Huntsville Ballet presents The Firebird, dedicated to people of Ukraine

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Huntsville Ballet will present The Firebird April 8-10 at the Von Braun Center, with the performances dedicated to the people of Ukraine and dancers at the Kyiv City Ballet. (Huntsville Ballet)

With all of the turmoil happening in Ukraine currently, the Huntsville Ballet found it fitting to dedicate its next production, a ballet based on Russian folklore, to the people of Ukraine and fellow dancers in the Kyiv City Ballet. The Firebird premiers at the Von Braun Center April 8 and runs through April 10, and the Huntsville Ballet will accept monetary donations at each production, which will be given directly to the Kyiv City Ballet fundraiser.

A tale from Russian folklore comes to life through dance

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The Firebird tells a story from Russian folklore, showcasing the virtues of forgiveness and empathy. (Huntsville Ballet)

The Firebird tells the story of a Russian prince who enters an enchanted forest to hunt. He comes upon the firebird and is so mesmerized by her beauty, he spares her life. In return, the firebird gives him one of her magical feathers. Prince Ivan uses the feather to break the spell that has kept the thirteen princesses imprisoned in the forest by the evil sorcerer, Kostcheï. 

“Huntsville Ballet dedicates this production to the Ukrainian people whose heroism and love of country and fellow countrymen have been on display for the world. Our hearts go out to our fellow dancers at Kyiv City Ballet, many of whom were on tour in Paris and are now unable to travel home to their families. Others remain trapped in Ukraine, and some have taken up arms to defend their country. We plan to accept monetary donations at each production. Funds will be donated directly to the Kyiv City Ballet fundraiser dedicated to their safe shelter and eventual return home.”

Phillip Otto, Artistic Director for Huntsville Ballet

Although it premiered in Paris in 1910, George Balanchine’s 1949 recreation of The Firebird brought a young New York City Ballet to international attention and set the course for ballet in America, Otto said. Balanchine’s production in 1949 in collaboration with lifelong friend and composer Igor Stravinsky placed The Firebird firmly at the foundation of American ballet repertoire. It featured scenery, sets and costumes by artist Marc Chagall and America’s first prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief, as the firebird.

Otto, who himself worked and trained with Balanchine, said Balanchine “heavily influenced” his own creative work.

About the Huntsville Ballet’s production of The Firebird

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Huntsville Ballet’s production gives center stage to principal company dancer, Abby Callahan, as the firebird. (Huntsville Ballet)

Huntsville Ballet’s production of The Firebird gives center stage to principal company dancer Abby Callahan as the firebird.

“Abby was born to dance this role,” Otto said of her performance. 

Along with Callahan, the production will feature the Company’s entire roster of professional dancers, complemented by a cast comprised of more than 40 pre-professionals and students from Huntsville Ballet School.

Showtimes and Ticket Information

To purchase tickets visit the Huntsville Ballet’s website or call 256-970-0917.

Showtimes are as follows:

  • Friday, April 8, 7:30PM 
  • Saturday, April 9, 2PM and 7:30PM
  • Sunday, April 10, 1PM

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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