Yellowstone Ballet returns Pinocchio to stage

Production on June 2 stars Milwaukee Ballet principal Barry Molina

On Stage

Yellowstone Ballet brings its original ballet, Pinocchio, back to the stage at Willson Auditorium in Bozeman June 2, with Milwaukee Ballet principal Barry Molina in the title role.

Barry Molina dances the title role in Yellowstone Ballet's 2010 premiere of the original ballet, Pinocchio.
Barry Molina dances the title role in Yellowstone Ballet’s 2010 premiere of the original ballet, Pinocchio.

In 2010, Yellowstone Ballet Company (YBC) Artistic Director Kathleen Rakela received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to create and choreograph an original ballet of Pinocchio. Rakela invited Barry Molina, who had just been accepted as a trainee of Milwaukee Ballet, to perform the leading role.

After a year with Milwaukee Ballet, Molina felt like quitting. Then he received a life changing call from the company’s artistic director Michael Pink. The dancer who was slated to perform the role of Peter’s Shadow in Peter Pan was sidelined and Molina, the understudy, had to take his place.

“It was a little bit of a surprise to me,” Molina says. “We walked through the steps right before the show, and they put me on stage. That moment was a turning point. It pushed me to want to do ballet as a career.”

After 13 years with Milwaukee Ballet and having risen to the level of principal dancer, Molina danced Peter Pan again. You can watch him rehearsing here.

While audiences won’t see Molina fly into the air in YBC’s Pinocchio, they will see both Molina and Marko Micov, perform at the Willson Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. June 2. Molina performs the title role while Micov is Neptune the Sea King.

The ballet is a 21st century adaptation of the story in which Pinocchio faces the challenges of our times. Guided by Jiminy Cricket, Geppeto, Figaro and the Blue Fairy, Pinocchio must grow in wisdom, love and strength, and convince his Pleasure Island friends to leave their video games and help save the earth. Thus he earns a heart and grows to become a real boy.

Pinocchio includes original music by Dean Anderson and narration by Terry Canady. A talented group of dancers fill the stage as dolls, toys, festival entertainers, puppets, acrobats, video game dancers, robots, donkeys, sea shells and sea horses.

Children are free if accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available online.