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‘Jungle Book’ Ballet Features Local Talent

SOCORRO, N.M. October 28, 2011 – The Jungle Book, en pointe, is coming to New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and a number of Socorro children will be part of the Performing Arts Series presentation.

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 The State Street Ballet brings another show to Socorro this year, 'The Jungle Book,' once again featuring local children in the ensemble cast.

State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based troupe known for its innovative take on timeless classics, will recreate the Rudyard Kipling story, first told by Walt Disney in the 1967 film by the same name.

The Jungle Book, in fact, was the final Disney film to receive Uncle Walt’s personal care and attention before he died in December of 1966.

Told through dance, the Jungle Book is the story of orphaned boy Mowgli, saved by Raksha the She Wolf from a tiger attack, and then raised in the jungle of India by the wolf family. When it is decided by the jungle council that Mowgli needs to live with humans, he embarks on a journey with Bagheera the panther and Baloo, the lovable, happy-go-lucky bear. Through his adventures with jungle characters like the Monkey King Louie, the hypnotic snake Kaa, and the beautiful young girl Messua, he eventually realizes where he belongs and the value of friendship.

The Jungle Book marks the second PAS appearance by the State Street Ballet, which brought The Nutcracker to town in November 2010, according to PAS Director Ronna Kalish.

“We had such good feedback from The Nutcracker, that we’re bringing the State Street Ballet back by popular demand,” Kalish said.

“The children enjoyed performing alongside the professional dancers, and the special effects and costumes were truly captivating,” she said.

Founded in 1994 as a nonprofit organization, the State Street Ballet remains dedicated to promoting original dance through public performances and educational outreach.

The company tours domestically and internationally, and boasts a 90 percent rebooking rate. The Jungle Book is one of its original touring productions.

The State Street Ballet is known for taking classic storylines and giving them a modern twist; that, along with digital technology, state-of-the-art sets, exciting choreography and lavish lighting make for an unforgettable performance.

“Plus,” said Kalish, “children in the audience will be mesmerized by the professional dancers in their animal masks and colorful costumes, right down to the swishy tails.”

“This performance is a delightful way to introduce youth to the beauty of ballet,” she said. “The story is simple, but enchanting,” Kalish continued, adding that everyone who sees the performance will leave with a smile on their face.”

Tickets for the Jungle Book are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $10 for youths 17 and under.

Tickets are available at the Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes, Burrito Tyme drive-up or at the door.

Sponsors for the performance are Don and Rosie Tripp, Socorro Springs, Presbyterian Healthcare Services (Socorro General Hospital), Wells Fargo, the New Mexico Tech Student Association, New Mexico Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Best Western.

-- NMT --

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech