“The Little Mermaid”

“The Little Mermaid,” presented by the Canton Ballet, is returning to the Canton Palace Theatre. Performed in 2015, the full-length ballet tells the familiar fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen and popularized by Disney.

Photo courtesy of the Canton Ballet

Canton Ballet to perform at the Canton Palace Theatre

“The Little Mermaid,” presented by the Canton Ballet, is returning to the Canton Palace Theatre.

Performed in 2015, the full-length ballet tells the familiar fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen and popularized by Disney.

“I think it’s fun for children, and everyone seemed to like it the first time around,” said Angelo Lemmo, choreographer in residence for the Canton Ballet.

The ballet includes favorite characters Ariel and Sebastian, but it won’t feature the traditional Disney tunes used in the movie and musical. Instead, Lemmo spent months selecting the pre-recorded music that will play during the ballet. The score will include calypso and classical music, along with music from old movie themes.

He said the beginning of the ballet has a lot of fish characters and is looser, and the second half includes many human characters at the wedding and has a more classical structure. The orchestra pit is the ocean, and the lighting designer works hard to separate the two atmospheres.

Unlike the Canton Ballet’s sold-out run of “The Nutcracker,” which featured 300 students from the school, “The Little Mermaid” will be performed only by the ballet’s 31-member performing company—the most advanced students. The show also will be more contemporary than “The Nutcracker,” said Cassandra Crowley, the executive director of the Canton Ballet.

She said the dancers work hard to perfect their characters and maintain them throughout the course of the story ballet—something she said is “kind of a strain” because the students aren’t as used to doing that.

“It’s quite a challenge for them,” she said.

The company also will be joined by a professional dancer. Benjamin Shepard, from the contemporary Verb Ballets in Cleveland, is playing the role of the prince. Shepard trained with the Ballet Theatre of Maryland and at Butler University, and he also has danced with the Ballet Theatre of Indiana.

“The Little Mermaid” runs April 13 and 14 at the Canton Palace Theatre. Both performances are at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $25 and are available via the ballet’s website.

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