Gabby Savka

Gabby Savka, a senior at Lexington, dances with Cleveleand's Omar Humphrey, a professional guest for this weekend's show at Ashland University.

ASHLAND -- The Ashland Regional Ballet & Opus II Dance Studio will have the 37th annual spring dance concert on May 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hugo Young Theatre on the campus of Ashland University.

The performance showcases approximately 140 dancers ranging in ages from 5 years through adult, and hailing primarily from the Ashland/Mansfield area that will perform in this traditional event.

The performance showcases the entire student body of Opus II Dance Studio in a variety of dances designed to be great family entertainment.

Each year Ashland Regional Ballet presents a special ballet production as part of this end of the school year celebration. This year’s featured ballet is The Firebird, choreography by ARB Founder Hellie Schussler. The Firebird will also present professional guest artist Omar Humphrey from Cleveland as Prince Ivan.

The Opus II Dance Studio students will be putting on The Country Mouse and The City Mouse Ballet. Staging and additional choreography for these pieces presented by ARB Artistic Director Sarah Cyders and Studio Director Ann Marie Benshoff-Todd.

ARB dancers featured in The Firebird are graduating senior Gabby Savka of Mansfield who will portray the title role, with Ashlander, Avery Gingrich as The Oldest Princess Sister. Other lead roles include Landon Hyatt of Mohicanville as Koschi; Graduating Senior Rebecca Brown of Loudonville as a Demon Princess along with Ashlanders Lucia Mancha and Melanie Irvine-Selby, Abigail Hout of Greenwich, and Mikayla Jarvis of Wooster also as Demons.

Joining Avery as princess sisters are Ashlanders Megan Abel and Emma Blake, along with Erin Ekin of Galion. Appearing as Gremlins are ARB members Gisella Blake, Chloe Gingrich, Megan Hayes, Taylor Hill, Ryanne Hunt, Sarah Ison, Jennie Riffle ,Audrey Rosby, Anna Slade, Sami Steinhauser, Lilly Welch, and Allie Wentworth.

The first portion of the program presents a wide array of contemporary dance styles including Tap, Jazz & Modern Dance. Choreography is by Schussler, ARB Artistic Director Sarah Cyders, and Opus II Dance Studio Director Ann Marie Benshoff-Todd.

“This has been a wonderful school year, full of great dancing, many lasting memories made, and fabulous growth by all of our dancers," Benshoff-Todd said. "The Opus and ARB dancers are eager to show-off their accomplishments. It seems impossible that our school has been around now for 37 years! We are thrilled to keep to love of the arts thriving in our Ashland Community. We are very proud of everything our dancers have accomplished.”

Performances are open to the public. Tickets are available at the Ashland University Box Office – 419-289-5125 or Ashland.edu/tickets. Ticket prices from $8 to $12.

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