World Premiere of Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story Kicks Off Hyde Park School of Dance’s 25th Anniversary Season

Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD) celebrates its home base—Hyde Park—and its hometown—Chicago—with a world premiere to kick off its 25th anniversary season: Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story. Performances are June 15–17, 2018 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago.

Staged by HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye, ballet mistress and choreographer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Amira is the story of a young girl forced to leave her native country without her mother, arriving in Chicago and struggling to make a home in Hyde Park. The story follows the events of the traditional Cinderella story, leading to a Masked Ball in Hyde Park and a young man who becomes smitten with Amira. When she runs away at midnight, he and his friends search various Chicago neighborhoods trying to find her—Little India, downtown, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bronzeville, and Hyde Park—until they meet at a place that is special to both of them.

“Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story celebrates Chicago’s South Side and its diverse neighborhoods, as well as the perseverance of immigrants to make a home in a new place,” commented Tye. “We also hope to provide positive images of young girls as strong, smart, and capable.”

The cast includes more than 130 dancers age seven to adult. Tye is directing the production and collaborating with seven HPSD faculty members to create the choreography. Tye is also working closely with Costume Designer Jacquelyn Sanders on this modern Cinderella story and professional photographer Damien Thompson to create projection scenery featuring the neighborhoods of Chicago.

University of Chicago Lab School senior Olivia Issa, who is performing the title role in two of the four performances, is also involved in a special feature of the costumes. “Olivia is thrilled to combine her love of dance and her curiosity and drive for computer coding to help create Amira’s magical gown, which will light up, and the glowing fireflies for her transition into her ball costume,” said Tye.

Hyde Park School of Dance – History
Tye founded Hyde Park School of Dance in 1993, after the School of Chicago Ballet, where she had been teaching, closed its doors. Starting with two teachers, an accompanist, and 30 students in one studio, HPSD has grown to a staff of 38 part-time faculty, accompanists, and administrators; more than 500 students; and 100+ hours of weekly instruction in four studios at three neighborhood locations. During the past 25 years, Hyde Park School of Dance has grown and prospered, while remaining true to its commitment to Training, Performance, and Community.August Tye
Before coming to Chicago in 1991 to teach at the School of Chicago Ballet, under the direction of prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, Tye performed with the Kalamazoo Ballet Company. She is a two-time recipient of the Monticello Choreographers Award and has choreographed for companies throughout the country. She has performed with Joel Hall Dancers, Salt Creek Ballet, and Second City Ballet. Tye started at Lyric Opera as a dancer in Un ballo in maschera during the 1992–93 season. Since then, she has worked on more than 38 productions as dancer, choreographer, or ballet mistress. Her credits include remounting the choreography of Lyric’s Iphigénie en Tauride at San Francisco Opera and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and remounting Lyric’s Salome at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan. She is thrilled to make her Dallas Opera debut in April 2018 as the original choreographer for Bob Falls’ Lyric production of Don Giovanni. Tye met her husband, opera singer Wilbur Pauley, when they appeared together in Lyric’s 1994 production of Candide. They were married in 1998 and have three children—all of whom will dance in Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story.

Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story takes place Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m.;
Saturday, June 16 at 1 and 6 p.m.; and Sunday, June 17 at 2 p.m.
at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street in Chicago.
Tickets, which go on sale May 8, are $25 for adult general admission seating,
$20 for seniors (ages 65+), $15 for children ages six through 18 and
students of all ages with ID, and free (ticket required) for children five and younger.
Tickets and information are available at773-493-8498 or hydeparkdance.org/tickets.

Hyde Park School of Dance
Founded in 1993 as The Hyde Park School of Ballet, Hyde Park School of Dance provides opportunities for students of all ages and abilities to study, perform and create classical and contemporary dance at the highest levels of discipline and artistry. Through high quality training and performance, HPSD’s goal is to cultivate a love of dance and strength of body, mind and character that will benefit students throughout their lives. Led by Founding Artistic Director August Tye, the faculty is committed to helping children experience the empowering rewards of self-discipline, hard work and collaboration in a supportive and nurturing environment that values healthy bodies.