The Daily Gamecock

'Peter Pan' soars to Koger Center

<p>Columbia City Ballet Artistic Director William Starrett brings the story of Peter Pan to the stage through original choreography and whimsical characters.</p>
Columbia City Ballet Artistic Director William Starrett brings the story of Peter Pan to the stage through original choreography and whimsical characters.

The wonderful story of the Darling children’s adventures with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell in the magical and whimsical world of Neverland will be brought to life through ballet at the Koger Center for the Arts on March 18. This world premiere of "Peter Pan" by Columbia City Ballet offers quite a bit for the audience with many iconic characters coming to the stage, each of which are given unique features to truly represent the character's personality.

Claire McCaa, who dances the role of Wendy, knows there are expectations for her character but puts her focus on the story she tells. 

“Wendy is challenging because she's a young girl, and she's kind of on the verge of womanhood, and she goes on one last adventure,” McCaa said. “Everyone can go back to that feeling and remember that feeling of first love and the point where you’re not sure if you want to grow up yet.”

With many classic images associated with Peter Pan, the set and costume design were important for the ballet's creators to consider. The vision of the artistic director was to bring interesting and new ideas to the stage, such as evolving costumes over time. Costume designer Alexis Doktor worked to create the images of an “animated, fun movie meets old-fashioned period costumes.” 

Creating a ballet based on the story of Peter Pan is a relatively new idea, only starting within the last decade. The choreography shows this modernism by taking traditional ballet styles and placing them within a modern context to create a period piece of dance. 

“It’s not so strictly classical ballet,” company ballerina Regina Willoughby, who plays Tiger Lily, said. “There’s some turned-in moments and some flexed feet and flexed hands and things like that, so that makes it kind of interesting.”

Artistic Director William Starrett spent almost a year bringing the vision of Peter Pan to the stage. Staying within budget, communicating costume and stage design ideas, creating choreography, and selecting music to bring the book to life was a challenging process. The goal of this ballet is to give the audience a magical experience.

"I’ll be really happy if the audience gets to experience the magic I’ve already gotten to experience in rehearsal,” Starrett said. 

"Peter Pan" will have three performances at the Koger Center: March 18 at 7:30 p.m. and March 19 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20 and are available through the Koger Center Box Office.