A Performance of Biblical Proportions: 2

Noah’s Ark Appears in the Conejo Valley

On Saturday, May 20, Pacific Festival Ballet will present an encore performance of “Noahʼs Ark,” a multimedia presentation featuring ballet, contemporary dance, aerial work, video and special effects performed by guest artists and select students from California Dance Theatre, the companyʼs training school. Another bravado is the original 90-minute score recorded in Russia with a 60-piece orchestra.

The second collaboration between Pacific Festival Balletʼs Artistic Director Kim Maselli and composer Eric Allaman, “Noahʼs Ark” is a retelling of the well-known biblical story. This theatrical ballet transports the audience on a melodic voyage as this timeless saga is brought to life through dance.

“Our production is of epic proportions,” observed Maselli, “rich in drama, colorful characters, hope and a storyline that allows me to frame Noah’s personal journey against the most compelling of backdrops.”

Such an undertaking went beyond the bounds of mere ballet, Maselli observed, “which is why I felt inspired to take a multimedia approach to telling Noahʼs tale.” The flood and other scenes are film-projected behind the dancers on a 40-foot screen, delivering a powerful impact.

With a blank canvas but limited budgets, the company was challenged to find creative ways to remain faithful to the storyʼs essential message while conveying the scale of its undertaking. The innovative use of hand puppets allowed one dancer for each animal represented while suggesting the notion of two by two.

“We have created a beautiful balance in ‘Noahʼs Ark’,” noted Eric Allaman, Pacific Festival Ballet’s resident composer. “The music had to reflect the magnitude of the story, from the gathering of animals, to the devastation of the Flood and on to the promise of a new beginning. There is a rich tapestry of emotion woven into the score.”

Pacific Festival Ballet’s out-of-the-box thinking is a signature of the company, but the dazzle element for which they have become known is also there. “One of our dancers who is also an aerialist will be performing the role of the Dove on silks suspended 20 feet in the air,” reminiscent of something one might see in Cirque du Soleil, Maselli noted. “It is breathtaking the way this conveys a sense of flight and freedom.”

Pacific Festival Ballet presents “Noahʼs Ark” on Saturday, May 20 at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com, in person at the Civic Arts Plaza box office or by phone at 800.745.3000. More information can obtained at the companyʼs website, PacFestBallet.org, or by calling 805.906.2087.