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Ballet Review: “The Ugly Duckling”

“The Ugly Duckling,” written by Hans Christian Andersen and published in 1843, has resurfaced as a ballet performed by the Austin Ballet apprentice company Ballet Austin II, which comprises dancers of varying ages, most of whom have been dancing for more than 17 years. The Graham Memorial Auditorium was filled with residents who appeared to enjoy the 50-minute performance on Oct. 23.

The award-winning choreographer Jimmy Orrante created whimsical movements that simplistically expressed the original story while appealing to the imaginative minds of younger children between the ages of three and 10.

The dancers engaged the audience with colorful characters from beginning to end. The Mother Duck and Grandmother Duck are the first ones who display disappointment in the less-than-perfect duck that hatched. As the ugly duckling navigated through life to find her place, she encountered many forms of disapproval by children, villagers, wild geese and hunters who appeared to be a hit with the younger audience.

Anabel Alpert portrays the role of the ugly duckling in a riveting performance that summited near the end, after she became confident as she transformed into a beautiful swan that was admired by everyone who had discouraged her previously.

The moral of the story was not diminished by the absence of words; it came lucid through movements that expressed the author’s tone freshly and excitingly.

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