High school junior Ryan Crockett plays the lead, Ariel, in Power APAC’s “The Little Mermaid.” Photo courtesy Melanie Thortis Photography
Jacksonians need not break out their snorkels to feel like they are taking a gander under the sea this weekend. Each year, Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex, or Power APAC, produces a ballet for February featuring an all-student cast. This year, the dance department offers an adaptation of "The Little Mermaid."
The entire story is told through "a mixture of ballet and musical theater movement" as dancers perform to the lyricless orchestral arrangements, Marlena Duncan, chairperson of the Power APAC Dance Department, says. Duncan and dance faculty members Carleigh Dunbar and Bethany Philipp developed the choreography for the show, which features 95 student cast members and is assisted by a six-person senior production crew. Main characters include Ariel, played by high school junior Ryan Crockett, Flounder, played by eighth grader Serena McGlorthan, and more.
"These students exemplify the type of APAC dancer that we want to use as role models for all of our students," Duncan says about Crockett and McGlorthan. "They are disciplined, they have integrity, they have a very strong professional work ethic. I believe that these students will go on to continue their dance training in college. I believe they will continue to give back to their community through choreographing, performing or teaching dance within the community."
The Power APAC dance curriculum also covers dance history, composition, portfolio development, re sume building and more. "They're not just learning techniques. They're learning life skills, a way to be disciplined in this life, and a way to support themselves financially. ... They're coming into college with what a senior may have when leaving a college program," Duncan says.
To join Power APAC, rising fourth through eighth grade students must first be accepted into academics for Power APAC and Bailey APAC, and any high schooler may audition. Auditions will be held on Saturday, May 9, from 8 a.m. to noon. In addition to dance, programs include piano, voice, strings, theater arts and visual arts.
Duncan gives thanks to Jackson Public Schools for its part in supporting the Power APAC program for the 37 years since its founding.
"Jackson Public Schools is the only district in the state of Mississippi that took a risk on creating such a fine arts program for grades 4-12, and that is a strong positive not only for JPS but for Mississippi," she says. "This has been a fine arts magnet program, and it is the only program of its kind in the state of Mississippi."
The show will be held on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22, starting 6:30 p.m. at the Power APAC Auditorium (1120 Riverside Drive). Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students. For more information or to learn of other upcoming shows, visit jackson.k12.ms.us/power or call 601-960-5387.