Polar Express adaptation features local residents

December 1, 2011

By Staff

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With a cast featuring performers from 3 to well over 60 years old, including residents of Newcastle, the third annual Blue Dog Dance production of “The Polar Express” will be Dec. 16 and 17 at Renton’s Carco Theater.

Performances are at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 3 and 6 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets are $10 and are available online at www.bluedogdance.com.

After choreographing a “Nutcracker” performance, Blue Dog Dance Director Barbara Walshe was looking for something new to try — something to showcase many different aspects of performance art as well as ballet. Inspiration came while listening to the soundtrack of “The Polar Express” with her family.

She envisioned tapping elves, flipping wolves, dancing reindeer and breakdancing chefs with singers and actors to help tell the story of a child who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and ends up on a train to the North Pole along with other doubters.

The production’s sets have become more elaborate each year.

Walshe’s first production used dance interpretation, singers and actors in pantomime to tell the story. The second year, she added speaking parts and more singing roles.

This year, the studio was awarded a Make Art Happen in Renton grant from the Renton Municipal Arts Commission. The grant will pay for a new set mural of the North Pole.

More than 90 local performers from Bellevue, Newcastle, Issaquah, Maple Valley and Renton make up the production.

This year the production is under the acting direction of Lisa Edwards, a Newcastle resident.

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