THE WARDROBE – From left

Dance troupes team up for classic children’s story

Group to stage C.S. Lewis masterpiece The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

A classic and timeless tale will be told on a Red Deer stage next month.

Joy’s School of Dance and Danceway 21 Studio will stage Narnia Dec. 8 at the Red Deer College Arts Centre mainstage. Performances are set for 2 and 7 p.m.

“We are very excited to do this production. The dancers have all worked very hard and have shown so much commitment. We’ve joined with another studio to put this on which is great,” said Joy McIlwain, owner and dance instructor at Joy’s School of Dance. “It shows the dancers that dancing is not all about competition and studio going against studio, it’s about joining together to perform as a group and to make friends as well.”

The idea for the production came after the studio performed a short 10-minute version of production about four years ago for competition.

“It was a very condensed version of the production, and we thought it could be so much more. We wanted to expand it and invite an audience to come and join us on this journey,” said McIlwain.

According to Wikipedia, The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954, illustrated by Pauline Baynes and originally published in London between October 1950 and March 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage and film.

Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Of all the books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is perhaps one of the most popular and re-created of them all.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, completed by the end of March 1949 and published in 1950, tells the story of four children – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie. They discover a wardrobe in Professor Digory Kirke’s house that leads to the magical land of Narnia.

The Pevensie children help Aslan, a talking lion, save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who has reigned over the land of Narnia for a century of perpetual winter.

The children become kings and queens of this new found land and establish the Golden Age of Narnia, leaving a legacy to be rediscovered in later books.

“We had the light post and a beautiful Christmas tree that was covered in frost. When the two were side-by-side it screamed Narnia and that is where it started. We built the wardrobe out of scaffolding and parents of the dancers have been sewing costumes,” said McIlwain.

She added although the show is predominately danced in ballet, there will be other styles showcased as well.

“We tried to include a variety of styles of dance into the show to help portray the various characters,” said McIlwain. “The dancers also enjoy trying new styles of dance and it helps to broaden what they can do.”

There are about 50 people in the cast ranging in age of eight years and up, which are made up of up dancers from Joy’s School of Dance in Innisfail and Danceway 21 out of Trochu. They’ve been rehearsing for the performances since September.

Tickets for Narnia are $20 for adults and $15 for children and seniors. They are available through the Black Knight Ticket Centre by calling 403-755-6626 or online at www.bkticketcentre.ca.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com