FM Ballet Brings “The Wizard of Oz” to Life Saturday, Sunday

Even though the film is nearly 80 years old, people across generations likely grew up watching MGM’s magical film “The Wizard of Oz.” Even mentioning the film’s title puts “We’re Off to See the Wizard” in your head.

This Saturday and Sunday, the Fargo-Moorhead Ballet brings the magic tale of Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion, the Scarecrow and more to life at the Fargo Theatre with artistic director Matthew Gasper’s ingenious choreography.

“Every year I try to choose a ballet that will bring in a new audience,” Gasper said. “This year we chose ‘The Wizard of Oz’ because of the wonderful story and the memories I have around the musical.”

Principle dancer Teah Poyner (middle), who plays Dorothy, strikes a pose during rehearsal at the FM Ballet studio.

The production features ballet dancers ranging from 6 to 35+ years of age, with principal dancer Teah Poyner as Dorothy. A full cast list is available here.

A challenge of directing the performance, Gasper said, was choosing the music. He wanted to find classical music that would resemble the music used in the film, like ‘We’re Off to See the Wizard,’ ‘Over the Rainbow,’ and so on, but he’s looking forward to bringing his own rendition of the story to Fargo-Moorhead.

Dancers rehearse at the FM Ballet studio.

“Choreographing from scratch is a major under-taking,” Gasper said. “I’m excited to see the production come together and for new audiences to go, ‘This is ballet? I love it!’”

Performances are at 2pm and 7pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday at the Fargo Theatre. To purchase tickets or learn more about the FM Ballet, visit fmballet.org.

Photo by Ariel Wethern.

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