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Having fun as a step-sister in ‘Cinderella’

March 22, 2019

Fort Wayne Ballet and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic present “Cinderella” this weekend.

Jillian Schepis Lee, who dances as one of the stepsisters, Anastasia, in several of the weekend’s performances, says the story is similar to the Disney version of “Cinderella” that audiences are familiar with : just with a few more fairies to help the title character get ready for the ball.

“This is the perfect opportunity for people who have never been to the ballet to come, because everybody knows the story,” says Schepis Lee, a soloist with the ballet company.

Though playing Cinderella might be the dream of some, Schepis Lee had something different in mind for these performances.

“I actually was hoping that I would get to be one of the stepsisters, because a lot of what they do is comedy-based,” she says.

While there are classic ballet techniques in the movements of all the dancers around them, the stepsister roles are heavy with body language to silently convey humor. The sisters are also done up with over-the-top hair and costumes, including bright boas to swing around.

“I kind of felt that would be a fun challenge, because we practice being pretty princesses all the time but we don’t necessarily practice how to pretend to punch our sister or stick our tongue out,” Schepis Lee says. “So it’s been fun to get to explore something a little different than everyday life as a ballerina might be like.”

: Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette