‘Beauty and the Beast’: Tupelo Ballet staging classic fairy tale

An ancient tale will play across the Tupelo Civic Auditorium stage on Saturday.
Tupelo Ballet will present “Beauty and the Beast,” the classic story of a cursed man who’s freed by an act of selfless love.
“This isn’t the Walt Disney version,” said Sharon Long, the ballet’s artistic director. “It’s the real story.”
Jennifer Beasley with the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet in Jackson created the ballet based on the folk tale.
“It’s Jennifer’s original ballet,” Long said. “I have tweaked it somewhat for our company.”
Set in France, the ballet’s heroine is Belle, which is French for “beautiful.” Beast was a handsome prince who spurned the affections of an evil fairy, so he was cursed along with his servants and members of his court.
“Members of court are turned into animals, so the dancers are wearing masks,” Long said. “The servants are turned into candlesticks and clocks.”
Hannah Hudson and Anthony Neumann have plenty of dancing to do as Belle and the Beast.
“It’s not the most difficult ballet, but the music is complicated,” Neumann said, “and there’s a lot of partnering.”
Rehearsals began in January, and now the company members are putting in the last push to prepare for the Tupelo premiere of the ballet.
A school performance is scheduled for Friday, followed by a public performance at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We really want people to bring their children to enjoy the ballet,” Long said. “It’s not scary. It’s not scary at all. Well, it’s fun scary, not frightening scary.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal