Michelle Robinson brings classic children’s story to life
A classic children’s story is the inspiration for the Michelle Robinson Dance Theatre’s major production for 2016.
Michelle has long enjoyed Frances Hodgson Burnett’s magical story The Secret Garden and three months ago decided to retell it in dance and drama for some of Palmerston North’s most promising dancers and experienced actors.
The Secret Garden will be presented at The Globe on September 3 and 4 at 2pm.
‘‘I was inspired by the movie, loved the story and saw it as ideal to choreograph for my dancers,’’ Michelle says.
In the story Mary Lennox, an orphan, is sent to live with her remaining relative in gloomy Messelthwaite Manor in Yorkshire. Left to her own devices, she explores the grounds and finds a walled garden that no-one seems to know about.
She also discovers her cousin Colin, disabled and in poor health, locked away in a room and Dickon, a boy who works on the estate. Dickon and Mary, through her inner strength and intelligence, join forces to get Colin out of the sunless room and into the world.
Once in the garden, friendships blossom, illness fades away and they find a way to include Lord Craven, Colin’s grieving father, in the healing.
Young dancers Katie Clearwater (Mary), Eilidh Gloyn (Dickon) and Abigail Lamballe (Colin) are supported by an impressive company of 50 performers, from the ages of 10 to adult.
Michelle says the audience will love the story about friendship and how the children, alienated from their parents, develop a strong bond between themselves and, in doing so, sort the adults out to produce an enchanting ending.
‘‘By doing so they get the neglected garden to bloom again,’’ she says.
The production also features Steve Sayer as Lord Craven, Ashley Hodges as Lady Craven and Paul Lyons as the gardener and narrator.
The Secret Garden is about an hour long, allowing Michelle’s talented dancers to present a first half of jazz, classical, contemporary and tap dancing plus a cameo from her four to six year olds who perform The Magic Garden.
Mekah Dunn will choreograph the tap and jazz, Ashley Hodges, two contemporary pieces and Rose Brownlee, the burlesque sequence. Michelle will add her undoubted skill to senior and contemporary pieces and a national dance from Romania.
The Michelle Robinson Dance Theatre’s The Secret Garden will be staged at The Globe on September 3 and 4 at 2pm. Bookings at The Globe.
Ashley Hodges, demonstrates one of her stunning dances.