cinderalla spring 2023 ballet

The final event of the 2023 Dance and the Humanities series was held last week and focused on Ballet. In contrast to the previous events, this time attendees gathered off campus at the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall in downtown Huntsville. Thursday night’s event was an up close and personal experience at the dress rehearsal of Huntsville Ballet’s 2022-2023 season culminating show, Cinderella. 

The event began with Huntsville Ballet Artistic Director Phillip Otto leading an on-stage ballet class. The dancers stretched and practiced steps to classical music as well as instrumental versions of popular songs. During the class, Mr. Otto explained to the gathered students, faculty, and community members not only what movements the dancers were doing but also the meanings of the many French words he was using to direct them. 

Following the class, attendees were invited on stage to meet the dancers and pose for pictures. Moving back stage, UAH Theatre Professor and Director of Theatre David Harwell introduced the attendees to Backstage Crew members who are UAH students or graduates. He explained that UAH partners with Huntsville Ballet to provide students with professional experience working for a theatre Union. 

Attendees asked questions of Harwell, Otto, and the Crew that spanned the new wireless headsets the Crew were wearing to how the large sets were moved on and off the stage to how they apply material learned in the classroom to their work at Huntsville Ballet. “I think it’s extremely important for people to know what goes in behind the scenes!” said one attendee; “When you understand something as complex as dance a little bit more, it is a lot easier to appreciate, especially because it always looks so easy.”

Dance and the Humanities was sponsored by the UAH Humanities Center. The goal of the three part series was to bring together global and local artists to explore the intersection of dance and the human condition with a particular focus on underrepresented dance forms and artists. The series was co-organized by Dr. Dylan Baun ( and Dr. Jennifer Sims (