Ballet Austin launches new "Fables of the World" series with premiere of new ballet, Maria and the Mouse Deer

Ballet Austin launches new “Fables of the World” series with premiere of new ballet, Maria and the Mouse Deer

Ballet Austin launches its new project, Fables of the World, an ongoing dance series to be performed by Ballet Austin II, with the premiere of Maria and the Mouse Deer, a whimsical adaptation of the Philippine folk tales of Maria “fairy of the mountain” and the clever Mouse Deer. With the concept, design and choreography by Alexa Capareda, the work is set to traditional Philippine folk music. The short, colorful ballet celebrates some animal species indigenous to Southeast Asia and the beauty of caring for the earth and all its creatures.

The inaugural edition of Fables of the World features Maria and the Mouse Deer, a ballet created and devised by Capareda. In support of this work, Ballet Austin received a 2022 “Grants for Arts Projects” from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the support of the Moody Foundation.

Fables of the World invites youth and families to explore and connect to a myriad of cultures through their tales and fables. With the goal of an imaginative production for youth and families created every two years, the series is a long-term effort to program new works for Ballet Austin II that share stories from various cultures, particularly featuring some less-represented, non-Eurocentric perspectives.

The project developed from conversations between Ballet Austin II Rehearsal Director and choreographer Alexa Capareda and Ballet Austin Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin about enriching the ballet tradition (populated with adaptations of such widely-known stories as The Nutcracker or Snow White), with new stories from a much broader cultural context.

Alexa Capareda was born and raised in the Philippines, in the town of Los Baños, Laguna located at the foothills of Mount Makiling, an inactive volcano that is home to hot springs and a dense forest of trees. According to legend, its forest is inhabited by the fairy or guardian spirit, Maria Makiling. “As a child,” Capareda says, “I was fascinated by the legend of Maria Makiling – stories of Maria protecting the mountain’s animals and plants and watching over the townspeople below, stopping deluges, storms, and earthquakes. Like many Filipinos, I was instilled with deep respect for nature and its power.”

 Capareda, who also holds a degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, did meaningful research into Southeast Asian folk tales in her senior year at UT. “Throughout my dance career, I have performed in, staged, and watched ballets based on narratives and have been intrigued and fascinated by the commonalities in the tales from cultures the world over — from the animal characters that take on human qualities to the morals, lessons, and values these stories teach.” Maria and the Mouse Deer combines the lore of Maria Makiling with the Southeast Asian ‘trickster tales’ of the clever mouse deer, in a fable that spotlights the universal message of caring for the planet.

This is a work designed specifically with the youngest audience members in mind. All tickets are $20 and seating is reserved. Visit balletaustin.org to purchase reserved seats online or contact Ballet Austin’s Audience Services Team at 512.476.2163, weekdays from noon to 6 pm (CT) for personalized assistance.

All shows are matinees, at 2pm and 4:30pm, October 15-16 and 22-23 at Ballet Austin’s AustinVentures StudioTheater, located inside Ballet Austin’s Butler Dance Education Center at 501 W. 3rd Street.

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