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Something Old, Something New

Fairfax Ballet performs 'Beauty & The Beast' and 'Paquita.'

The Fairfax Ballet’s Spring Ballet Performances will feature something old and something new — the premiere of an original story ballet, “Beauty & the Beast,” based on the Disney movie and excerpts from the well-known classic “Paquita,” the story of a young Spanish girl who is separated from her family.

The performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, at Oakton High School Theatre, 2900 Sutton Road in Vienna. Tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for children, students and senior citizens.

The Fairfax Ballet is the resident company of The Russell School of Ballet in Chantilly. The Spring Ballet Performance involves students at every level of study and requires students to participate in weeks of rehearsals.

“Taking care of the 10 million details involved in mounting our spring show is a labor of love for everyone involved,” said Artistic Director Ilona Russell. “All of the students, parents, volunteers and staff of the school work so hard to make this happen.”

“BEAUTY & THE BEAST” choreographer Mary Marshall and the schools’ artistic directors Thomas and Ilona Russell began working in January to create a new ballet specifically for the capabilities of the school’s students. Ilona Russell said they decided to do “Beauty” because “the dancers love a new story ballet and this story is a favorite for performers of all ages — from 6 thru 60-year-old adult dancers.” The classical ballet, “Paquita,” was choreographed by Margaret Virkus after the manner of French dancer and choreographer Marius Petipa, the creator of the work.

The two ballets will feature graduating seniors in the main roles. “This is our graduating students’ time to shine. By putting them in the major roles, we are giving them an opportunity to showcase what they have learned and we are acknowledging all of their hard work over the years they have studied here,” said Russell.

Two other works, “Swan Song,” a contemporary piece choreographed by Katie Hoponick and “Itsuka Mata,” (Japanese for Till We Meet Again) choreographed by Andrea Jones, also will be presented. Jones began her dance studies at Russell when she was only 10 years old. She now teaches at the school and choreographed a piece for the school’s in-house holiday performance in December. In addition, she is in the process of preparing another work for the company’s jazz, tap and modern dance revue to be held June 17, at Herndon High School.

The Russell School of Ballet is under the direction of Ilona and Thomas Russell, former soloists with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet of New York and the National Ballet of Washington, D.C. The school offers a full program of instruction in classical ballet, pointe and variations, jazz, tap, modern, lyrical, stretch, character and hip-hop for children, teens and adults, pre-school through professional levels. Registration is ongoing throughout the year. Dancers trained at the Russell School of Ballet have gone on to dance professionally in the New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet and many other professional companies as well as receiving scholarships from major college dance departments.

Tickets are on sale now. Purchase tickets at the school office, located at 14119-O Sullyfield Circle, Chantilly, between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Or purchase tickets at the door on the day of the performance. Call 703-378-4999, or visit: www.fairfaxballet.com.