Because there were so many songs — with such a variety — the music of The Beatles is ripe for a rock ballet, said Terry Cline, a board member with the North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation.
“The songs provide us characters, they provide us scenarios, and they provide us emotion,” Cline said.
But the idea to stage a rock ballet based on the Beatles catalogue started with a dream. After Cheryle Armstrong, artistic director of Class Act Dance, dreamt she had put on a show centered around the Beatles music, she called Cline the next morning.
“She said, ‘I think I got it,’ ” Cline said. The show, “Let It Be,” comes to the Templeton Performing Arts Center May 11 and 12.
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The North County foundation is most known for community productions of “The Nutcracker.” But, Cline said, it was looking to expand, and the Beatles idea seemed like a good place to start.
Putting other art to Beatles tunes is not a new concept. Cirque de Soleil created a circus-based performance around the Fab Four for its “Love” shows. And the film “Across the Universe” featured a love story built around Beatle tunes. But, Cline said, this production went out of its way to be original.
“We made a conscious effort not to model anything after existing shows,” he said.
The show’s storyline, told through music, dance and lighting, “follows a young man’s journey from innocence to awareness,” according to the group’s press release. The show features 65 performers from the community, including a live band.
Cline didn’t want to give away what songs will be used — he said the surprise is part of the fun — but he said it will cover the band’s entire catalogue, showing their transformation.
“There was a huge growth in their musical catalogue,” he said. The show, in turn, will also play off that evolution.
The Beatles’ music features such a variety — from Paul McCartney’s vaudeville-inspired “When I’m Sixty-Four” to Ringo Starr’s family-friendly “Yellow Submarine” to John Lennon’s psychedelic “Strawberry Fields” — many genres of dance can be applied, Cline said. For this show, dances will include tap, jazz, hip-hop, swing and ballet.
To help achieve that variety, the show features six choreographers, who parceled 25 songs then created dances around them.
“We got the best of their strengths,” Cline said.
The North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation, a nonprofit that has operated for more than 15 years, encourages locals to perform. Armstrong’s Class Act Dance works with the organization in its yearly “Nutcracker” shows.