Broussard comes home to dance lead in ‘Snow White’

Mirror mirror on the wall, who will be the fairest on the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre stage?

The answer, despite the lack of rhyme, is Meredith Broussard.

You probably thought it was going to be Snow White, right? Well, you’re close. Broussard will be dancing the part of the beautiful princess in Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s production of Winthrop Corey’s original ballet “Snow White” for two performances on Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6.

The seven dwarfs are going to be there, as will the Wicked Witch with her poisonous apple. But Broussard’s character will be the fairest of them all.

“Yes, I’m a big fan of ‘Snow White,’” Broussard says. “I love this story.”

And she’s stuck to her commitment of dancing the part despite a few offers that have since come her way.

Broussard is a Baton Rouge native but lives in New York, where she is freelancing as a dancer. She danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago after graduating from University High School, then moved to Dallas, where she danced with the Texas Ballet.

But an even bigger city was calling her name.

“People say New York is the land of opportunity, and it’s true,” Broussard says. “I’ve gotten so many job offers, but I have a commitment.”

Broussard is loyal to her hometown ballet company. Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre is where she started learning classical ballet, where she performed the role of the Azalea Fairy in the annual Christmas production, “The Nutcracker — A Tale from the Bayou.” It’s where she performed the role of Princess Florine in last year’s spring production of “The Sleeping Beauty.”

Baton Rouge is home.

“I’m looking forward to coming back,” Broussard says. “This is my first principle role, and it’s special to be able to perform it with Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre.”

Corey’s full-length ballet premiered in 2013 in Alabama, where he is artistic director of the Mobile Ballet.

Corey is a former principal dancer with both Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. He first visited Baton Rouge to audition dancers for the Summer Intensive program at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, where he remains on the summer faculty.

He also is noted for his choreography and design for “Swan Lake,” “Cinderella,” “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Romeo & Juliet.” Company members began training with Corey in October.

“This is such a remarkable collaboration with Winthrop,” says Molly Buchmann, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s artistic director. “It’s exciting to share his enormous talent with the local dance community.”

Joining Broussard will be Brian Ghepart in the role of Snow White’s prince. Ghepart has danced with the Houston Ballet II, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Atlantic Ballet Theater of Canada. He’s now a member of the New York-based ballet company MorDance.

Add to that selected Baton Rouge company youth members as the seven dwarfs, and professional company member Rebecca Acosta as the Wicked Witch, and the competition for the fairest is set to go.

“Snow White is ideally suited to our local dancers who have worked to achieve this degree of professionalism,” Buchmann says. “They will be led by our own local professionals, including Jonna Cox as Lead Wood Nymph, in addition to the guest principles.”

As for Broussard, she’s received private coaching from her Russian ballet teachers in New York in preparation for the role. She’s also watched Disney’s 1937 classic animated feature film to develop a sense of the story.

“The beauty of doing a principle role in a new ballet is that I can adapt the character however I want her to be,” Broussard says. “It’s fun, because I grew up on this story.”

And the fun will continue after the final act on April 6 when the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre hosts a reception celebrating the marriage of Snow White and her prince, where children will be able to take photos with their favorite characters. Reception tickets are $25 and sold separately from the performance.