Petit Papillon School of Ballet and Ballet Theater of New Hampshire has been in the Concord community for 30 years. Artistic Director Patricia Walker came up with the name "Petit Papillon," which translates to "little butterfly" in French, because of its symbolic meaning. "Butterflies symbolize growth and change. When working with children, it is all about growth and change."
Students at Petit Papillon range from age 4 to adults. They travel from all over the state to the Concord studio, located in the Green Street Community Center. Dance classes are typically held two times a week. Petit Papillon offers classes in ballet, modern dance, jazz, creative movement and yoga.
Every year, Petit Papillon puts on a big performance. This year's show is based on the book "The Lost Princess of Oz," by L. Frank Baum. (Yes, the man who wrote the Wizard of Oz).
Walker and associate artistic director Kelly Doremus choreographed the entire ballet themselves. Emmy award nominee Ward Dilmore of Hampton Falls wrote the music for the show.
Patricia said it took her and Kelly five months to choreograph the dance. They listened to the music repeatedly while envisioning their dancers. "Members of Petit Papillon often participate in the creative process as well. This helps them grow as artists and develop self-esteem," says Patricia.
This year marks the fourth time the company has performed "The Lost Princess of Oz." Petit Papillon first debuted it in 2000 in Concord and then traveled to London in 2001, where dancers performed it twice.
The story is about a wicked magician, Ugu (played by Hannah Durant of Hopkinton), who steals Cayke the cookie maker's (played by Caila Hawkins of Concord) magic cake pan. Ugu also steals the fairy princess of Ozma and other magical things from the magical kingdom. Dorothy (played by Ginger Gates of Pembroke) and friends try to find Ozma while Cayke and Frog Man (played by Carissa Anderson of Sanbornton) go and search for Ugu. Along the way, each group is challenged by merry-go-round mountains, giants, bears, magical trees and fire.
Anderson has been dancing at Petit Papillon for 14 years. Currently a senior in high school, Anderson will go on to dance for Connecticut College next fall. Anderson says the morals of the play are "do not steal" and "love and good conquer all."
Tickets for the show, to be performed on March 28, can be purchased in numerous locations, including Gibson's Bookstore, 27 South Main St., Ballard's Novelty and Party Shop, 7 Broadway, and the studios of Petit Papillon in the Green Street Community Center, 39 Green St.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children and seniors. Group rates are also available. Showtimes are 2 and 7 p.m.
Saturday's show will be a pleasure for all ages. The dancers and handcrafted costumes will mesmerize young children, and the morals/deeper meaning of the plot will intrigue the adults.
Overall it will be an unbelievable performance. See you there!