The Bluegrass Youth Ballet (BYB) will present Rapunzel on May 1 at 7 p.m. and May 2 at 2 p.m. at the Lexington Opera House. The Bluegrass Youth Ballet production, which premiered in 2011, is based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, and is an original work of Adalhi Aranda, BYB’s Director and Founder. The family-friendly ballet will take audience members to new heights with its magic, vibrancy, and brilliant choreography!
Rapunzel is a fairy tale, by definition, containing typical fairy tale themes such as enchantment, good versus evil, and the commonly sought after “happily ever after” ending. However, the story may best be summarized with one word—determination! Several characters in the Grimm Brothers’ tale illustrate the power of determination in the pursuit of their individual desires.
The tale’s first instance of determination is found in Dame Gothel, who is determined to seek revenge on a lonely couple. She discovers the husband stealing rampion plants, or rapunzel, from her treasured garden, at his pregnant wife’s command. Dame Gothel kidnaps the couple’s newborn daughter and names her Rapunzel, after the plants stolen by her parents. She locks Rapunzel in a tower in the middle of a forest and raises her as her own. The confined Rapunzel knows nothing of the outside world, and can only dream about what lies beyond the tower walls. She is determined to escape from her tower, and to be freed from Mother Gothel’s control. The Prince, who falls in love with Rapunzel, is determined to free Rapunzel, so he can marry her and live happily ever after.
The string of determination running through this story, is very relevant to BYB dancer, Kaylee Miller, 14, who will dance the role of Rapunzel. Kaylee Miller, currently an eighth grade student at Powell County Middle School, came to Bluegrass Youth Ballet in the summer of 2011. Kaylee had spent the previous six years dancing at a school which offered many different genres of dance, and Kaylee had tried all of them. Kaylee’s mother, Phoebe Everman, describes Kaylee’s desire to focus on ballet.
“She had a passion for ballet and asked me to find her a school that studied only ballet. I found BYB and contacted Adalhi around the same time as the 2011 Rapunzel was about to premiere. She invited Kaylee and I to come watch the show and also invited her to join in a class at BYB. Kaylee did both, loved both, and there was no turning back for her. She had truly found a place that complimented her passion.”
Since that time, Kaylee’s ‘towering’ determination to achieve a career as a professional ballet dancer has been going strong! Kaylee’s parents drive her nearly an hour each way from Powell County to Lexington six days a week to train. This summer, Kaylee will attend American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program in New York City for five weeks. She recently participated in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Semi-Finals in Indianapolis. Kaylee summarizes her BYB experience as follows.
“BYB gives me the one on one attention that I wouldn’t get anywhere else, and that attention is so much more than dance technique. BYB has taught me how to move forward with a career in ballet. BYB has helped me to audition and attend summer programs, master classes, and prestigious ballet competitions that I never would have had the opportunity to do.
BYB has taught me self-motivation, self-discipline, and has given me the drive to match my passion for ballet, as well as to dance important roles such as Rapunzel. I love BYB and wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. I’m very excited about the future.”
Kaylee Miller will share the lead role with Bryan Station High School eleventh grade student, Grace Byars, 16. The cast is made up of 150 BYB dancers, ranging in age from 5 to 17, as well as guest professional dancer, Eddie Forehand, of The Louisville Ballet, who will dance the role of the Prince. Bluegrass Youth Ballet is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Lexington, dedicated to enhancing lives by providing dance education in a positive environment for all youth through high quality training, innovative performances, and cultural experiences.
Just as the characters in Rapunzel are filled with determination in pursuit of a goal, so are Bluegrass Youth Ballet dancers like Kaylee Miller. Determination summarizes both the story of Rapunzel and the dancers who will bring its characters to life on stage.
Rapunzel will be performed for public, private, and homeschooled students on April 30 and May 1 at 9:30 a.m. in addition to the two public perform