Combining a classic piece of literature with the 25th anniversary celebration of the film adaptation, Diamond Dance Company (DDC) will present the ballet, Tale of the Little Mermaid on Saturday, April 25. This original ballet, under the direction of Misty Yencer, Kimmie Noll-Price, and Aimee Voshell-String is being presented at Milford High School, located at 1019 North Walnut Street. As in year’s past the dance company will also hold two performances for area school children and senior citizens from nearby assisted living facilities on the Friday before the public performance.
The Diamond Dance Company is a non profit organization comprised of ballet students in the Kent and Sussex County areas. Over these past years, Diamond Dance Company has introduced 30,000 school children to share in this seasonal tradition. Last year the Company opened a school in downtown Milford known as TADA, Tatiana Akinviev-Smith Dance Acadmey, dedicated to continuing the legacy of its co-founder Tatiana Akinviev-Smith. Bringing together many of her former students throughout the state of Delaware and giving the opportunity for new students to engage in the brilliance and artistry of dance, the studio performs several ballets each year.
The Tale of the Little Mermaid is led by Arlene Maheu of Felton, DE, dancing the role of the mermaid. Maheu has been a member of Diamond Dance Company in Milford for the past three seasons portraying the lead roles of Snow Queen in the Nutcracker and Scarecrow and Dorothy in DDC’s Wizard of Oz Ballet. Last year she was honored with the Distinguished Young Woman of Delaware award, competing in the preliminary competition to the national program known as Distinguished Young Women.
Twelve-year-old Jillian Kerr will dance the role of Curious Crab for all four performances. This marks the seventh year that Jillian has been with Diamond Dance Company. Jillian has studied dance under the direction of Terianne Utley, Michelle Parisi, Lindsay Warren, Tori Brown-O’ Brien, Bliss Soucek and Misty Yencer and has performed in Snow White, The Wizard of Oz and at the Delaware Dance Festival. Ms. Jillian Kerr is the daughter of Steven Kerr and Karen Kerr and granddaughter of John and Cathy Piechura, Jan and Victor Weiers and Sam and Kathy Kerr. Jillian is excited for her new role and hopes that the audience leaves “with a smile.”
“I love the costumes for this performance, they are really different,” said Kerr. “I hope the audience enjoys the ballet and I hope they leave talking about it nonstop.”
Director Misty Yencer states that the ballet is a blend between the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen and the “modern, happy ending version” that most children are familiar with. DDC has been extremely busy preparing for the new ballet learning new choreography, building sets and creating costumes. Yencer is excited to see all of the hard work play out on stage this month and stresses the importance of attracting younger audiences to the theatre.
“This performance was partly chosen because of the excitement surrounded around the little mermaid tale,” said Yencer. “That excitement allows us to promote the arts to an audience that may not have the opportunity to see a live theatrical performance. Even if kids are not thinking of going into the arts field, it is still important to expose them into that world. It helps connect literature through a different language.”
The matinee performance will be held on Saturday, April 25 at 2 pm and the evening performance is 7 pm. Tickets can be pre-purchased through www.eventbrite.com, where families may select their seats. Ticket prices are $20 premium, $15 adult, $10 students and seniors. For more information, individuals are encouraged to visit www.diamonddanceco.com or the DDC Facebook page by searching Diamond Dance Company.