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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Dancer from Smyrna-Townsend area stars in Pirates Ballet May 12

  • The Delaware Dance Alliance will be presenting a new production, “Pirates of the Caribbean Ballet” at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover on May 12, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The lead male in the production, Justen Altschul, hails from Townsend, and is a martial arts instructor in Smyrna.


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  • The Delaware Dance Alliance will be presenting a new production, “Pirates of the Caribbean Ballet,” based on the first movie by the same name. The ballet combines classical, traditional and contemporary movements, acting, stage combat and sword fighting. The performance will be held at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover on May 12, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
    The lead male in the production, Justen Altschul, hails from Townsend, and is a martial arts instructor in Smyrna.
    The Pirates of the Caribbean Ballet follow blacksmith Will Turner, and pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, as they rescue the kidnapped Elizabeth Swann from the cursed crew of the Black Pearl, captained by Hector Barbossa, while being pursued by the Royal Navy. This ballet version of the 2003 film was a concept designed by artistic director Michele Xiques. 
    “Creating this ballet has been more of a challenge than even our Twilight Ballet was, because there is much more action, in almost every scene, but we have a wonderful creative team, great volunteers, and extremely dedicated cast members to work with,” says Xiques.
    Captain Jack Sparrow is being portrayed by Justen Altschul from Townsend. Justen has trained in classical ballet and modern dance at First State Academy of Dance in Milford, and Koresh in Philadelphia. He is a 2nd degree black belt in Isshinryu Karate, and works as an instructor at Delaware Combat Sports in Smyrna.
    The role of Will Turner will be performed by Ian Boyan. Ian has trained locally at Salisbury Studio of Dance and First State Academy of Dance. He has spent summers at the American Academy of Ballet and Washington Ballet. Next season Ian will be heading to the Pittsburg Ballet School for their full time pre professional program on a full scholarship.
    Quiaunna Powell joins the cast in the role of Elizabeth Swann. Quiaunna is a locally trained ballet dancer, who spent summers studying in VA, CT, and PA. She was honored to receive a four year scholarship at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she graduated with a B.F.A. in Ballet.
    Kole Loftin will appear as Commodore James Norrington. Kole has appeared in many local productions with Sussex Ballet, Sussex Central High School, Rehoboth Theater of the Arts, and Delaware Dance Alliance. He has choreographed productions for his high school drama club, and taught at Sussex Dance Academy. Kole has won several awards and scholarships, and is currently attending the University of the Arts, majoring in Dance.
    These talented young people lead a cast of over 40 performers, ranging in age from 6-40 something. They are trained in various forms of dance, martial arts, stage combat, and acting.
    “It’s been exciting to learn stage combat and sword fighting," said Boyan, who plays Will Turner. "I love working with DDA. They focus on technique, but their shows are challenging because they are very physical, and you have to act a lot. It’s not something you get in a typical ballet company.”  
    Page 2 of 2 - ABOUT THE DELAWARE DANCE ALLIANCE
    The Delaware Dance Alliance is a new company founded in the summer of 2010 by Michele Xiques. They premiered the first ever full length ballet based on the popular Twilight series in the spring of 2011, combining local and professional dancers, actors, and martial artists. In the fall of 2011, they coupled with the Smooth Sounds Dance Band to present an evening of jazz, and their production of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker. Xiques majored in dance at Point Park College, became an equity actor, and performed with Atlanta Ballet, and Empire State Ballet in NY. She is currently the owner of First State Dance Academy in Milford.
    Michelle Parisi, who has performed professionally in both classical and modern dance companies, is the assistant director. Parisi became a staff member at FSAD, after closing her dance studio, Zwaanendael Dance Academy, in 2009. Both of these ladies have many years of experience performing, teaching, choreographing, and directing dance companies.
    Mark Parisi is the fight choreographer and acting coach for the company. Mr. Parisi is a 5th degree black belt and world competitor. He has been certified in stage combat, with a degree in acting and directing from Montclair State University. Mark returns to the stage this season as Captain Barbossa.
    TICKETS
    Tickets for this performance can be purchased by going on line to www.schwartzcenter.com, calling the box office at 1-302-678-5152, or visiting the Schwartz Center for the Arts at 226 S. State St in Dover DE. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. A 10% group discount rate for 15 or more seats is available for the matinee show. Get a group of friends together, and enjoy the show. 

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