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IPB presents ‘Beauty and Beast’ ballet at Bridges

The Inland Pacific Ballet, now celebrating its 20th year, will present its original production of “Beauty and the Beast” at Bridges Auditorium on Saturday, April 25 at 1 and 7 p.m. and on Sunday, April 26 at 1 p.m.

The family-friendly ballet is a familiar and beloved story. Living at the edge of a mystical forest, Beauty is a young girl pure of heart, whose father is accosted by a mysterious Beast after picking a single white rose from the Beast’s beloved garden. To save her father, Beauty offers herself in exchange for his freedom, and begins a journey of love and transformation for both herself and the Beast.

Guests can expect stunning jewel toned costumes plus sets by award-winning scenic artist Daniel C. Nyiri, including a charming village and the Beast’s magnificent castle. Masks for the Beast and a pack of menacing wolves were created by Bonnie Sinclair, who worked for many years with Maurice Sendak on projects including Where the Wild Things Are. The score for “Beauty and the Beast” is a sound collage featuring compositions by composers like Dimitri Shostakovich, Antonin Dvorak, Felix Mendelssohn, Jules Massenet, Sergei Prokofiev, Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky and Alexandor Glazounov.

IPB principal dancer Cameron Schwanz is returning in the role of the Beast and Jonathan Sharp will once again play Beauty’s father. Meilu Zhai, formerly with the National Ballet of China, will make her debut in the part of Beauty.

“We are especially excited to be presenting our exquisite ballerina, Meilu Zhai, in her debut as Beauty,” choreographer Clinton Rothwell said.  “Her special qualities of delicacy, inner strength, impeccable technique and utter charm make her irresistible in this role.”

Tickets for the Bridges Auditorium show are now being sold online and at the box office, 450 N. College Way in Claremont, (909) 607-1139. The cost is $38-$46 general admission, $34 for senior citizens and $28 for children. 

If you miss the Claremont show, you can catch the IPB dancers on May 2 and May 3 at the Lewis Family Playhouse at the Victorian Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga (909-477-2752); on May 9 and 10 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center; and on May 16 at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside. 

For more information, visit www.ipballet.org.