June 25, 2018
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  • Diego Sosa (Aladdin) and Emily Brennan (Princess Samira) rehearsed one of their dances for director and choreographer Dianna Cuatto ahead of the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Diego Sosa (Aladdin) and Emily Brennan (Princess Samira) rehearsed one of their dances for director and choreographer Dianna Cuatto ahead of the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”
  • Director and choreographer Dianna Cuatto demonstrates how she wants certain moves to look in the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Director and choreographer Dianna Cuatto demonstrates how she wants certain moves to look in the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”
  • Diego Sosa (Aladdin) and Emily Brennan (Princess Samira) are the leads in the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Diego Sosa (Aladdin) and Emily Brennan (Princess Samira) are the leads in the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”
  • Diego Sosa (Aladdin) and Emily Brennan (Princess Samira) are the leads in the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Diego Sosa (Aladdin) and Emily Brennan (Princess Samira) are the leads in the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s upcoming performance of “Aladdin.”

Ballet Theatre Of Maryland To Present “Aladdin”

Maya Pottiger
Maya Pottiger's picture
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February 20, 2018

The Ballet Theatre of Maryland is gearing up for its production of “Aladdin,” but this isn’t Disney’s “Aladdin.” The production follows the same storyline, but with an abundance of new characters.

“I took the original story and the Disney version and added some things of my own,” said director and choreographer Dianna Cuatto.

The two most notable differences are the omission of the magic carpet and Abu, Aladdin’s monkey sidekick. Abu is copyrighted by Disney and cannot be used in other productions. As for the magic carpet, it doesn’t work in a live performance.

“We have six weaver birds who work with the Genie to be the magic carpet,” said costume designer Karissa Kralik, who also portrays one of the birds. “We’re his tagalongs. We help out a little bit.”

Aladdin, portrayed by Diego Sosa, has a “band of thieves” to work with him instead of Abu, Cuatto said.

Other new characters include a sorceress who protects the Genie from Jamal (Disney’s Jafar); two assassins who work with Jamal; and the queen of the cobras, who is Jamal’s minion, according to Cuatto.

Another minor change is Disney’s Princess Jasmine is named Princess Samira in the ballet’s production. Emily Brennan, who portrays Samira, was the understudy the last time the Ballet Theatre of Maryland put on “Aladdin.”

“As a child watching Jasmine in the movie, she’s such a strong princess,” Brennan said. “She doesn’t go for what everyone says; she does what she wants.”

Kralik and Brennan both said their favorite costume is Samira’s sparkly, gold outfit. Kralik’s mother Karen, a former costume mistress, completely redesigned the costume for Brennan.

For Kralik, the hardest part of the costume design was bringing the costumes to the correct time period.

“For this, it was a lot of mix-and-match and a lot of digging through the costume closet to find what I was really looking for,” Kralik said. “Things are hopefully going to be very bright, very colorful on stage.”

Cuatto selected music by Korsakov and Borodin, which Cuatto described as being “transcendent for this setting in Arabia.”

“It matches the story perfectly,” Brennan said. “I think she’s done a really great job of hearing the music and seeing the steps, as we say. She hears the music first, and she can see what part of the ballet that goes in.”

Audience members can expect magic, romance and “wonderful dancing to wonderful music,” Cuatto said.

“I think it can take us out of the drudgery and out of the hardcore negative things we hear of every day in the media and bring some hope and enlightenment and also some sheer joy,” Cuatto said.

The Ballet Theatre of Maryland will present “Aladdin” at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts on February 23, 24 and 25. Ticket prices range from $30 to $52 and can be purchased at www.balletmaryland.org.


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