Skip to main content
NewsTuesday Musical

Loretta Simon to stage tale of Shéhérazade

By August 15, 2019October 2nd, 2019No Comments

Verb Ballet is proud to welcome guest choreographer Loretta Simon to the studio during the week of August 12- 16, 2019. Simon graduated from Youngstown State University, and after furthering her study with the Houston Ballet, she became a faculty member at Cleveland School of Arts & Cleveland State university; concurrently creating her own company: The Simon Dance Theatre. For the last eighteen years she has been living and working in Europe. Simon is an award-winning performer, choreographer, and a passionate teacher. In 2018, as a free lance choreographer, Simon created a modern piece to Ravel’s Shéhérazade, with the accompaniment of operatic singer Persephone Abbott. Simon returned this August from Europe especially to restage and adapt the work Shéhérazade Retold with the Verb Ballets.

Shéhérazade Retold is a reconceived tale, adapted from an original Arabic myth, about a highly cultured woman who is inspired to heroism. In the original myth, through an inner calling, Sheherazade sacrifices herself to abate the tragic suffering and killing of thousands of innocent young women. As a woman, Sherherazade embodies heroism, self-sacrifice and feminine empowerment. It is Shéhérazade’s instinctive will to survive and protect, that enables her to outwit the Sultan, successfully drawing upon her creative feminine wisdom, and guile  – to prevent her own death, and so stops any future killings.
Sheherazade Retold is staged as the rousing prequel to the original myth; it shows Sheherazade viscerally bearing witness to the tragic deaths of the last innocent victims. However, it is through the poignant storytelling of the final girl’s life mercilessly cut short, that she is actively impelled to intercede on their behalf, rising up to fulfill her destiny. This powerful ancient myth now retold, resonates as strongly today as then.

The company premiere will feature live accompaniment by the musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Ohio.  The Akron premiere will take place at Tuesday Musical’s Fuze Series on October 10, 2019 at EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

Don't miss the premiere!

Tuesday Musical Fuze Series: Akron Legends of Jazz and Dance
Thursday, October 10, 2019 EJ Thomas Hall

Loretta Simon

A graduate of Youngstown State University with a minor in dance, Loretta studied at the American University Summer Dance (Wolf Trapp) program with members of both Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp companies. She continued her studies at Ballet Western Reserve and later the Houston Ballet. In Texas, she set up the Simon Dance Theater and created a dance video drama “Idol Time” inspired by a video dance workshop with Lynn Taylor-Corbette. A passionate teacher as well as performer and choreographer, she taught at the Cleveland School of Arts, chaired the dance department and also served as the assistant artistic director for the dance company of the Cleveland State University. During this period, she received a choreographic grant from the Ohio Arts Council for personal artistic development. She worked with Dr. Darwin Prioleau, now professor of Dance at Brockport College SUNY (“A Woman’s Thing”) and created two works with Courtney Laves Mearini, founder of City Ballet of Cleveland, and previously lead dancer at Atlanta Ballet, South Carolina Ballet Theater and Cleveland Ballet. One of those works – Through a Veil was performed at the Cain Park Outdoor Theater. After moving to Europe in 2001, Loretta set up Pilates for Everybody, offering training and therapy, but continued to work with dancers in the performing field. Her recent work includes choreography – Still Passings and coaching and choreography for Godinnen – an Asian dance group; coaching ballroom competitors in partnering and artistic interpretation. In 2018 she conceived and realized a piece for Ravel’s Shéhérazade, Shéhérazade Retold, with the vocal accompaniment of operatic singer Persephone Abbott.