Princesses may be beautiful, shimmery and graceful, but they are also powerful and dedicated – just like the junior high and high school dancers that will be performing in Plano Metropolitan Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” Jan. 5–20. Like the classic fairytale, these dancers can achieve anything when working together.
“Our ballet company is very strong this year, with 50 amazing dancers,” said Cindi Lawrence Hanson, founder of the Plano Met Ballet and director of Gotta Dance Studio where the dancers train. “Our leads, Aurora and Maleficent, are awesome. We also have three graduating seniors dancing the parts of Queen Leah, and fairies Merryweather and Fauna. We will all enjoy dancing together and will be forever connected by this magical ballet.”
Hannah Beaudreau as Princess Aurora and Phoebe Salas as Maleficent // photos Esther Huynh
Playing the lead role of Princess Aurora is Hannah Beaudreau, who is celebrating her seventh year performing with the Plano Met Ballet, and 13th year as a dancer. Tapping into Aurora’s more playful side and partnering with the Prince, Bryan Cunningham, in their pas de deux, are two of the reasons Hannah loves this ballet so much.
One of Hannah’s closet friends, Phoebe Salas, plays Maleficent, the main villain in the story. “I love how strong and powerful I get to be; having an evil role is a lot of fun,” Phoebe said. With 14 years of dancing under her belt, including 10 years alongside Hannah and several shows with the Plano Met Ballet, Phoebe also understands the importance of making close friends in the world of dance.
Finding a second family within a dance studio is like winning the lottery – and makes leaving bittersweet. This year three graduating seniors are enjoying their last time on stage with the Plano Met Ballet.
Dancing as the fairy Merryweather, Mikayla Walker said she loves her character’s “feisty attitude.” As a 10-year ballet veteran, six of those with Plano Met Ballet, Mikayla finds confidence in lacing up her slippers and gliding across a stage. “I love the feeling of strength and empowerment that dance gives me.”
Amanda LaPorte plays Queen Leah, and she has been dancing ballet since she was three years old. During her 10 years with the Plano Met Ballet, she has loved “working with everyone in the company,” she said.
Also graduating this year is Cassady Kreuser, who plays the fairy Flora in this ballet. Although she started her dancing career late (she was 11 years old and has only danced with Plano Met Ballet for three years), Cassady loves how ballet makes her feel. “I love dancing because it is a way for me to let go and forget the stresses of the day,” she said. “It is incredibly relaxing and makes me feel healthy and happy.”
Hard work aside, the dancers enjoy time spent together. The full process includes multiple ballet and pointe technique classes a week, rehearsals and nine performances of the fairy tale ballet.
“Dancing is its own reward because beautiful movement speaks to our artistic soul,” said Cindi. “Once you discover dance, you never quit loving it. As a member of the audience, you feel connected and enjoy being part of the performance.”
With a friendship stronger than their tired feet and the hairspray holding their perfectly styled buns, these ladies will transport audience members to a fairytale land, one pirouette at a time.
Friday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. – Outreach
Saturday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13, at 3 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20, at 3 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.
Girl Scouts Performances (includes a Q&A with the dancers after the show):
Saturday, Jan. 6, at 3 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.