NEWBERRY — The Newberry Ballet Guild took its audiences far away this past weekend to the magical land of Oz during the production of The Wizard of Oz.
The story of the Wizard of Oz follows the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a cyclone. Performances were on Friday and Saturday.
Kendyl Griffith, the shows artistic director, said the girls began practicing for the performance in August of last year. According to Griffith, the junior and senior dancers are required to take three technique classes per week, while the younger dancers take two classes.
The only practices specifically for the Wizard of Oz performance took place on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“It’s basically like the hours of a job for them,” Griffith said.
Griffith said Matt Fuller with the Newberry College theater department was a great help with the set pieces that were created for the performance. Students from the theatre department at the college also helped with the props as part of their class project. Griffith said parents of the dancers are always involved with helping behind the scenes.
The show each year is based off how many dancers the group has, and what level of dance they are currently on, Griffith said. This year, several alums were brought back to dance. Allison Boozer was one of those dancers.
Boozer, 25, has been taking dance for 23 years and has taken classes in ballet, pointe, modern, tap, clogging, jazz, and lyrical. Boozer has also performed at the college level before graduating from Winthrop University. Boozer is currently a dance coach at Newberry Elementary School.
“I really wanted to bring more interest back into the guild,” Boozer said about performing.
Amy Bernardo, 14, was cast as Dorothy Gale in the performance. Bernardo has 10 years of dance experience and is a student at Newberry High School.
What Bernardo said was a unique experience was that her mother, Darly, played the part of Auntie Em in the guild’s performances this past weekend.
Bernardo said her mother has never been in a performance before.
“It was easy because she’s supposed to be my aunt/mom in the play,” Bernardo said. “I don’t have to pretend.”
Bernardo said all of the hours she puts into the guild can be hard to juggle with school, but she really enjoys it.
Auditions for the Newberry Ballet Guild begin in April. The age limit begins at 6 for pre-apprentices, Griffith said, and age 8 for full-fledged members.
Following auditions and when the show is chosen, Griffith and assistant artistic director Lane Joiner decide who plays what roles.
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.