*****CORRECTION: The owner and director of the Orange County Dance Center should have been listed as Michael Houston.******
A â€œProdigal Sonâ€ is returning home Mother's Day weekend to dance once again for his parents' local ballet company.
Christopher Sellars, 23, is a professional dancer at Ballet West in Utah and the son of Terri and Anthony Sellars, who run the Orange County Dance Center and its company, the Ballet Repertory Theatre.
He will return to Surf City this weekend, following an acclaimed appearance in George Balanchine's â€œThe Prodigal Son,â€ to appear in the local company's full-length production of â€œLa BayadÃ¨reâ€ â€” considered its most challenging work to date.
The ballet is inspired by royal India, with beautiful jewel tones and a dreamy feel.
â€œWe went all out on the costumes to make it really colorful and striking,â€ said volunteer Sylvie Nguyen.
The company chose to perform a more streamlined version of the ballet, with less pantomime, to make it more accessible to modern audiences, Nguyen said.
Although past performances have been in or near Huntington Beach, â€œLa BayadÃ¨reâ€ will be danced at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, as local venues are all under renovation.
Several variations from the ballet are used worldwide in competitions.
â€œI think it's every ballerina's aspiration to be able to dance those,â€ Nguyen said.
Its lead dancers will go on this summer to prestigious summer institutes; the company has been a springboard for many of the country's current professional ballerinas and dancers. The production also is unique in that it calls for two female lead dancers, who compete for the attentions of the male lead, performed by Sellars.
â€œI started taking ballet at 12 years old,â€ said Sellars, who originally started taking jazz dance and was told that ballet would help him with jazz. He said he felt no pressure to go into his family's profession.
â€œMy parents never pushed it on me â€” it was my choice,â€ he said.
Sellars quickly realized the athletic appeal of male roles and discovered a love of partnering in performances.
â€œI was always around it,â€ Sellars said of ballet. â€œAll my friends were at the studio. My best friend danced in the studio before I did. I would go to the studio to get rides to baseball and tae kwon do. It was like a second home.â€
Two years later, Sellars started dancing for the center's company, and went to Philadelphia to train at the Rock School of Dance Education a year after graduating from Marina High School in 2003.
One year later, he was hired on by the second company of Ballet West in Salt Lake City, and was promoted to demi-soloist in 2008.
Sellars recently was commended in the New York Times for his leading role in â€œThe Prodigal Son,â€ a Ballets Russes-style production, and is quickly gaining national acclaim.
â€œ'Prodigal Son' was the most amazing thing I've ever done,â€ Sellars said. â€œYou become someone else on stage, and that is so fun for me.?.?.?.?Things are going very well here, and I'm loving it.â€
But Sellars always will have a base in Huntington Beach.
â€œI do enjoy coming back and doing shows at home,â€ he said. â€œEvery vacation I get, I usually go home and dance â€” I would be bored and have no idea what to do if I didn't.â€
IF YOU GO
WHO: Ballet Repertory Theatre
WHAT: â€œLa BayadÃ¨reâ€
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine
COST: $12 to $18; mothers receive a special gift
INFORMATION: (949) 854-4646 or thebarclay.org
Reporter CANDICE BAKER can be reached at (714) 966-4631 or at email@example.com.