ALADDIN

A bal­let adap­ta­tion like you’ve never seen be­fore!

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - LIFE - BY FAZMINA SAMAT

Grow­ing up, Disney’s clas­sic Aladdin is ev­ery­thing you could wish for and more! In case you’ve missed the big news, The Deanna School of Danc­ing is proud to in­tro­duce their bal­let adap­ta­tion of the world fa­mous Aladdin this May 31st till 3rd June 2019 at 4p.m. The clas­sic hit movie, which will be brought to life at the Bishop’s College Au­di­to­rium, was pro­duced and chore­ographed by Natalie & Natasha Jaya­suriya.

Get your tick­ets now, if you haven’t done so al­ready. We met with the prin­ci­pal of Deanna

School of Danc­ing, Natasha Jaya­suriya and the cast and chat­ted about this bal­let adap­ta­tion. Here’s what they had to share on what au­di­ence can look for­ward to on the day of the show.

Let’s dive right in con­ver­sa­tion first with Natasha,

Q CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS ON THE UP­COM­ING CON­CERT! HOW ARE YOU FEEL­ING ABOUT THE PREPERATIO­NS FOR THE UP­COM­ING NIGHT?

Preperatio­ns wise, we were very lucky, we were able to fin­ish off all the ma­jor dances last month. Chore­og­ra­phy wise, most of it was done over a month ago. Some of the chil­dren have been work­ing on this since Jan­uary. How­ever, it’s been a lot of work to put to­gether a production like this, es­pe­cially be­cause we have chil­dren of dif­fer­ent ages, from dif­fer­ent types of schools and try­ing to get them into re­hearsals is very dif­fi­cult when each of them have their own sched­ules in their own in­di­vid­ual schools.

Q WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ALL THE ALADDIN FA­NAT­ICS OUT THERE ABOUT THIS BAL­LET CON­CERT ADAP­TA­TION?

What I would say is that, this gives a lit­tle more than what’s in the car­toon and on the Broad­way mu­si­cal be­cause we have to cre­ate some­thing more orig­i­nal us­ing parts of the old story and cre­ate our own ver­sion with bal­let. For ex­am­ple, in the cave of won­ders scene, we have gems that are alive where as in the movie or the mu­si­cal, it would be just part of the props. We’ve adapted it in a way that’s very dif­fer­ent and I think it’s very ex­cit­ing for the chil­dren to watch. There’s a dif­fer­ent part of it which we have cre­ated in our own way.

Q WHAT DO YOU THINK MIGHT SUR­PRISE PEO­PLE THE MOST ABOUT THIS BAL­LET ADAP­TA­TION?

It’s our stu­dents! Over the years my mother (Deanna Jaya­suriya) in­clud­ing my­self and my sis­ter, we’ve all been there and we have worked with these chil­dren whom I have known since they were 2 years old and ev­ery year when we do a per­for­mance their stan­dards have got so much bet­ter. I was a Gem when we did Aladdin when we were small and to see the stan­dards now in com­par­i­son to then, I’m re­ally proud of the girls and what they have achieved.

Q WITH THE RE­MAKE OF ALADDIN SCREEN­ING IN THE­ATRES SOON, TELL ME IN YOUR OPIN­ION, WHY DO YOU THINK PEO­PLE SHOULD CHOOSE A NIGHT OUT AT YOUR VER­SION OF ALADDIN?

One, be­cause this are our own chil­dren. In sup­port­ing Sri Lanka, sup­port­ing the chil­dren here who have been com­ing to prac­tices spe­cially dur­ing a very un­for­tu­nate time. Tak­ing the risk to be here for prac­tices, hav­ing their heart in it, think­ing they need some­thing bet­ter right now and to look for­ward to.that’s the rea­son we are con­tin­u­ing with this show. As hard as it is for us to get up in the morn­ing and think of ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pen­ing right now, we’re all us­ing this as a plat­form to see that we have some­thing pos­i­tive to look for­ward to and these are our stu­dents who have been work­ing so hard, we don’t want to dis­ap­point them as well. With ev­ery­thing else they are dis­ap­pointed at the mo­ment. It would be lovely for the au­di­ence to come and sup­port that.

Q FI­NALLY, CALL OUT BY NAME, WHAT KIND OF PER­SON IS GO­ING TO LOVE THIS SHOW?

I think MANY types of peo­ple are go­ing to love this show! From the lit­tle child who is dream­ing of fan­tasy to the older in­di­vid­u­als who ap­pre­ci­ate art and dance will love this show be­cause of the tal­ents that will be in dis­play. Any­body who fan­cies arts and the theatre will love this be­cause we are do­ing so much with lighting and pro­jec­tion and back­drops. I think any­body would en­joy it, even though they say “Men don’t like bal­let” I think they will be­cause this has a nice mod­ern twist to it and it has got this lovely Ara­bian dancers which my sis­ter’s chore­og­ra­phy skills are high­lighted. Even the mu­sic that we’ve cho­sen, most of it is up-beat which I’m sure they will en­joy.

Q SINCE THE PRESENT SIT­U­A­TION IN THE COUN­TRY IS A NA­TIONAL CON­CERN WHAT SE­CU­RITY MEA­SURES HAVE YOU TAKEN IN RE­SPECT OF THIS EVENT?

We are con­cerned ev­ery­day and we got the air force, po­lice and a pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pany and also the au­di­to­rium has their own se­cu­rity mea­sures in place and they are very strict about it. The au­di­ence needs to be early, which usu­ally means we open the doors 15 min­utes be­fore but cur­rently we’ve de­cided to open the doors 01 hour be­fore, so we re­quest au­di­ence to com­ply with se­cu­rity checks. Mov­ing on to the cast, we met up with the first set of the trio, who is Aladdin played by 16 year old Inara de Silva, Jas­mine played by 16 year old Shanaya Pereira, Abu played by 10 year old Ariyanna Gu­nasek­era who will be per­form­ing on the open­ing night.

Q WHEN DID YOU FIRST PER­FORM?

Inara (Aladdin): I was 2 and a half when I joined Deanna and my first per­for­mance was ei­ther Cin­derella or Beauty and the

Beast. Grow­ing up I have also been in pro­duc­tions such as La Bayadere, Switch and Alice in Won­der­land. It’s been a roller­coaster ride and we are one big fam­ily in Deanna.

Shanaya (Jas­mine): I joined Deanna when I was 2 and half as well, and I have been in ev­ery con­cert of Deanna's since.

Ariyanna (Abu): I joined Deanna when I was 3 and half and my first per­for­mance was in “Peter and the wolf” where I played the flower.

Q TELL US ABOUT THE ROLE YOU HAVE BEEN RE­HEARS­ING – WHAT ARE THE BEST BITS AND THE CHAL­LENGES?

Inara (Aladdin): I was cast sec­ond along with my Jas­mine (Shanaya) af­ter the first cast was picked. Since we were taken one month af­ter the first cast was taken, learn­ing what­ever they have done in that 01 month was very dif­fi­cult. But we all stuck to­gether and we learnt it re­ally fast. Our chore­og­ra­phers helped us and they’ve been pil­lars to us, they’ve thought us a lot not just in danc­ing but through­out life. We met so dif­fer­ent peo­ple here and made so many dif­fer­ent friends.

Shanaya (Jas­mine): The best part is I get to per­form with my friends. Per­form­ing as Jas­mine I have to do so much of hard moves, which I man­aged to over­come with the help of Aunty Deanna and Natasha. Ariyanna (Abu): It’s a lit­tle dif­fi­cult, Abu is not hu­man and I need to act more like a mon­key which is re­ally not my per­son­al­ity. But the best part of this is I get to jump on Inara’s back a lot!

Q WITH­OUT GIV­ING ANY­THING AWAY, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE PLAY?

Inara (Aladdin): The last song “A whole new world” Ariyanna (Abu): The cave of won­ders scene.

Q WHAT ARE YOUR FU­TURE CA­REER PLANS AND AS­PI­RA­TIONS?

Inara (Aladdin): Once I fin­ish my A/L’S I want to fin­ish danc­ing here. Danc­ing is life for me and I hope to pur­sue in the lines of a pro­fes­sional dancer.

Shanaya (Jas­mine) : I don’t have a goal as yet but I love bal­let and I want to com­plete it.

Ariyanna (Abu) : I would like to be a pro­fes­sional bal­let dancer or an ac­tor.

Q BE­SIDES THIS ONE, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STAGE SHOW?

Inara (Aladdin) : Switch which was done by Deanna in 2014

Shanaya (Jas­mine): Alice in Won­der­land

pro­duced by Deanna

Ariyanna (Abu): The magic toy shop for sure!

Shanaya

Natasha

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