Out & About

May 29, 2014

Drama under the sea

PLATTSBURGH — “The Little Mermaid – the Ballet” anchors “An Evening of the Arts” presented by the Adirondack Dance Company.

On Friday, May 30, a 59-member ensemble takes the stage in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium at SUNY Plattsburgh.

The company came up with the idea last fall to produce the Hans Christian Andersen classic and wrote a grant to stage it.


In Andersen’s 1837 tale, the Little Mermaid dwells in an underwater kingdom with her mer-family.

Like her five siblings before her, she surfaces at age 15 to observe the above world. While there, she sees Prince Eric, whom she saves from drowning.

Yearning for his love and an eternal soul, she strikes a deal with the Sea Witch and trades her beautiful voice for human legs so she can live happily ever after with the prince.

“It’s not the Disney story, and we did not use any of the Disney music or anything,” said Kathy Koester, artistic director.

“We’re following the traditional Hans Christian Andersen story, with one exception. He wrote two endings to the fairy tale. In one ending, Ariel’s dies, and her soul goes up to heaven. The second ending, Eric professes his love for Ariel and goes to live under the sea with her.”


“The Little Mermaid” is not an official storybook ballet, like “Sleeping Beauty” or “Cinderella.”

“So, I had to pick all the music that I used, and I had to choreograph it all from scratch,” Koester said.

“There was no old ballet to follow, like ‘Nutcracker.’ You have traditional choreography there. There was nothing for me to look at for this ballet, so I had to do it all myself.”


Koester selected obscure music from “Fountains of Rome.”

“One was about a Roman Festival,” she said. “It was music I was not familiar with but had an interesting melody line that flows through the ballet.”

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