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JUMP! Scenes from the Polar Express

JUMP!, Providence’s premiere youth dance company will perform its holiday classic based on the book THE POLAR EXPRESS by local author, Chris Van Allsburg on December 21 at 2pm and 6 pm and on December 22 at 2 pm at The Nathan Bishop School, Providence, RI.

Photo Credit: Mary Paula Hunter
Photo Credit: Mary Paula Hunter

This original dance-drama delights audiences of all ages. With a variety of dance styles and a weave of musical genres, SCENES FROM THE POLAR EXPRESS is both grand entertainment and a lesson in the timeless value of faith and belief.
JUMP! dancers are impeccably trained dancers who bring Van Allsburg’s simple but evocative story to life.  Costumes, creative props and set pieces add to the unforgettable experience of JUMP!’s “Polar”.

I recently caught up with artistic director, Mary-Paula Hunter to find out more about this collaborative production.

Mary Paula Hunter: “Polar” came about in 1999 when I discussed creating a holiday ballet with the J! dancers.  Jump! was just beginning at the time.  It was a new concept:  teach dancers how to choreograph and create great dance works.  I would not be the sole choreographer but we would make work collaboratively–I would act as mentor and at times choreographer but the overall work would come from the company.  Fueling a new generation of knowledgeable, skilled choreographers was my goal.

Dancers liked the idea of having their holiday performance.  In other words, if not the Nutcracker then what?  Could we have something as popular at the holiday time?  Could we compete with such a venerable production as the Nutcracker.

Photo Credit: Mary Paula Hunter
Photo Credit: Mary Paula Hunter
We used a locally produced book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and thought about how to best produce a danced version of the book. Although the final production came together a little at a time, the best work we decided, should come in carefully designed/choreographed “bits”. It was always based in a weave of dance styles and music.  We eschewed the Christmas essence and took the idea of “faith” and the idea of collage–a collage of music from around the world and our response to that music choreographically.  The overall production is almost like a variety show with a thread running through it and this is the journey based in belief or faith.
Photo Credit: Mary Paula Hunter
Photo Credit: Mary Paula Hunter

Don’t miss this year’s SCENES FROM THE POLAR EXPRESS!  Tickets are available on JUMP!’S website: jumpdancecompany.org. All tickets are $10.

 

 

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Written by Suzanne Cadge