Magical dance: Houston Ballet brings 'Aladdin' to Chicago

2014-03-20T00:00:00Z 2014-03-27T23:44:27Z Magical dance: Houston Ballet brings 'Aladdin' to ChicagoEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

One of the most adventurous and enchanting tales will come to life in a dance format this weekend in Chicago.

Houston Ballet will present "Aladdin" March 22 and 23 at The Auditorium Theatre. Starring choreography by David Bintley, the production about a young man, his adventures in life revolving around romance, hidden treasure, mistaken identity and a magic lamp, debuted as a dance production in 2008. It was created for the New National Ballet of Japan in Tokyo.

"For me, personally, it's a fun production since I'm performing the role of Aladdin," said Connor Walsh, a principal dancer with Houston Ballet. "I have a tremendous amount of stage time and the production has wonderful special effects. The costumes are dazzling and the set design is beautiful."

Walsh said the dance show is a huge production featuring both Houston Ballet's main company and its second company. A live orchestra also performs the score, which Walsh said is a plus.

The story of "Aladdin" has long been appealing to the dancer.

"I grew up with the story and the movie," Walsh said. Performing as such a popular character and bringing him to life on stage, according to Walsh, isn't a great challenge because he feels he knows the character so well and is so familiar with everything about the story.

Walsh, who's been dancing since he was a child, looks forward to traveling to Chicago with Houston Ballet.

"Chicago is really a dance town," he said. He was last here to perform in the Chicago Dancing Festival.

The performer said his mother, who was a dancer, was an influence in his decision to originally begin taking dancing lessons. "I was an energetic kid and played soccer and things like that," he said. So it was natural for him to gravitate to the dance art. Walsh said dancing is also emotionally satisfying.

Houston Ballet, established in 1969, features a varied repertory, which Walsh enjoys performing.

"I like doing all different styles. That keeps anything from getting stale," Walsh said.

FYI: Houston Ballet will present "Aladdin" at 8 p.m. March 22 and 2 p.m. March 23. Tickets are $32 to $92. Visit ticketmaster.com/auditorium or call (800) 982-ARTS.

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