Today is the day the kids get to shine..
What is it? KIDS DO CATS In 1939, T.S. Eliot published a book of poetry for children called Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. This collection (which eventually inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winning musical) serves as the basis for this Charleston Ballet Theatre production. Kids Do Cats will be performed by elementary-aged ballerinas (and ballerinos) outfitted in “unbelievable costumes and make-up,” dancing to music from Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats, Ted Nugent, and The Stray Cats.
Why see it? Professionally-designed costumes, foot-tapping tunes, and adorable, aspiring dancers.
Who should go? If your kid’s in the show, you should definitely go. If not, the production still provides a great opportunity to check out the always-professional CBT.
PICCOLO SPOLETO • $15-$20 • 1 hour • May 31 at 1 and 3 p.m. • Charleston Ballet Theatre, 477 King St. • (888) 374-2656
The Post and Courier article appears below.
Feline fun for the small fry
‘Kids Do Cats’ purr-fect for children
By Brenda Rindge The Post and Courier
Saturday, May 31, 2008
If you want to do a Piccolo Spoleto activity with the kids, why not take them to see children perform? Twenty-two children ages 9 to 15 perform in the Charleston Ballet Theatre’s ‘Kids Do Cats’ show at the CBT King Street Theatre. “Kids Do Cats,” a performance with 22 children from Charleston Ballet Theatre, will be performed at the dance school’s theater on Saturday. The company includes local children ranging from ages 9 to 15 performing an assortment of cat-inspired songs to choreography by CBT principal dancer and ballet master Stephen Gabriel. It incorporates songs such as “The Invitation to the Jellicle Ball” from “Cats,” “Siamese Cat Song” from “Lady and the Tramp,” “Everybody wants to be a Cat” from “The Artistocats,” the Stray Cats’ “Stray Cat Strut” and more. Gabriel has been working with five of the dancers for four years through the Broadway Dance Project, the brainchild of Charleston Ballet Executive Artistic Director Patricia Cantwell. The program’s goal is to train young students who hope to become professional dancers.
“My little group of five are pretty amazing at this point,” Gabriel says, giving extra kudos to “very, very strong dancer” Christina Slaton. That group was part of the Broadway Dance Project’s first performance, which was also “Kids Do Cats.””We put it on with this group when they were younger,” Gabriel says. “Now they are the seniors, and there is a whole new batch of younger kids.”In addition to the five senior members, the remaining cast members are 9 to 12 years old, Gabriel says. One of the highlights of the show, he says, is Madison Harden’s solo number with the senior girls to “(I’m a) Mean Ole Lion” from “The Wiz.””She is unbelievable,” he says. “She is probably 3 feet tall, and I taught her this little solo number with the bigger kids. The girl is so amazingly talented.”
This year’s performance includes new costumes and elaborate cat makeup that takes about two hours to put on. The troupe started practicing for the performance in September shortly after auditions and has been meeting at the CBT’s Mount Pleasant studio on average five hours a week. “The younger ones aren’t as experienced, so it took a lot of time,” Gabriel says.