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Little Mermaid makes splash at Towngate

October 5, 2012
Times Leader

WHEELING- Oglebay Institute's Youth Ballet Company is making a splash by presenting an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale "The Little Mermaid" for its fall ballet.

Appropriate for the whole family, the ballet takes place at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Oct. 7 and 8 at Towngate Theatre.

Oglebay Institute's Youth Ballet Company stages public performances of a classical ballet each fall, and director of dance Cheryl Pompeo says this provides an opportunity for dance students to experience the "magical feeling" that comes from performing timeless classics for an audience and provides the public, particularly children, with an introduction to this "beautiful art form."

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J’lyse Kafana dances the role of Ariel in Oglebay Institute’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”

"We welcome children and families to our performances. We want to encourage children to experience classical ballet and fall in love with the art form," she said.

She explained that ballets adapted from popular fairy tales are especially appropriate for children because of the powerful storytelling involved.

"Many children grow up reading fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen. This production blends the enchanting story of a mermaid who falls in love with a human prince with delightful music and dance performed live on the stage," said she. "It has all the elements and characters, such as the love-struck mermaid, a handsome prince, and a conniving sea witch, that capture the attention of young audience members."

According to Pompeo, attending performances by local ballet companies is a great introduction to ballet, a way to have a special date with your child and provides arts education at the same time.

"Building a love for the arts comes from having great memories that are established as a child. At Oglebay Institute, we are proud to help create these experiences for not only our students but also for the people in our community."

Principal dancers in Oglebay Institute's performance of "The Little Mermaid" are: J'lyse Kafana and Sydney Glessner as Ariel, Liam Chapman Casey as the Prince, Ava Tennant as the Sea Witch, Peter J. Lim as Triton and Morgan McCool as Athena.

Other cast members include: Kate Adase, Jacie Baker, Audrey Blust, Alyasia Botizan, Ally Carson, Claire Carson, Katherine Carson, Maddie Cisar, Maddy Crawford, Jordan Crow, Megan Donzella, McKenna Dunbar, Adelaide Estep, Kelsey Glessner, Lucy Hartzell, Ali Irvin, Rebekah Jones, Sarah Jones, Olivia Kale, Lexie Kosanovic, Madeline Mandel, Marina McGinley, Audra Ream, Adrianna Shellhase, Lucretia Shumate, Kristina Slivchenko, Bailey Stevenson, Carly Stewart, Jaelee Thompson, Laura Tighe, Maddy Tiu and Anna Turani.

To purchase tickets for "The Little Mermaid," please call the Stifel Fine Arts Center at 304-242-7700 or online at



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