Ballet lovers both old and young will have additional chances this season to enjoy professional ballet at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts.
Until now, the Bowie High School venue has presented one ballet annually by the Annapolis-based Ballet Theatre of Maryland.
Coming Saturday is BTM’s original production of “Aladdin,” which premiered in 2011 in Annapolis.
This year, the two-act “Aladdin” kicks off an expanded bill that also will include “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 1-2 and “Frontier: The War of 1812” on Jan. 27.
The two additional performances mean that patrons can subscribe to the series and pay less per ticket than the single-ticket price.
In addition, Bowie residents can take $5 off the price of single tickets.
“This is an expansion of a four-year old partnership between the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts and the City of Bowie,” says Gerald George, executive director of the Bowie venue.
“The Center is excited to be part of this partnership and excited that it’s growing,” he says.
The mission of the Ballet Theatre of Maryland is to serve the entire state, says William Shipp of Mitchellville, who served as president of the BTM board of trustees until last June.
A land-use attorney, Shipp is managing director of the O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore firm, based in Calverton.
“‘Aladdin’ is a great show,” says Shipp, who came to support ballet through his two daughters, who studied the art form.
“It’s a show that’s already been performed in a previous season [premiering in 2011], and it’s been tried and appreciated and it’s ready to go,” he says.
Choreographed by BTM’s artistic director Dianna Cuatto, “Aladdin” draws on music by Russian composers Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov.
The story also draws from varied influences — the Aladdin story from “1001 Arabian Nights,” as well as modern interpretations, including the movie “The Prince of Persia,” and the animated Disney film “Aladdin.”
The ballet is about Aladdin, a poor young man who gains the ability to free Mordecai, a good and powerful genie who has been imprisoned in a lamp by the evil and powerful wizard Jamal.
With help from the sorceress Morgianna, Aladdin fights Jamal and his henchmen to free Mordecai and also rescue his beloved, the Princess Samira, whom Aladdin courted in disguise as Prince Aladdar of Persia.
“I think that people who go will be impressed by the quality of the dance,” Shipps says.
Shipp, who lives near Bowie, says he was instrumental in bringing ballet to the Bowie Performing Arts Center a few years ago. This year, the BTM productions also reflect a variety within the ballet offerings, he says.
“With these three pieces, you get the classic, the storybook and the history,” Shipp says. “There are lots of dances in different contexts.”
The two additional performances also are a way the ballet company can continue to build an audience outside Annapolis.
“When we see an opportunity to collaborate in different locations, [we do that],” Shipp says.
Before the Aladdin performance, the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts will host a free Arabian Nights party for ticketholders starting at 6 p.m. with snacks, treats and juice.
Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite heroes and villains, and they also will have a chance to meet the dancers.
January’s performance of “The War of 1812,” also choreographed by Cuatto, with music by American musician David Arkenstone, tracks the evolution of the war against the British, including the burning of Washington, D.C., and the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
“In Prince George’s County, we’re trying to promote the culture and the arts in the community,” Shipp says. “The more arts in the community, the better for everybody.”