Wizard Of Oz Returns To Milford Stage

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1Diamond Dance Company (DDC) will bring the timeless family classic, The Wizard of Oz, to the stage again this year. Combining the artistry of the 1939 American film, the classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum, captivating music and imaginative choreography, Diamond Dance Company will take audience members on the nostalgic adventure down the yellow brick road.

Traditionally known for their annual Nutcracker Ballet during the holiday season, the company decided to take on the challenge of the this unique ballet last year after several veteran dancers showed interest. Not an easy task to undertake, Directors Misty Yencer and Kimmy Noll combined music from other Diamond Dance ballets with original music from The Wizard of Oz to create all original staging and choreography. With most of the cast being returning members, DDC has added over 20 new members to the company and production this year, assembling over 70 dancers. With such a large cast, Director Mister Yencer stresses to her dancers the importance of portraying the iconic story with respect for its original form.

“We must live up to the expectations of the audience whether they are a lover of the original novel or the movie,” commented Yencer. “Last year we wanted the audience to feel that it was all they hoped it would be. This year we need to exceed that.”

Arlene Maheu, dancing the role of Dorothy, and her dog Toto, danced by Brynn String, will lead the audience on a journey through the Land of Oz as she searches for her heart’s desires. Maheu, 17 of Felton, is a 2014 recipient of a Dance Delaware Scholarship awarded to her at the 21st annual Delaware Dance Festival. A veteran of dance for thirteen years, she is excited to portray the iconic character Dorothy.

“This ballet is a lot of fun and has a very entertaining story line,” commented Maheu. “It has been such a great experience to follow Dorothy’s adventures through Oz.”

As Dorothy travels down the yellow brick road she will meet three irreplaceable friends: Scarecrow, danced by Heather Reid; The Tin Woodcutter, danced by Hayley Schuster; and The Cowardly Lion, danced by Brittany Poore. Hayley Schuster was also awarded a 2014 Dance Delaware Scholarship this year. Schuster has found the character of The Tin Woodcutter to be an exciting challenge.

“It has been a different experience than the classical ballets I am used to,” commented Schuster. “It has been very fun getting into character and learning to include his movements of being stiff and loosening up.

Additionally, performing in lead roles are Maddie Carlson of Smyrna as The Wicked Witch of the West, Jordan Adkins of Harrington as Glinda Good Witch of the North and Taylor Kimmey of Harrington as Nikko-Flying Monkey Commander.

Diamond Dance Company will be bringing this ballet back to the stage on April 4 and 5 at 7 pm at Milford High School. For more information individuals can check out DDA’s Facebook page or visit www.diamonddanceco.com. Tickets for the performance are available online at http://southerndelawareballet.com/wizard-oz/buy-tickets/. As the Diamond Dance Company continues to grow, Director Misty Yencer believes that the support of the dancers, parents, volunteers and community members has been instrumental in their success.

“It is an honor to be a part of something so rewarding and magical,” stated Yencer. “Who knew that we would be able to accomplish such a grand task. It was a challenging, life changing and remarkable opportunity to create The Wizard of Oz Ballet last year and a privilege to have had so many wonderful experiences along the way. Again, this year, we have had the chance to see it all come together and I couldn’t be more proud.”