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Huntsville Ballet’s ‘Off Stage’ views genres, 1940s and Q&A

HUNTSVILLE – Huntsville Ballet will offer a different perspective in its presentation of “Off Stage” on Feb. 4-6.

The new offering of “Off Stage” will open at 7:30 p.m. nightly at the Von Braun Center Playhouse. The show will feature different genres of dance, the popular “Stage Door Canteen” with 1940s swing and a question-and-answer session with the dancers.

Act One will include diverse genres of dance from famous classical ballet pieces with three pas de deux to contemporary moves and a new hip-hop performance. In this portion of the show, audience members can interact with dancers during a question-and-answer session after each performance.

Principal dancer Ashley Jordan of Madison will be featured in a pas de deux with Nathaniel Otto of Huntsville. Madison residents Debbie Baughn and Robert Salinas serve on Huntsville Ballet’s Board of Directors.

Act Two transitions to the award-winning “Stage Door Canteen,” which pays homage to1940s’ swing music and the energy of a USO show. Phillip Otto choreographed this tribute to the United States military. The segment includes favorites by the Andrews Sisters.

The American Theatre Wing, a volunteer organization, coordinated the Stage Door Canteen to offer servicemen with nights of dancing, entertainment, food and nonalcoholic drinks, and even opportunities to hobnob with celebrities. By November 1945, Stage Door Canteens were operating in eight U.S. cities, London and Paris. Together, they entertained and fed 11 million Allied servicemen.

Huntsville Ballet is dedicating this program to the late Sibyl McDougald Wilkinson. Sibyl and former Marine James Wilkinson moved from Cocoa Beach, Fla. to Huntsville in 1974. After his passing in 1988, she devoted time to church and civic organizations with a special emphasis on helping wounded veterans.

Sibyl’s numerous awards include the Distinguished Service Award from the Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Division. She was the only woman and only civilian to ever receive this award.

Sibyl attended the ballet for many years, even before her niece, Lisa Grumbles Ordway, became Costume Designer for Huntsville Ballet.

“Her family and her colleagues at Van Valkenburgh & Wilkinson are so happy to support Huntsville Ballet, an organization she loved, and are so appreciative of Huntsville Ballet Company for dedicating ‘Off-Stage’ featuring the award-winning ‘Stage Door Canteen’ in her honor,” Phillip Otto said.

Tickets are available at VBC ticket office or Ticketmaster.com. For 25 percent off, use code “THANKS25” at VBC Box Office only.

For more information, call 256-539-0961 or visit huntsvilleballet.org.

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