Story ballet ‘Thumbelina’ sparkles on Cobleigh Field

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

On a perfect early summer evening, 11 local dancers marched on to Chester’s Cobleigh Field to premiere a new “story ballet” choreographed by Ashley Hensel-Browning and set to Vermont composer Evan Premo’s Thumbelina.

The cast danced to a recording of Premo’s original musical setting of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of a tiny girl who goes on a big adventure featuring Mary Bonhag as the narrator and singing soprano.

For those not familiar with the story of Thumbelina, she is a beautiful young girl, born in a flower and no bigger than your thumb. In the adventure-filled 40-minute performance, Thumbelina is kidnapped by toads, rescued by fish and a butterfly, befriended by a field mouse, betrothed to a mole, then rescues a swallow and escapes a life of underground darkness to fall in love with a flower prince who is the same size as herself.

Dancing in the performance were Ben Haseltine, Ange Wunderle, Keigan Illingworth, Jessy Joy Lipton Pierce, Anneka Yuengling, Shannon Aubin, Grace Guy, Gwen Kekic, Madailein Wolf, Ayla Price and Suzanne Stern.

The two free early evening performances attracted more than 160 patrons, and included plenty of engaged children. The previous evening, the performances were staged in Springfield. Click any image below to launch the gallery.

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  1. Ashley Hensel-Browning says:

    Thank you for capturing these beautiful images Chester Telegraph! It was a beautiful evening for outside dance. What a dreamy location for these generous performers and audience members.

  2. Arlene Mutschler says:

    I guess I missed the announcement that this was happening? Where was it mentioned? Sorry I missed it.