Monday, 11 February 2019 17:42

'Beatles: The Ballet' takes Cole audience on Magical Mystery Tour with music of the Fab Four

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The Columbia City the Columbia City Ballet performs "Beatles: The Ballet" at Cole Auditorium on Feb. 5. The Columbia City the Columbia City Ballet performs "Beatles: The Ballet" at Cole Auditorium on Feb. 5. Betty McIntyre - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — On Tuesday, Feb. 5 show attendees were greeted as they entered the Cole Auditorium and handed a program for the Columbia City Ballet’s world premier performance of “Beatles: The Ballet.”

The curtain rose at 7:30 as Joey Bennett, director of the Cole, welcomed all attending, then the show kicked off with the Beatles song “Love Me Do.”

The Beatles were a famous English rock band which formed in Liverpool, U.K. in 1960 and are known as the best-selling band in history. The band’s members included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The Beatles became one of the most influential rock bands in history. Their music consisted of various styles throughout the decade which interested a variety of cultures. The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

All of this is what sparked the interest of William Starrett, executive and artistic director of Columbia City Ballet, to create “Beatles: The Ballet.”

Columbia City Ballet is 58 years old in which Starrett has been directing for 32 of those years. He has directed longer than the founding director. 

In addition to the inspiration the songs continue to have on subsequent generations, Starrett hopes to see new generations be inspired, as well. 

He said it took 12 different choreographers and lots of different styles of dance to put the show together.

“The Beatles strived for different sounds which show up in the show,” Starrett said. ‘The lyrics and songs become clearer through the dance because you can see the music.”

When asked about the preparation time, Starrett said he began planning in the spring of 2018 and the choreography began in November. He also mentioned the cost of rehearsal which was $600 per hour or $3,000 per day. Due to the cost and the time frame of practice, only the best dancers were able to make the cut.

The show featured more than 40 songs that captured the audience’s attention. As each song played, the talented dancers wholeheartedly took on the unique characteristic of that particular song. 

The most colorful set was when “Yellow Submarine” played in which several of the dancers were dressed in mermaid costumes as the song came to life on stage.

The Cole Auditorium was the show’s third out of four performances. 

“We would love to come back again, the Cole has such a great team to work with,” Starrett said. This is the second show Columbia City Ballet has performed at the Cole, with "The Nutcracker" being the first back in 2016. 

“Beatles: The Ballet” was truly a memorable experience, and Richmond County anticipates Starrett’s next show.

For information on upcoming shows at the Cole Auditorium, call 910-410-1691 or visit its website: http://www.richmondcc.edu/cole-auditorium.