durham ballet theatre presents

aladdin

may 17 & 18, 2019
carolina theatre, durham, nc


 

Aladdin is an original work first performed by DBT in 2009 at the Carolina Theatre in Durham; it was the very first show performed by Durham Ballet Theatre, formerly Legacy Repertory Company. This year, on DBT’s 10th anniversary, it seems only fitting we perform the show that started it all!

Our second year performing Aladdin, 2012, marked the 4th year in a row we performed a full-length ballet in the spring (full list of performances here). That year, and every year subsequent, we were able to provide a free Special Audiences (info below) show as a service to the community for special needs children and adults, their families and caregivers. Our third year performing Aladdin, 2015, saw the addition of guest dancers George Sanders and Ruben Suarez, who took on the leading roles of Aladdin and the Evil Vizier. We are so excited to perform our version of this beautiful story for its fourth rotation in our repertoire!

 
 
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THE STORY OF ALADDIN

Picture yourself in the days of camels and caravans somewhere on the Silk Road, where the borders of China and ancient Arabia blur …

Here on this very road, we find a boy named Aladdin. His mother despairs that Aladdin might never make something of himself — all he wants to do is play with his friends and the street urchins of the market. 

Act I

Our story begins as the market opens one morning. The vendors are setting up their shops, and the street urchins are making it a challenge! In comes Aladdin, looking for his friends. Suddenly, a stranger new to the town accosts Aladdin and explains that he is Aladdin’s long-lost uncle. Aladdin’s fellow urchins are not sure about this newcomer, this long-lost “uncle.”

The man describes a place of wonder and riches and gives Aladdin a special gift: a silver ring. It turns out that this “uncle” is a magician, and as he changes the market into a desert and the desert into a cave door, Aladdin realizes that everything is not as it seems.

Aladdin’s “uncle” pushes him into a cave full of wondrous, dancing jewels. The jewels direct him to the greatest prize of all, a battered old lamp. When Aladdin returns to the cave door, the magician insists on having the lamp before he will allow Aladdin to leave the cave. Aladdin realizes there must be something special about the lamp when the magician ticks him and pushes him back into the cave. Alone and in despair, Aladdin begins to polish the ring given to him by the magician.

In the meantime, Aladdin’s mother begins to search for him, fearing that he has been taken by the Emperor’s guards. Suddenly, Aladdin appears out of nowhere with stories of a cave filled with riches and a special lamp. Aladdin’s mother begins to polish the lamp…

A beautiful princess strolls by with her little brother and sisters on their daily walk. Aladdin sees her and instantly falls in love, begging his mother to go to the Emperor
to ask for the princess’ hand in marriage.

Act II

To great fanfare, the Emperor and his advisors enter his throne room. But who is the man that follows behind? To our horror, the last man to enter the room — the supposed “Grand Vizier — reveals himself to be none other than the magician, Aladdin’s “uncle,” from Act I. Aladdin’s mother appears and pleads for the hand of Princess Badoura. At first, the Emperor’s advisors mock Aladdin’s mother, but they change their minds when they see the precious jewels she has brought. The Emperor summons Princess Badoura and Aladdin and the two are wed, after which they dance for joy!

The day following the wedding, the magician disguises himself as a lamp seller. He goes to the princess and offers her a shiny new lamp in place of Aladdin’s battered old one. Princess Badoura gives into temptation and agrees to the trade. Now in possession of the battered old lamp, the magician is suddenly all-powerful! He kidnaps the princess, places Aladdin in chains and makes off with the lamp.

Aladdin is thrown in the dungeon in his chains. What shall he do? The princess is trapped in the Magician’s palace — what will she do? How will the two newlyweds get out of their predicaments?

 
 

Special Audiences

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Goals & Intent

The primary goal of Durham Ballet Theatre is to provide a training company and public performance opportunities for dancers, singers and actors of all ages who wish to go on to have professional careers in the field of the performing arts, extend their careers or have a secondary career in the profession of the performing arts.

We believe our greatest contribution is making the arts more accessible through our Friday evening Special Audiences performances of all of our productions, free of charge. Over 800 members of the underserved community are provided a safe, accessible environment. During the past seven years we have reached over 3,500 people during these Friday evenings. These audiences include both the young and the elderly, those with physical, cognitive and/or developmental disabilities, and people from group homes and hospitals, including their families and caregivers. We also open our doors for those who are experiencing financial hardships, including families from Families Moving Forward.

We have developed a network of local connections to identify underserved audiences. It’s important to remember these performances are about access and inclusion not only for the individuals with special needs but also for their family and caregivers. Lack of sensory friendly, accessible events that allow the whole family to attend can contribute to social isolation for those with special needs and their families.

 
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Implementation

In 2019 we are continuing last year’s adaptations of our Friday evening spring performance to create a supportive environment that addresses the needs of those on the autism spectrum and others with sensory sensitivities. The production’s sound and light levels are being modulated during the performance to provide a sensory-friendly theater performance.

Also continuing this year, Arts Access Inc. Arts Access, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, founded in 1984 and dedicated to increasing access to North Carolina's thriving arts community for children and adults with disabilities, will provide audio description for this performance so that patrons who are blind or have low vision can fully experience this production. This will open our performance to a new population of individuals who might not normally attend due to sight impairment.

We feel very strongly that this year’s changes reflect the importance of offering novel ways for families to access the joys of live theater in a comfortable and judgment-free setting.


 

 
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