistically elegant with a touch of menace.  

Before joining the South Carolina Ballet, Starrett was a principal dancer for the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theater under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov. He has made guest appearances with more than 40 of the world’s most renowned ballet companies, Garren added.

Tickets for the performance range from $29 to $39. Children and students receive a 50 percent discount. Groups of 12 or more save 25 percent and receive one free ticket for the group coordinator. Tickets can be purchased online at www.sfscarts.org or by vising the Wildstein Center Box Office on the SFSC Highlands Campus, 600 W. College Dr., Avon Park.

The Wildstein Center box Office is open Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To phone the Wildstein Center Box Office, call 863-784-7178.

Florida Hospital is the presenting sponsor of the production. Additional sponsors are: Dr. Andrew and Beth Kulick; Terry and Dr. Michele Heston; Carol Emery; Dr. Witford and Inga Reid; Dr. Catherine Cornelius; Joan Hartt; All Around Septic and Sewer Inc,; Dr. Donald, Ruth and Kimberly Geldart.

SFSC presents more than 30 national and international touring artists at the 1460-seat Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts and the 250-seat University Center Auditorium on the Highlands Campus. Upcoming performances include: contemporary Christian best-selling artists, Point of Grace, March 9; Bravo Amici, March 21; magician Adam Trent, April 11; and bluegrass group The Hillbenders, April 6.