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Dancing Through the Pages

Ally Jimenez reads the book “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears,” while performers dance around her for the finale of the summer reading program Wednesday at the Briggs Lawrence Public Library Southern Branch.

Jeslyn artists turn literature into choreography

SOUTH POINT — With a spindle draped in pink and purple threads, a red velvet robe with a fluffy ermine collar and a gold crown, Sleeping Beauty came to tell her tale at the Briggs Lawrence Southern Library Wednesday.

“Our job is to bring the stories that you read to life,” Jessica Fox, artistic director of the Jeslyn Dance Gallery, told an audience of children. “We are going to use dance, music, theater and props. Are you ready to see a really good show about books?”

With that question, the show began, turning four of the books the children had read as part of the library’s summer reading program into dance vignettes.

Stories choreographed for the afternoon show were “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Monkey and the Crocodile,” “Aladdin” and “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.”

“The kids have read and heard these stories, now they will see them come to life,” Fox said before the show. “I feel the kids grasped the stories and to see their faces light up. And they connect with the dance and that is a plus.”

Dancing Fox’s choreography were Rachel Buel, Shauntay Heyliger, Ally Jimenez and Brittany McDonnell.

This was the third year for Jeslyn, a Huntington, W.Va., based performing arts center, to present a show for the library’s summer reading finale, shows that have often whetted the appetite for studying dance for many of the youngsters, Fox said.

“I feel it is great to be out in the community, to showcase the dancers,” she said. “And it intrigues (the children) and they want to learn more.”