Friday, January 25, 2008

Egyptomania: Cleopatra in ballet

Aiken Standard

William Starrett, artistic and executive director of the Columbia City Ballet, said "Cleopatra" has been two years in the making. It was created as a companion piece to a new exhibition opening this weekend at the Columbia Museum of Art, "Excavating Egypt," featuring artifacts from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at University College-London.

"The light bulb went on, and I got the idea of researching the story and seeing if I could create a Cleopatra ballet," said Starrett, who began researching the legend of Cleopatra last spring.
One challenge, he said, was striking the delicate balance between legend and the historic realities of Cleopatra, who ruled Egypt from 51 B.C. to her death in 30 B.C.

"A lot of what we've come to expect about Cleopatra is what we've learned through motion picture. I have to balance between telling the historic story and how the movies have depicted Cleopatra through the years," Starrett said.

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