State Street Ballet to bring ‘The Jungle Book’ to Temecula

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State Street Ballet will present “The Jungle Book” at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater Saturday night, Feb. 22. Courtesy photo/David Bazemore and Rose Eichenbaum

“The Jungle Book,” choreographed by State Street Ballet Director Rodney Gustafson and set to an original score by Milan Svoboda from Prague will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.

The performance debuted during State Street’s 2011-2012 season and is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of stories.

“The complexities of the jungle and the personalities of its creatures come alive through movement, music, and the dynamic storytelling of some of life’s greatest moral lessons,” according to State Street’s description of the performance.

The full-length show was received well when it opened in 2011 and has been performed in many cities since, according to Gustafson.

“It was very well received since the production appeals to adults and children alike,” Gustafson said. “It is not the Disney version, so it was not created for just children.”

The play uses various dance disciplines throughout the performance.

“This ballet utilizes the skills of our professional ballet dancers but also incorporated very athletic movement,” Gustafson said. “The movement created for the monkeys in the jungle is particularly physical and very athletic. Working with dancers to create movement based on animals was challenging and very rewarding.”

The director said the show appeals to wide array of audiences.

“Unlike symphony and opera, dance not only incorporates music, scenery, storyline, etc.,” Gustafson said. “It is the physicality that seems to appeal and engage young audiences.”

Gustafson said highlights of the performance are the monkeys, the boy Mowgli, the snake Kaa, the panther Bagheera and the village girl who falls in love with Mowgli.

“We hope people go from interested to inspired by what they see,” he said. “We hope that a positive experience with a dance event will make them want to learn more about this art form.”

Learn more about the dance group from Santa Barbara at www.statestreetballet.com.

State Street Ballet will perform “The Jungle Book” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, 42051 Main Street, in Old Town Temecula.

Tickets range in price from $15 to $25 and Temecula Presents Dance Season package prices range from $50-$80 and include all performances.

All tickets can be purchased by visiting the theater box office, calling (866) 653-8696 or online at http://tickets.temeculatheater.org.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.