Show and Tell: 'Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet' by Evergreen City Ballet
Beloved children's book characters come to life in this fun show for all ages
The bottom line
Nancy Clancy is a fancy girl. She uses fancy words, wears fancy clothes, hosts fancy tea parties and plays fancy games. She's also the star of a children’s picture book series with a debut book that stayed on The New York Times Best Seller List for close to 100 weeks when it was first published in 2005. In this Evergreen City Ballet production, Fancy Nancy comes to life as she learns an important lesson about sharing the spotlight.
Evergreen City Ballet’s Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet is a treat for all fans of the book — kids and adults alike. The sets, words and costumes remain true to the book.
The ballet opens in Nancy’s backyard in the “Mermaid Mansion” where she and friend Bree dance, play and act like mermaids in anticipation of their upcoming ballet recital, “Deep Sea Dances.” Both the girls want to be mermaids because, well, mermaids are the fanciest creatures of the sea.
The next day, in their dance class at Madame Lucille’s, Nancy and Bree work very hard, but are disappointed when they are given the roles of a tree and an oyster, respectively. “How can a brown tree be fancy?” Nancy says, disappointed.
But when one of the dancers playing a mermaid is injured, Bree is given her part. While Nancy is thrilled for her friend, she is also jealous that she didn’t get the role. At home, Nancy’s mom helps her cope with her emotions, thus reinforcing Nancy’s belief that she is the “100 percent wisest mother in the world.”
Nancy overcomes her negative feelings and brings her fanciest shell tiara for Bree for the performance. She is also very pleased with her own tree costume, with tinsel branches and a nest on her head. “Deep Sea Dances” is a success and all performers receive a standing ovation.
Back in Bellevue, Evergreen City Ballet’s production was also, to quote from the book, a “smashing success (that’s a fancy word for big hit).” The kids gave a brilliant performance.
Fun facts about the Evergreen City Ballet production
- The ballet is performed predominantly by kids, with some cameos by adults.
- The set and costumes are all made in-house with support from staff and volunteers.
- Fancy Nancy illustator, Robin Preiss Glasser, is a friend of the show; he and Evergreen City Ballet’s artistic and executive director Kevin Kaiser performed together at Pennsylvania Ballet. (She made an appearance at the Meydenbauer Convention Center shows of the production.)
Age recommendation for the show
The ballet is recommended for ages 2 and older, but considering that the ballet transitions between Nancy’s imaginary play and her actual performance on stage, kids younger than 4 may need some explanation during scene transitions, if they are not familiar with the book. It's a good idea to read the book before seeting the ballet.
If you go...
Where: Auburn Performing Arts Center, 702 Fourth St. N.E. in Auburn