Waking up ‘Sleeping Beauty’


SIDNEY — The Sidney Dance Company has been rehearsing for their 2023 production of a ballet, “Sleeping Beauty,” since October of 2022. The company is performing the ballet on Feb. 24, 25 and 26 at the Historic Sidney Theatre.

This year’s production is a ballet called “Sleeping Beauty.” The ballet’s story line is based on “The Sleeping Beauty.” Princess Aurora is cursed upon birth to prick her finger on the needle of a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday and die immediately. However, her fairy God mother, Lilac Fairy, intervenes and lessens the curse on Aurora causing her to fall into a deep sleep that can only be broken by an embrace from her one true love, Prince Desire. The ballet ends with Aurora and Desire living happily ever after.

The dancers and cast members have been rehearsing since October 2022 for this show; the group typically rehearsed for four to five hours on Saturdays and Sundays, no cast member or dancer was expected to stay the entire time, and have started rehearsing a few times throughout the weekdays as the show’s opening night approaches.

The Sidney Dance Company is made up of dancers from 10 years old to 20 years old, the oldest of current company members. Though kids have to be at least 10 years old, the company includes many kids as young as 3 in their productions. The company recruits many of the younger performers by connecting with Sidney’s Big Brother, Big Sister program to get children considered at-risk involved in something productive and community-centered. If a child comes to audition to be a part of the show, they are always given a part to encourage participation in the arts in the community.

The company is funded by individuals, small business donations, corporate sponsorship and local art grants. All staff involved in the company and the production are volunteers with the sole exception of the stage lighting team who are contracted for a fee per show. According to Shelley Smedley, volunteer parent, a lot of the help with productions and fundraising comes from volunteer parents like herself.

“It is parents and volunteers in the community. The gentleman who records our radio advertisement spots for us, he’s just a volunteer. His child used to dance for the Sidney Dance Company and he is still willing to come back and help us. The lady who makes and sews costumes, she’s a parent just volunteering her time. I am just a parent volunteering my time,” said Smedley. “Even the people who run our spotlights, lay out our artwork, run our backstage crew, it’s all parent volunteers or volunteers from the community.”

The Artistic Director of the Sidney Dance Company is Molly McFarland who is also the owner and director of Sharon’s School of Dance. Sharon’s School of Dance is a local dance school that offers classes for ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, musical theater, contemporary, acro, hip hop dance and more. According to Smedley, Sharon’s School of Dance feeds into the Sidney Dance Company because many students from Sharon’s School of Dance often try out to be a part of the Sidney Dance Company.

The Sidney Dance Company’s production of “Sleeping Beauty” opens on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and shows on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and again on Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Historic Sidney Theatre. Show times and ticket prices are available on the Historic Sidney Theatre’s website, https://sidneytheatre.org/.

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