Civic Ballet to present ‘La Bayadère’ in Tupelo on Saturday

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

A story of love and loss is coming to the stage at the Civic Auditorium. The Tupelo Civic Ballet is presenting the “Kingdom of the Shades” scene from the ballet “La Bayadère” with guest artists Risa Nakagawa of Tottori City Ballet in Japan and Mikhail Ilyin of American Ballet Theatre.
“It’s one of the great pieces that stands in line with ‘Swan Lake,’ Giselle,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty,’” said Civic Ballet’s artistic director Jan Dijkwel. “It’s a great classical masterwork.”
In the ballet, Nikiya, a dancer, and Solor, a warrior, have sworn their eternal love to each other, but villains vow to tear the lovers apart.
“(Solor) sees her in his dreams, and he spends the night dancing with her for the last time,” said Caitlin Milne, a 17-year-old dancer in the Civic Ballet.
That dream scene is “The Kingdom of the Shades,” and that’s what the Civic Ballet is presenting. The first half of the performance is another set of choreography, partly featuring new choreography by Dijkwel, and the second half is the “Kingdom of the Shades” scene.
“It’s different than anything I’ve ever done before,” said Anna Avery Edwards, 15, one of the dancers of the Civic Ballet. “It’s melancholy. It’s a very difficult ballet, but it’s beautiful and it’s very rewarding. I love it.”
Nakagawa stars as the dancer and Ilyin stars as the warrior.
“Risa is a fine combination of feminine qualities and masculine strength,” Dijkwel said. “And Mikhail is a very, very good, accomplished dancer.”
The moving ballet is meaningful for both the audience and the dancers, Milne said.
“It’s emotional, and you really get into it,” she said. “You feel like you’re a part of it.”

On State
WHAT: Tupelo Civic Ballet presents “La Bayadère”
WHEN: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Tupelo Civic Auditorium

COST: $25/premium seats, $10/regular seats

INFO: (662) 871-2315,

Click video to hear audio