Charles Leslie likes to keep audiences guessing, and the director of the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College has outdone himself this weekend.
Continuing whats already been a diverse fall lineup, Leslies got an afternoon of kids theater lined up for Saturday followed by an all-female dance company from Cuba on Monday night.
On Saturday, the Omaha Theatre Company presents If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, a stage version of the childrens book by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.
Actions have consequences, and if you give a cat a cupcake, you never know what might happen. Such is the premise of the play, which is tailored for children 4 to 7 years of age. The musical production explores a world where a child can talk to her pet, and it talks back.
In adapting the book for the stage, playwright Brian Guehring focused on exaggeration and what might emerge in the imagination of the child protagonist. For example, a living room aquarium becomes a beach scene with a 10-foot tall beach ball. When Mothers treadmill transforms into a gym, the child and her cat are spirited from a rock-climbing wall to Mount Everest, where they meet the Abominable Snowman. And so on.
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake relies on audience participation, which in turn creates learning opportunities for young theatergoers.
Monday brings a learning opportunity of a much different kind with the arrival of one of Cubas most prestigious and popular dance ensembles, Lizt Alfonso Danza Cuba.
Established in 1991 by renowned Cuban choreographer Lizt Alfonso, Lizt Alfonso Danza Cuba combines the folkloric dance traditions of Spain and Cuba, creating what the company calls a new dance vocabulary.
Alfonso is known for her tenacity, simplicity and demanding spirit. In addition to directing the Folkloric Group of the Spanish Society Concepción Arenal and its dance academy, she also created and directed the dance group Iberian Dances for the Dance Promotion Center of Cuba. Her current troupe is the resident dance company of Havanas Grand Theatre.
Lizt Alfonsos latest production Fuerza y Compas speaks to the unique Cuban experience, and she describes it as a Cuban way to perform the combination of flamenco, ballet, Afro-Cuban and Cuban styles and rhythms. Both sensual and virtuous, Fuerza y Compas is performed by Danza Cubas all-female ensemble and accompanied by a live band.
The dancers appear in a variety of costumes, including the characteristic voluminous skirts that swirl and flow as the troupe performs its powerful routines, moving in perfect unison through the sets. Offering an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary, Danza Cuba showcases an elegance and artistic rigor that has earned the company a unique reputation.