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.”
Great Lansing Ballet Company
2 p.m. Sunday, April 7
Pattengill Auditorium at Pattengill Middle School
626 Marshall St., Lansing
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $8 for children under 12