When I created Capture Kentucky, I had hoped to expand my skills and photograph anything and everything. Turns out, opportunities have come to me that had not even made a blip on my radar.
In a little over a year, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph NASCAR, Minor League Baseball, Major League Baseball, a rodeo, a motorcycle club ride, a Star Wars museum exhibition, the final Carl Casper Auto Show, a fire station, a wedding, several large music festivals and one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, in P!nk. I’m either incredibly lucky, or I’ve finally figured out how to do something right for once. Lol
All of those seemingly surprised a few of our readers. This time, I’ve even surprised myself. I approached our good friends at the Mountain Arts Center about photographing a performance by the Kentucky Ballet Theatre. After being denied photographing multiple traveling Broadway shows in Cincinnati, I didn’t expect to get this opportunity.
Once I got the approval, I knew that I needed to do my very best. Not only did the folks at the Mountain Arts Center put in a good word, they were able to secure an exclusive for Capture Kentucky. I was the only authorized photographer outside of their organization that was allowed. No pressure, right? Yeah right! This could possibly be a once in a lifetime chance, you better believe that fact was not lost on me. That became my motivation and I hope that my passion shines through the photos that accompany this article.
The Kentucky Ballet Theatre is a wonderful company with talented dancers from all over the globe. The organization happens to be celebrating their 20th season, which is certainly something to be proud of. The traveling troupe brought their performance of “The Little Mermaid” to the MAC. As I read through the program before the show, I was shocked to see artists performing from countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Japan, and China. I fully expected that there were performers from across the U.S., but the International talent was a tremendous addition and yet another log on the fire for my motivation.
Before we get into the show, I want to first touch upon what “The Little Mermaid” means to me and my family. My wife’s favorite Disney movie happened to be “The Little Mermaid” and we watched the VHS tape many, many times as our son (Davin) grew up.
We made the trip to Walt Disney World twice as a family. The first time, Davin was only four years old. He cared much more about meeting the characters and snagging as many autographs as he could, over all the long lines and quick rides. I couldn’t hardly blame him, but those were some costly autographs for old Dad!
As the days went by, we secured many signatures over our time at Disney World, but none were more important to him, or us for that matter, than Ariel’s. We told her how much Davin enjoyed her movie and let me just say that she made him feel super special. She gave him a big hug and our four-year-old blushed, possibly for the first time in his life. She signed his autograph book and sealed it with a kiss. Leaving a big ole lipstick imprint beside her loving message, “Hugs and fishes to Prince Davin!” That’s a memory that none of us will ever forget.
Having said all that, you have a better understanding of how this ballet came upon our radar.
One more really cool aspect that I want to mention before we get into the show, is the fact that the MAC helped the local dance studio, Dance, ETC. join the performance. Allowing those young aspiring dancers the opportunity to be a part of such a magnificent production is just another in the long list of awesomeness that the MAC provides for Eastern Kentucky.
The show itself follows along closely to beloved Disney animated classic of the same name. Which follows a young mermaid named Ariel who saves the life of a Prince whom she falls madly in love with. So much so, she returns to the sea and is given the chance to become human by the evil Sea Witch, Ursula. With a couple caveats, Ariel must give up her voice. She also must make the Prince fall in love with her within 24 hours or she turns into sea foam. If she succeeds, she is given a part of his Spirit and lives a human life. Without giving it all away, I’ll stop there.
With the ballet, there were only vocals in one section, which were used only in the background. The rest of the show was completely conveyed through the actions, music and dance performances. The costumes were beautiful, the backdrops set the scenes perfectly and the performers were truly world-class.
The performers also made their way out to the lobby to greet the guests and children as they left the building. As you can see by the photos, it was just as much fun for the performers as well. They stayed until every photo was taken, autograph given and every hug was heartfelt. A truly unique, family-friendly performance for all ages. Color me impressed!
Listen, being from Eastern Kentucky originally, I never dreamed I would experience a ballet, let alone photograph one. I will say this though, from the bottom of my heart, there are a few seats left for the three-day performance (5/19-5/20) at the Lexington Opera House, go see this wonderful spectacle. You can order your tickets here. It’s beautifully done and it’s a corner of Kentucky culture that I was pretty oblivious to.
Thanks to the Mountain Arts Center and the Kentucky Ballet Theatre for this unique opportunity and I hope you’ve enjoyed my article. This will definitely not be my last ballet.