March 7 2012 12:00 AM

Royal Winnipeg Ballet puts its 'Rouge' on at Wharton


The Moulin Rouge was the most famous Parisian cabaret of them all, creating such a legacy that it was immortalized on the big screen multiple times, including 2001’s eponymously titled musical starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has found a new way to tell the story. “Moulin Rouge — The Ballet”  follows Matthew, an artist traveling to Paris in order to expand his worldview. He visits the famous Moulin Rouge and is immediately dazzled by Nathalie, the cabaret’s up-and-coming star.  The two quickly begin a romance, but Zidler, the man in charge of the cabaret, becomes very possessive of Nathalie. The attention Zidler pays to Nathalie causes the rest of the veteran dancers to become envious of her meteoric rise. 

The ballet is only loosely based on the 2001 film, so many elements of the show are different (in other words, don´t expect to hear “Lady Marmalade” or “Diamonds Are a Girl´s Best Friend”).  

Jo-Ann Sundermeier, who stars as Nathalie, laughed while recalling how some audience members have found the show to be too dance-oriented.

 “The steps are the words that tell the story,” Sundermeier said in a phone interview.

While the ballet choreography was written by Jorden Morris, the interpretation of the steps is a collaboration between the choreographer and the dancers.

According to Sundermeier, Morris “lets you feel how you feel and develop a character in your own way.” 

‘Moulin Rouge — The Ballet’

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14

Wharton Center

819 Abbott Road, East Lansing

$25-$38; $15 MSU students