Ed Albanesi: Peter Pan flying to St. Augustine

Peter Pan

By Ed Albanesi

George Carlin had a routine where he mentioned phrases no human being had ever uttered. One of his examples was, “hand me that piano.”

I was reminded of Carlin’s banter when I recently turned to my wife and said, “I really can’t wait to see the “Ballet of Peter Pan.” Yep, those words effortlessly flowed from my mouth.

Confession time here: In the last four years I have become a huge fan of ballet. A major impetus undoubtedly streams from my 12-year-old daughter being a student of ballet and dancing in local productions. Some of you may be familiar with the St. Augustine Nutcracker, for which my daughter has been a performer since 2011.

I have also had the opportunity to meet and watch several visiting principal dancers demonstrate a unique combination of grace and athleticism that is ballet.

The St. Augustine Ballet is responsible for putting on our community’s annual production of The Nutcracker. It has also presented spring ballets, which in past years have included Peter and the Wolf and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This spring the St. Augustine Ballet is bringing a brand new adaptation of The Ballet of Peter Pan to our community. With dozens of local young dancers, it may very well evolve into another signature production.
The Ballet is partnering with the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum as well as the St. Augustine Alligator Farm to provide a synergy that will make Peter Pan a must see.

Returning to St. Augustine are principal dancers Margit Peguero Vargas (as Tinkerbell) and Daet Rodriguez (as Peter Pan). This Cuban-born, husband-wife team owns and operates the Cuballet Ecuador in Guayaquil and they were principals in the 2014 St. Augustine Nutcracker. But there’s more.

“Captain William Mayhem” of the Pirate Museum will take on the role of Captain Hook. The lobby of the Lewis Auditorium will be packed with pirates, a mermaid and at least one crocodile. Children attending the ballet will be encouraged to come dressed as pirates.

Luis Abella, the director of Peter Pan, is working with his principal dancers to create a mesmerizing choreography for this production. Robert O’Leary, the set designer, is hoping to provide an atmosphere that will provide a perfect complement to the dance movements on stage. And, yes, some of the dancers will take flight.

The music will be an eclectic mix of Native American, Irish, classical and who knows what else. As with the choreography, there is no set music for Peter Pan. Everything the audience sees will be fresh and new.

There will be two performances of The Ballet of Peter Pan at Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2:30 and 7 p.m. You can link to online tickets by visiting www.saintaugustineballet.com.

Previously I have written that after watching our kids dance in these local ballet productions, I can guarantee you will emerge from the theater with a large smile on your face.

So hand me that piano and please join me in watching Peter Pan fly in St. Augustine this May.

Captain William Mayhem, a local pirate re-enactor, will portray

Captain William Mayhem, a local pirate re-enactor, will portray Captain Hook in St. Augustine Ballet’s Peter Pan, on stage May 16 in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College. Photo by Gary LeVeille 

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