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By Lucinda Breeding

Ballet company stages pair of classics for kids

Denton City Contemporary Ballet is headed back into the woods.

For the third year, the local dance company revives two classics popular with little ones: Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals.

Both short ballets began with the music. Prokofiev penned Peter in 1936 as a children’s story told in words and music. Saint-Saens wrote Carnival in 1886.

But over the years, both have grown. Walt Disney even adapted Peter twice, and incorporated the finale of Carnival into the animated film Fantasia 2000.

And along the way, the two have been turned into ballets.

In Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev’s piece is scored so that each character is represented by a particular instrument — the bird dances to the flute, the cat prowls to the clarinet and the duck struts to the oboe. Denton City Contemporary Ballet will perform the ballet to the music of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The narrator on the recording is rock legend David Bowie.

Carnival of the Animals is set in 14 movements, each depicting an animal or set of animals. The choreography by artistic director Lisa Racina-Torre is meant to be playful and funny, and features both classical and contemporary ballet.

Racina-Torre has broadened the palette in her version of Peter and the Wolf. Most ballets use only Prokofiev’s characters: the rebellious Peter, his protective grandfather and a supporting cast of animals — the cat, the bird, the duck. Racina-Torre has added roles from the company’s youth outreach group, Denton City Contemporary Ballet 2. Company members adopt postmodern dance as the forest’s trees, the meadow and water droplets from the duck pond. Together, the dancers tell the story of a boy who disobeys his grandfather, but captures a marauding wolf with the help of his animal friends.

Carnival of the Animals makes use of Racina-Torre’s choreography as groups of animals play, run and act for young audiences.

Both ballets are short, and when performed together make for a full-length show.



What: Two ballets for children, presented by Denton City Contemporary Ballet and its youth outreach, Denton City Contemporary Ballet 2

When: 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 9

Where: Krum High School Auditorium, 811 E. McCart St.

How much: Advance tickets cost $15 for adults, $8 for children and seniors. At the door, tickets will cost $20 for adults, $12 for children and seniors.

On the Web: For advance tickets, visit