'Snow White,' showcase of dance genres to be performed in Norwalk

Cary Ashby • Jun 5, 2018 at 2:00 AM

Catherine Tomczyk had been asking Amy Bond for a meaty role in the next Cynthia Kniffin Academy (CKDA) performance for quite a while.

Now with this weekend’s production of the ballet “Snow White,” the Huron teenager has her wish.

“I’m so excited that I’m the evil queen. I remember back in January being told that the show was ‘Snow White’ and spending the entire afternoon talking about how I hoped I would be the Evil Queen before Mrs. (Amy) Bond called and told me my role. I think that it was a solid five minutes after I hung up with Mrs. Bond before I stopped shrieking out of happiness,” said Tomczyk.

“She has been asking for years to have a very dramatic role — and she got it,” added Bond, the CKDA director who choreographed and staged “Snow White” with teacher and professional dancer Kassie Lee. “She (Tomczyk) is doing very well. Just wait until you see the costume.” 

More than 100 area dancers — ranging in age from 4 to adult — will perform in the CKDA production of “Snow White and Divertissements” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center at Norwalk High School. Regular seating is $10 and patron tickets are $20.

The show begins with the “divertissements” portion, a showcase of different dance genres. Bond said one of the featured performances is “a sassy jazz number” choreographed by CKDA alumna Hannah Bond, who currently is a dance major at Wright State University. There are other performances choreographed by Sarah Beard.

“This is not just a performance for the families of the dancers; this is for the community,” said Amy Bond, who encourages people who don’t normally experience ballet to attend this production.

Playing Snow White is Macey Phillips, of Norwalk. Much like Tomczyk, she too was emotional when she learned she would be playing the lead role.

“When I found out I was cast as Snow White, I immediately burst into tears. Although it has been challenging, I am honored to receive the part,” Phillips said.

“Dance has provided me with so many things throughout the years. Not only have I been taught ballet technique and other life skills, I have found a family that will last forever.”

Amy Bond said Snow White has a “mother-like personality” and with Phillips being “a kid person,” she is doing well with the dancers playing the 10 dwarves. You read that correctly; this production has three extra dwarves. 

“The kids love her. She is bright, lively and very caring,” Bond said. “They are all adorable and work well together.”

The dwarves are played by: Autumn Featheringill, Shayleigh Foreman, Kendall Hammersmith, Hannah Hess, Auggie Houtz, Alice Myers, Katy Scherley, Hannah Vavroch, Kaitlyn Walcott and Mimi Woolaver.

“She (Phillips) is very classically dressed — a beautiful outfit that we could of what is traditionally Snow White,” Bond said, referring to the character’s blue bodice and cap sleeves.

Phillips and Tomczyk are part of the CKDA “seniors” in this show: Michaela Jackson, of Sandusky; Heyley Ketchum, of Edison High School; Madelon Kilbury, of Huron; and Devin Marshall, of Norwalk.

Kilbury dances a solo as the Poison Apple.

“In this story, we took a twist,” said Bond, explaining the dance which Lee choreographed. “We morphed an apple into a dancer who will entice (Snow White) to eat the apple.

“The Evil Queen is orchestrating it. She conjures the magic for Snow White to eat the apple,” Bond added.

Tomczyk said she enjoys playing the villain, but her challenge is putting “evil into every single movement and facial expression or else I'm not portraying the character correctly for the audience.”

“Every role in a performance requires acting, but this is the biggest role I've had where if I break character, everyone will see (it). But I love the challenge of being such a fierce and robust character,” she added.

Rounding out the main cast are: Brandon Boetticher, (the King), JD Smith (Prince), Jake Sommers, (Huntsman), all of Norwalk; and Lisa Wood-Hill, of Huron, as the Queen Mother.

Rehearsals started in January. Bond said the goal is for the dancers to get the numbers down in about two months, so they spend the rest of the rehearsals making them “show-worthy.”

“We have 10 local athletes taking the stage dressed to the hilt in their authentic kilts, only made possible by the amazing CKDA wardrobe ladies. The partners are an elite group of male athletes and actors who willingly bring their brains and their brawn to the unlikely role of partnering lovely female dancers. We call it ‘strength training with live weights,’” she added. 

All the seniors’ costumes have been made by area seamstresses. 

“They have to hold up through partnering and dancing,” Bond said. “Once the dancers are on stage, they realize the power that their character or role has.”

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