The one-night-only show features veteran ballerina Regina Willoughby in the title role as Belle. It’s a role, she says, at the forefront in this art of storytelling.
“And the aesthetic of ballet is a vehicle for the art form,” she says. “This is a beloved story and character and we are bringing the emotion of Belle to life on stage.”
It’s been more than a decade since the company performed “Beauty and the Beast” and they intend to make it new again. For one, executive director William Starrett has been working on the music and choreography for well over a year. And it hasn’t been without challenges.
“It takes time, and when challenges present themselves, it’s often what spurs creatively,” said Starrett. “I’ve been doing this for 30 seasons, I’m better at knowing what’s achievable and how we can magically transform moments.”
And that’s essentially what the show is all about. It wishes to captivate audiences, young and old, with a fairy tale mixing love, despair and drama. It wants to create magic. The dancers of South Carolina Ballet couple beautiful lines and riveting stage presence to tell a tale where love conquers all.
To accompany the colorful movements of the performers, costume designer Alexis Doktor has crafted a one-of-a-kind Belle dress for Willoughby to debut. The production will also feature enchanting medieval sets, including the infamous castle.
“Beauty and the Beast” is a classic that’s been told on many platforms. From a Disney cartoon, and soon to the big screen, the story may seem to leave little open to interpretation. But watching it performed by the Columbia City Ballet gives it new life. And perhaps, a new appreciation.
“My goal has always been to allow the audience to discover the art of ballet and love it as much as I do,” he said. “To see how amazing the ballet is.”
IF YOU GO
What: “Beauty and the Beast” by Columbia City Ballet
When: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18
Where: Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave.