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Music in motion: Carolina Ballet’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ a swanky success

By Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent 

   An evening of symphonic interpretation and voyage, the translation of iconic music into motion — Carolina Ballet’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” performed Thursday night at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, 2 E South Street, Raleigh, is the epitome of variety and class.
Consisting of four ballets, the performance showcased all facets of the company, from the classical to the swanky. The evening began with “Serenata,” a light and cheerful piece set to the music of Antonin Dvorák. Nine couples took the stage with fluid, effortless grace, executing daring lifts and delicate steps that appeared to defy gravity with ease. Choreographed by artistic director Robert Weiss, “Serenata” accents both the emphatic and syncopated melodies in the music, a combination of lyrical explosion and freedom.
In contrast to the carefree air set by “Serenata,” the following dance, “Courtly Manners,” has a more structured feel but retains all of its exuberance. Like its title, the piece is regal, reminiscent of traditional court dances. Solely composed of corps de ballet members, the dance featured incredible formations, seeming exact and orderly one moment and shifting into something completely new in the blink of an eye. Transitioning smoothly from a grand, formal entrance to a slower second movement to a final burst of majestic motion, Courtly Manners is the portrait of royal poise and flamboyance.
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Western Alamance High School presents ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’

Commentary by Jake Frizzelle
Special to the Times-News

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Alden Ilgenfritz stars as Millie in the Western Alamance Theatre Department's production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie." [Jake Frizzelle / Special to the Times-News

   After an almost two-year break, the Western Alamance Theatre Department is back producing quality musical  productions. The show in this year’s repertoire is “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
This exciting production takes place in 1920s New York; a city overflowing with jazz, speckled with shining lights, and  home to one potential suitor. We first meet the dazzling lead, Millie Dillmount (Alden Ilgenfritz) when she arrives in New  York, with a dream of hitting it big. There are two problems — she’s broke, and doesn’t know a soul.
After a small debacle with the natives and a purse thief, she meets Jimmy Smith (Quentin Bennett), a jack of all trades  and the best guide on the circle line. When asked about her strategy for success, Millie’s response is that she will marry  her future boss — “love has nothing to do with it … modern marriage is a business arrangement.”
Could there be a flaw in Millie’s plan to conquer the city that never sleeps? Find out and join the cast of “Thoroughly  Modern Millie” through their quest to live like the other half, and to find the true meaning of love.
Don’t miss your opportunity to see this uplifting and comedic show, great for the entire family.
Show times are 7 p.m. April 27-29, 2017, in the Pamela B. Mebane Auditorium at Western Alamance High School, 1731  Hwy. 87 North, Elon. Tickets are $7.

Jake Frizzelle is a senior at Western Alamance High School.


Relevant now more than ever: Graham Middle School, Graham High School and North Graham Elementary School to present “Hairspray Jr.”

Commentary by Baley Sutton
Special to the Times-News 

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Logan Yokeley plays Penny Pingleton in "Hairspray Jr." [Baley Sutton / Special to the Times-News

   The Graham High School Theatre Department, in conjunction with Graham Middle School and North Graham  Elementary School, will be presenting “Hairspray Jr.” Thursday through Sunday in the high school auditorium.
   The musical, set in 1962 Baltimore, follows a teenage girl named Tracy Turnblad (played by both Crysta Heady and  Madison Jordan) as she dreams of becoming a dancer on a local TV show. During the 1960s, the civil rights movement  was at its peak and segregation was an important issue. Tracy, who just wants to fit in, gets her dream role on the show  and decides to lead a campaign to integrate the show which becomes a bigger issue than she thought it was.
“This musical proves how even though we look and act different , we shouldn’t be treated that way. There should be  acceptance for all people,” Crysta Heady said.
   The cast of nearly 70 believes that performing this show will really have an impact on the community and even though it  is set more than 50 years ago, it is more relevant now than ever.
   “Hairspray” Jr. might be a more condensed version of the original show but it still holds the same values that made the  show a smash hit on Broadway. It truly captures the time period of the ’60s as well as issues that are still among us today.
   “It’s a symbol for how powerful music can be when bringing two very different groups of people together to reach read more…

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