March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Greater Lansing Ballet celebrates Earth Day with ecologically themed performance


The Greater Lansing Ballet
Co.’s next performance is not just entertainment — it has a message for the
audience as well. The “Mother Earth” ballet, which was performed for the first
time in 2002, stemmed from choreographer and artistic director
Barbara Banasikowski Smith’s love of
nature. A trip to Xcaret, an ecological park in Mexico, inspired the ballet,
which tells the story of Mother Earth and the affects of human intervention on
the environment.

“Mother Earth,
to me, has taken on a human quality,” Smith said. “She embraces and loves her
children, who are the animals. It’s really based on ecological issues, and how
humans have tampered with the delicate systems of life, and abusing the
beautiful resources of Mother Earth, and Mother Earth cries for her children.”

The ballet shows
how the different creatures of Earth come together to make up Mother Earth. The
butterflies are her arms, lions and zebras are her legs and birds are her
voice. In the end, Lady Hope arrives, to represent that with hope, people can
heal the world. Smith said that environmental issues have come to the forefront
in today’s society, even more than when she initially staged it.

Mary Linda Dunn,
who was in the original ballet and performs the role of Mother Earth, said the
play has many educational points and emphasizes how important it is to protect
the environment. She said it has raised her awareness of educational issues,
including the British Petroleum oil spill. She compared it to the Exxon Valdez
spill, that happened when she was young; she did not understand the impact of
the spill at the time.

“There are so
many environmental issues that are affected, and it raises the questions
through the ballet,” she said. “It’s been an overwhelming process to look at
this idea that if we look at the everything, we can see almost a
personification of this being that is the Earth. I would hope that people
walking away from the projection would desire to get more involved with Mother
Earth and the resources that we have to use, especially in our beautiful state,
that we continue to protect it for further generations.”

“Mother Earth”

Great Lansing
Ballet Company

2 p.m. Sunday,
April 7

Auditorium at Pattengill Middle School

626 Marshall
St., Lansing

Tickets are $15
for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $8 for children under 12

For tickets,
call GLBC at (517) 372-9887