The Snowman Stirs Memories of Beloved Children’s Holiday Classic

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City Opera Ballet has restored its 2007 rendition of The Snowman, based on the cherished children’s book by Raymond Briggs. Many audience members will likely remember the ineffable combination of Brigg’s ethereal colored pencil illustrations set to a powerful orchestral score by Howard Blake. In both the movie version and the ballet, Blake’s haunting theme, “Walking in the Air” for boy soprano, remains imprinted in the listener’s memory. Student Rahul Bothra, a member of Bellevue Youth Choir, sang the solo in the November 26th production.

Caleb Rumsey as the Little Boy and Kyle Mathew Johnson as the Snowman. Photo by Andrew Ness.
Caleb Rumsey as the Little Boy and Kyle Mathew Johnson as the Snowman. Photo by Andrew Ness.

Jennifer Porter’s choreography unites Ballet Bellevue dancers, students of the Ballet Bellevue School, and the Orchestra Bellevue, directed by Philip Tschopp. Frosty backdrops, scrims, and movable set pieces bring this modern fairy tale to life on the stage of The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center. Caleb Rumsey, age 11, plays the role of James, whose magically animated snowman leads him on a winter adventure. Other students of Ballet Bellevue’s school portray spritely animals such as bunnies, reindeer, and penguins. Ballet Bellevue company dancer Nathan Cook brought levity to the role of Fox, his technique crystalline in a brisk petit allegro section.

Thomas Phelan as The Cheeky Reindeer and Vanessa Hsu & Katie Zhao as The Behaving Reindeer. Photo by Andrew Ness.
Thomas Phelan as The Cheeky Reindeer and Vanessa Hsu & Katie Zhao as The Behaving Reindeer. Photo by Andrew Ness.

Just like in another familiar holiday ballet, Act II of City Opera Ballet’s The Snowman offered treats. Silly, droopy trees tiptoed charmingly away from James and the title character, timed perfectly to their musical accompaniment. The Snowman, Kyle Matthew Johnson, performed the grand Pas de Deux that Nutcracker fans might be expecting with the elegant Ice Princess Lorraine Constantine. And the Cheeky Reindeer, Thomas Phelan, stole the show with his exaggerated flamboyance, well-cast in contrast to the poised and proper Behaving Reindeer, played by students Vanessa Hsu and Katie Zhao.

Stockdale as Jackie Frost. Photo by Andrew Ness.
Christina Stockdale as Jackie Frost. Photo by Andrew Ness.

For families, City Opera Ballet’s The Snowman presents a heartwarming alternative to The Nutcracker this holiday season. For more information on City Opera Ballet, please visit HERE.

 

One comment

  1. I attended Ballet Bellevue’s “The Snowman” while visiting Seattle in November and found it delightful! I was particularly enchanted by Jennifer Porter”s inspired choreography, from the lyrical Snowflake dance to the comical reindeer trio. The scenery and lighting were a perfect complement to the beautiful music and dancing. I was disappointed that the theater was not full. Many children and their parents could have been as enchanted as I was,. This little Christmas treasure should be hidden no longer!

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