|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.