Open to interpretation
David Roxander finds a place for each of his students' talents in his original, full-length ballet, "Surealia."
Roxander, an internationally acclaimed dancer and owner of Studio Roxander in Medford, first wrote and choreographed the production with his mother, Jody White, in 1996. The ballet was a favorite for 11 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it sold out every night it ran at the 2,000-seat Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium and always received a standing ovation, Roxander says.
"Surealia" was designed as a series of one- to four-minute vignettes loosely connected by a common character, Tim, who travels with his friend, Imagination, through a magical place called Surealia.
The plot is so abstract and malleable that new vignettes can be added and old ones eliminated without any loss to the production, Roxander says.
"While I like ballets like 'Peter Pan,' 'Oliver' and 'The Nutcracker,' at some moment in time those were original works, and the original cast is always the best cast because it was made for them," Roxander says. "But 'Surealia' gets remade every year and gets an original cast every year."
Studio Roxander, under the direction of Roxander and his wife, Elyse, will present "Surealia" at 7 p.m. Friday, June 15, and 3 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Crater High School Performing Arts Center, 655 N. Third St., Central Point.
Fifty-five dancers, ages 6 to 17; two professional dancers, John Speed Orr of Smuin Ballet in San Francisco and Ian Buchanan of Tulsa Ballet in Oklahoma; and David Roxander will perform in the studio's production.
Jake Roxander, 10, will play Tim, David Roxander will play Imagination and Elaina Stranberg, 7, will play "the parasol girl." The other students, dressed in bright colors, will play the Surealians.
A prerecorded, poetic narration by Michael Williams and James Costy helps to move the audience from scene to scene, Roxander says.
The ballet's soundtrack ranges from classic to pop, and Roxander even created a scene specifically to showcase the vocal talents of one of his dancers, 18-year-old Ana Marcu, who will sing Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy."
The dancing, which ranges from very athletic to very balletic, will take place in front of a whimsical canvas of trees that move throughout the show.
"It's really weird how people have different interpretations (of 'Surealia') depending on their own life experiences," Roxander says, comparing the ballet with Cirque du Soleil.
"How do you describe Cirque du Soleil? Is it a story? Well, yeah. What is it about? Well, it's about anything."
Tickets cost $14 to $20 and $10 to $16 for seniors and ages 11 and younger. Tickets are available at www.studioroxander.com and the studio, 1221 Court St., Medford, by calling 541-773-7272 or at the door.