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Youthful dancers and musicians perform Snow White ballet

Chip Ellis
Kathleen Sweat, as Snow White, takes a fateful bite of the poisoned apple. Sweat dances the principal role Friday when the River City Youth Ballet Ensemble presents "Snow White" at the Civic Center Little Theater. The troupe is joined by musicians from the West Virginia Youth Symphony.
WANT TO GO?"Snow White"Presented by the River City Youth Ballet Ensemble and West Virginia Youth Symphony Youth Strings EnsembleWHEN: 7 p.m. FridayWHERE: Civic Center Little TheaterTICKETS: Adults $12, children (age 4-18) $8. Cash only at the door.INFO: 304-925-3262 or CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Don't expect the Disney version when the River City Youth Ballet Ensemble presents "Snow White" on Friday at the Civic Center Little Theater. The story's the same, but the wedding dance is more than just a happy ending.The pretty scene includes a pas de deux and a wedding dance with guests that include just about all the dancers. They will dance to live music performed by the string ensemble of the West Virginia Youth Symphony. Kathleen Sweat, 17, dances the principal role of Snow White.Sweat, a Nitro High School senior, has danced significant roles in previous performances, including two times as the titular Snow Queen in River City's holiday production of the Hans Christian Anderson tale."It's traditional for a senior to be showcased," she said of the spring performance.
The spring performance is usually held later in the year. The earlier date coupled with the missed rehearsal time when the company traveled to New York City for master ballet classes and sightseeing has pushed the company to learn their dances more quickly."We've been rushing to finish," Sweat said last week. "I won't be able to put the pas de deux together until Wednesday when Forrest Fillhour, who plays the Prince, gets into town."Fillhour, 17, studies dance at the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. He has danced with River City Youth Ballet in previous productions.The hour-long, children-friendly performance also features 17-year-old Noel Frame, a junior at Capitol High School, as the wicked Queen and Chris Terpening as the man in the mirror. Artistic Director Michelle Raider added dialogue to the ballet, including the opening scene when Terpening answers the Queen's famous "Who's the fairest of them all?" query."I thought the dialogue would help move the story along and involve the audience," she said.
The all-youth cast includes seven 10- and 11- year old girls who dance the parts of the dwarves. The girls cluster around Sweat in rehearsals and seek her attention."It's fun working with them. They're all telling me their stories," she said. "I remember when I was young I wanted to get the older girls' attention."The ballet packs a lot in an hour performance, with scenes with the talking mirror, the huntsman's rescue, Snow White's time in the woods, the dance with the dwarves, the witch's visit with the poisoned apple and return to the castle, the prince's saving kiss and the wedding.The River City Youth Ballet is the official Youth Ballet for the state of West Virginia.Reach Julie Robinson at or 304-348-1230.
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