Velveteen Rabbit takes centre stage in Bible Hill

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Professional ballet company performs children’s book for area schools

BIBLE HILL – Seeing the Velveteen Rabbit come to life before their eyes has left a lasting impression with Bible Hill students.

Ballet Jorgen, a professional ballet company from Toronto, visited area schools this week to perform the Velveteen Rabbit for elementary aged children. On Friday, the ballet was at Bible Hill Central Elementary School and East Court Road Elementary School students joined the fun.

“I thought it was cool. Not many people could do it and be that quick and all over the place,” said Bible Hill Central student Janna MacLean, of the show that tells the story of the children’s novel about a stuffed rabbit and its quest to become real through the love of his owner.

“I liked how they could do a bunch of different things. It makes me happy to see it … (and) they are so flexible!” exclaimed the Grade 4 student, whose favourite part was when the boy and bunny were dancing.

Bret Carroll, a Grade 4 student at East Court elementary, was impressed with how the actors could bring to life the story of the rabbit.

“They tell a story using movement and that would be hard to do. The hardest would be to have it all ready like that,” said Carroll, adding his nickname is bunny, which he felt suited the performance.

Ballet Jorgen’s Heather Lumsden-Ruegg, who portrayed the Velveteen Rabbit, said it’s always a joy to bring ballet to places like Colchester County.

“When we come here there’s more appreciation because not everyone gets to see this and it makes it more real for them,” said Lumsden-Ruegg, who has been with the ballet company for two years.

She added the children were very receptive, laughing often and showing sadness at appropriate times in the performance. They also asked questions after the show, including how long it takes to get ready and about costume changes.

“It’s great to see the kids still excited after it’s over.”

The ballet was brought to the area thanks to Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River MLA Lenore Zann, who has helped the company visit twice before (Emperor’s New Clothes and A World To Shake).

“It’s a great performance to have leading up to Easter,” said Zann, confirming it cost $1,400 to bring the ballet for three performances for four schools and was shown to a total of about 1,300 students. The funds came out of the MLA’s advertising budget.

“It’s a great opportunity for rural kids to see professional ballet when many probably never had that chance before and it doesn’t come to Truro often,” said Zann.

Twitter: tdnMonique

Organizations: Grade 4, Bible Hill Central Elementary School, East Court Road Elementary School

Geographic location: Bible Hill, Toronto, Colchester County

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