EL CENTROÂ – The Jimmie Cannon Theatre filled up as the final guests took their seats, and the lights dimmed down to darkness, as a blanket of silence gently came over the room and a single spotlight revealed â€œthe beastâ€ and the beginning of this epic, love story.
Dancing feet presented the epic tale of “Beauty and the Beast” in a three-night performance showcasing, ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance.
Performers ranged in age and skill, from the very young beginning at fourÂ years oldÂ and the more seasoned performer in their 50â€™s as well as ranging in skill from novices, to the more advanced and professional dancers.
Each night presented an entirely different cast, with a production of 125 different performers per night. Some performers, performed only one night while others performed a different part each night, with a total of 290 performers for the entire production.
Behind the scenes, there is a network of 40 volunteers and family that make the production possible as well as several high school students and theater manager Brad Thorpe from Central UnionÂ High School that assisted with the lights.
Credit for the magnificent backdrop and scenery goes to Debi Swain, who handcrafted most of the scenery by hand with the help of her husband.
A true labor of love, Dancing Feet owner and performance director Gretchen Simms spends year after year producing an event that has showcased her studioâ€™s talent, for the past three decades.
Gretchen does not fundraise, or charge the members of her studio an extra fee to participate in this yearly production, only asking that members pay for their own costumes.
The morning after “Beauty and the Beast” lowered their curtain for their last performance, Gretchen explained that she creates and writes the script herself and was already thinking about next years performance.
With only 12 months left to plan she explained she hopes to take 2 weeks off before getting back to work.