The world of arts:
A classic comes alive in ballet
Most of today’s young choreographers around the world have ambitious
aspirations no matter to which country they belong. They explore an
innovate to create concepts left behind by their peers. They are ready
to take on the challenge.
A scene from ‘Beauty and the Beast’
In Sri Lanka, two such youngsters, Natalie and Natasha Jayasuriya
hope dance will effect these ambitions. Nurtured by their veteran
mother, Deanna Jayasuriya, the public will see the results of their
talent when a much loved classic goes on boards at the Bishop’s College
auditorium from July 28 to 30.
The sisters together will choreograph The Beauty and the Beast
presented by the students of Deanna School of Dance in a cast of 450
dancers, directed by Deanna Jayasuriya, principal/chief choreographer of
the school under whose watchful and professional eyes, the production is
This full-length ballet is set to the major part of glorious music of
Walt Disney’s sound track from the film to the scores of Alan Mankam
along with lyrics of Howard Ashman. Amazing is the word to watch how
Natalie and Natasha manoeuvre these young dancers into their steps,
movements and positions.
Like dancing, choreography comes easy to them after being trained in
classical ballet when they were hardly able to walk. The young dancers
react to their training which makes it easy for choreographing this
The little dancers sink into their roles and are happy doing what is
expected. It is a joy to see these future dancers, stirring up to take
their places in the dance scene, some day. To Natalie and Natasha, this
is choreographic training as well. ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ offers all
The origin of the ballet
Choreographed by Crank as a one-act ballet to the music of Ravel and
danced at Sadler’s Wells Ballet Theatre in London on December 20, 1949
and followed by another version of this famous French fairy tale ‘pas de
deux’ for a TV production of the BBC in 1953, the ballet was well
received and gained momentum as a production.
Yet another full-length ballet was directed by Peter Darrel to the
scores of Musgrave and mounted for the Scottish Theatre Ballet on
November 19, 1969 was followed by a version based on the story by Mme de
Villeneuvc. Germany too got wise to the ballet and had their version
directed by Karl Wiesbaden in 1972.
Since then ‘Beauty and the Beast’ have been opted for children among
others like ‘Cinderella’, ‘Nutcracker’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, all of which
have been produced by the Deanna School of Dancing with the two
Jayasuriya sisters dancing in them, especially Natasha doing the ‘pas de
deux’ in ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
The local version scheduled is a vibrant production retaining all its
magic and splendour associated with this story. Stunning costumes and
stage design, lighting effects, along with appropriate scores, makes
‘Beauty and the Beast’ very professional ballet of high ranking.
‘Beauty and the Beast’ is widely recognized as the best animated Walt
Disney feature from the studios of Disney in the 1980’s and 90s. Based
on a French classic, the fairy tale tells the story of an intelligent
young girl, Belle who is scorned by the townspeople for being a
Also, weary of fighting off the advances of the arrogant Gaston from
whose miseries she wishes to escape from. In the meantime, her father
gets lost in the woods and is captured by the horrible beast who had
been a handsome young prince and turned into a monster by a witch.
Heartbroken and sad, Belle goes off in search of him and confronts
the Beast who agrees to release him if she consents to live with him
forever. Though repulsed at the beginning, Belle discovers his tender
side filled with kindness.
The Beast with his team of servants who happen to be a clock, teapot,
and a candlestand recognize Belle as their saviour. If the Beast and
Belle fall in love with each other before his 21st birthday, he will be
released from his curse. This is the theme of the story loved and
cherished by children all over the world as a fantasy, fairytale and a
Beast: Bharatha de Silva.
Beauty: Shonak Ranasinghe.
The clock: Rosalie Fernando.
Candlestick: Sadeesha Kariyawasam.
Duster: Minolie Fernando.
Teapot: Ruvini Wijeyanayake.
Gasten: Sajad Shabdeen.
Rose: Kiho Tanaka.
Chip: Tara Sela.
Choreography: Natalie and Natasha Jayasuriya.
Production Director: Deanna Jayasuriya.