Madison dancers participating in the upcoming production include:  back row, Mae Correro, Ainsley Gibson, Parris Flakes, Kristen Miller, Hannah Rae Britt, Madeline Page; middle row, Victoria Jackson, Taylor Binkley, Abigail McCaughan, Josie Nasekos, Laura Hart; front row, Brelyn Binkley, Erin Lochmann, Evelyn Thornton, Catherine McNeese; Single dancer in front-Mary Kate Shearer.
Madison dancers participating in the upcoming production include: back row, Mae Correro, Ainsley Gibson, Parris Flakes, Kristen Miller, Hannah Rae Britt, Madeline Page; middle row, Victoria Jackson, Taylor Binkley, Abigail McCaughan, Josie Nasekos, Laura Hart; front row, Brelyn Binkley, Erin Lochmann, Evelyn Thornton, Catherine McNeese; Single dancer in front-Mary Kate Shearer.
The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet will present the classic fairytale ballet “Cinderella” at Jackson Academy's Performing Arts Center next week with performances March 25-26. The ballet will feature all original choreography, dazzling sets and costumes, and more than 80 dancers from the metro area. A special opportunity to meet the cast will be offered at Cinderella’s Tea Party following the March 26 performance.

The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet (MMB) is a non-profit regional ballet company that has made its home in Madison since 1992. The company has previously performed “Cinderella” to rave reviews and record audiences, the last production having taken place in 2012.

Other ballets recently presented by the company include “Frozen Heart: The Tale of the Snow Queen”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and the annual production of the “The Nutcracker.”

Set to an exquisite score, the production of “Cinderella” will bring all of the elements of the beloved fairy tale to life: Cinderella’s transformation from rags riches by her Fairy Godmother, the ball where she meets Prince Charming, her dramatic departure at the stroke of midnight, and the Prince’s search for the owner of the glass slipper. The hilarious antics of the Ugly Stepsisters provides delightful doses of humor, and the love story of Cinderella and her Prince fulfills every romantic fantasy.

“This production has all the necessary stage magic to mesmerize children, and a handsome enough quota of sly wit and inventive choreography to satisfy devoted ballet fans,” said Artistic Director Jennifer Beasley.

Professional dancers Julie Niekrasz and Sergio Olarte of Ballet Memphis will dance the lead roles of Cinderella and Prince Charming. Niekrasz has danced principal roles as a member of Ballet Memphis for several seasons, including the role of Cinderella in their 2016 production. Olarte is returning to Jackson after dancing as a guest artist with MMB in last year’s production of “Frozen Heart: The Tale of the Snow Queen” and in 2015’s performances of “The Nutcracker.” Two additional male guest artists from Ballet Memphis, Oscar Fernandez and Alberto Gaspar, will join the cast of “Cinderella” in the Act 2 Ballroom scene.

Featured MMB dancers in the production include Victoria Jackson, of Madison, in the role of the Fairy Godmother; Josie Nasekos, of Clinton; Lauren Mackey, of Brandon; Laura Hart, of Pearl; and Taylor Binkley of Brandon as the Fairies representing Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Erik Kegler and Dolan Shoemaker will reprise their roles of the Ugly Stepsisters.  Kegler is a former professional ballet dancer, a faculty member of the Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy, and is well-known to local audiences as the hilarious Mother Ginger in MMB’s production of “The Nutcracker.” MMB Executive Director Crystal Skelton will round out the cast in the role of the Wicked Stepmother.

Performances will be held at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. March 25 and 2 p.m. on March 26.

Cinderella’s Tea Party will follow the 2 p.m. performance on March 26. The party will include delectable treats, reserved seating at tables for 10, and will offer the chance to meet the dancers and have photos made with the characters from “Cinderella.” Tickets for the Tea Party are $25 each, must be purchased in advance, and are sold separately from performance tickets. Performance tickets are available for $20 or $25, and can be purchased online at www.msmetroballet.com or by calling 601-853-4508.  

Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is generously sponsored in the 2016-2017 season by The Mississippi Arts Commission, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, Ergon, Lefleur Limousine, BankPlus, Harper, Rains, Knight & Co, Sugar Magnolia Takery, and BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi.