First published by the Brothers Grimm in the early 19th century, the German fairy tale of Snow White was harrowing: A vain and evil queen, a series of attempted murders, and a glass coffin featured prominently. Today, the best-known version of the story is Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film, which scales down the horror and plays up Snow White’s friendship with the seven dwarves who save her.
This weekend, State Street Ballet (SSB) brings its rendition of the fable back to the Lobero Theatre, where this production premiered in 2007. SSB’s child-friendly version, like the Disney film, focuses on the triumph of love over bitter jealousy.
Longtime fans of the company will associate State Street Ballet with the historic Lobero, their home theater for many years. The theater itself is an attraction for those who haven’t been through the doors since it reopened in December 2013 following an extensive renovation.
Like the space it’s performed in, this production combines the old with the new; longtime SSB member Ryan Camou will dance the role of the Prince, while Snow White and the Evil Queen will be danced by newer company members Lilit Hogtanian and Kate Kadow, respectively.
Theatrically, choreographer and SSB ballet master Marina Fliagina has a lot to work with here. In addition to the good-hearted innocence of Snow White, the ardor of her Prince, and the Evil Queen’s rage, there are of course the seven dwarves, each with his own distinct character. Unlike many classical ballets, that means there’s lots of scope here for comedy — something younger audience members will appreciate. Even the Evil Queen’s creepy habit of addressing her hand mirror is a little less haunting when it’s danced instead of spoken.
State Street Ballet will open its 2014 season with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Saturday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m. The show also runs Sunday, February 23, at 2 p.m. For tickets, call (805) 963-0761 or visit lobero.com. To learn more about State Street Ballet, visit statestreetballet.com.