Directed by Robin T. Rich-McGhie, performed by The Pointe Studio of Dance & Elise Jonell Performance Ensemble, RJ Reynolds Memorial Auditorium
Tickets and showtimes can be found here.
Just in time for the release of Disney’s highly-anticipated Lion King remake, the Pointe Dance Studio performs their take on the popular story at this year’s festival. The show, which is directed by Robin T. Rich-McGhie, takes the form of a theatrical ballet, with characters that convey emotion and portray the story through movement rather than speech.
“There’s acting but no singing,” Rich-McGhie says. “No words being spoken. It’s more through drama or creative action. It’s kind of like something that we’ve put our own spin on.”
She says much of the music and story is the same as the original film as well as the hit Broadway show. The dancers, who range from 6 to 21 years old, perform a variety of genres on stage including ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop. And just like the newly released film, which stars Beyoncé and Donald Glover as the main characters, the Pointe’s portrayal also uses a mostly black cast.
“There are a lot of community theaters, and sometimes African-American children don’t get an opportunity to be leads or have starring roles,” Rich-McGhie says. “Our show is for everyone, but we specifically wanted to create opportunities in performing arts.”
Speaking from her own personal experience of being a black, female director, Rich-McGhie says representation is crucial for kids who want to pursue the arts. She says when she would go watch productions, the black kids would often be in background roles or small speaking parts.
“People don’t take a conscious effort to consider pulling this person to the front or putting them in a way that they can shine,” she says. “If we don’t take the opportunity to highlight what we’re doing, no one will. It’s about putting yourself in a position to be seen.”