About 1,600 of them -- students from 18 elementary schools -- arrived at
Annually, the nonprofit ballet company presents two performances for the community -- "The Nutcracker" in the fall/winter and "Afternoon With the Arts" in the spring. The latter is a free performance for schoolchildren that this year was funded by the
What was different about the production this year is that the ballet company collaborated with another youth arts performance group, the
"We thought since the performance was for children, we would ask the youth symphony," said
Students watched, enraptured, as the story of Peter (
Granddad scolds Peter for being outside in the meadow alone. And he's right, of course, because soon afterward, a big, gray wolf does come out of the forest and gobbles up the duck.
Everything works out in the end, though, as Peter catches the wolf, and it seems the duck is OK, since the narrator conveys, "If you listen very carefully, you'd hear the duck quacking inside the wolf's belly, because the wolf, in his hurry, had swallowed her alive."
After the performance,
"In Yellowstone now, we have 85 wolves, and they live in 11 different packs ... We have some packs as big as 20 wolves," said Quimby, who tracks the park wolves, watches what they're eating (elk about 85 percent of the time) and watches their behavior.
She wanted to debunk myths surrounding wolves, as represented in fairy tales such as "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Three Little Pigs" and "Frozen," in which wolves are represented as the bad guys.
"Wolves are almost all the time very afraid of people," she said. And unlike their reputation in fairy tales, they are not constantly eating and aren't the menaces they are portrayed to be.
"Most of the time, wolves live in big family groups ... and they are usually very caring of each other ... the whole pack takes care of the pups."
Liberatore, gave students a quiz after the performance.
"You're going to learn a little bit today," he told the students. " ... How many of you remember what instrument the bird danced to?"
"The flute!" students rang out.
"It was hard, but it was worth it," she said of all the work that went into the production.
She added of the performance, "We hope to draw them (the students) in so they experience everything we experience."
She wanted the students to be as immersed in the tale as the dancers were.
She said it was a great educational opportunity for the students.
"It's something different for them -- they don't get to see a lot of ballet," she said.
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