Lauren Henry, a rising junior majoring in Business Administration at USFSM, will be performing the lead role in Sarasota’s School of Russian Ballet production of “The Little Mermaid,” a ballet adaptation choreographed by world-renowned Vadim Fedotov. This performance will incorporate over 60 dancers as well as all new costumes and scenery fashioned specifically for “The Little Mermaid.”
Henry’s role has her practicing five to six days a week including extra rehearsals to master her new dance routines. “As the Little Mermaid, I have a massive amount of choreography to learn, so I have been having daily rehearsals to work on solo parts, group scenes, and partnering pieces,” said Henry. “I am working with a lot of dancers including a guest artist from the Cuban National Ballet who will be dancing the role of the Prince.”
But this is not the dancer’s first time holding the spotlight. Since her start with the ballet school four years ago, Henry has held the principle roles of Snow White, Cinderella, Swanhilda in “Coppelia” and Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy in “Nutcracker”.
“My teachers watch us very closely in our daily classes, so they have a pretty good idea of who they want to cast in the specific roles, but we still have auditions so that they can try some of the choreography on us and see how we dance it,” said Henry. “In addition to just the technical skill, they are also looking for acting ability because dancers in lead parts carry the story and are responsible for communicating with the audience through their movements and expressions.”
At age three, Henry was inspired to begin dancing by her older sister. Dressing up and hosting shows for visiting family and friends at their house became a fun tradition. Now 15 years later, her shows have transformed into an art that combine acting, classical music and an intricate style of ballet.
When she’s not on the stage or rehearsing, the straight-A student is also a USFSM Ambassador, volunteers weekly in the children’s department at Bayside Community Church and loves to participate in anything creative, including painting.
Henry plans to pursue a master’s degree and will participate in internships in the near future to help narrow down her interests in the field of business and to gain valuable working experience.
Henry’s performance in “The Little Mermaid” will be presented at Braden River High School at 6 p.m. on April 5.