World of Wonder, Fenton, MI — October 13, 2019
The Enchanted Princess Ball performed their opening show of the season this past weekend in Fenton. The annual fundraiser for World of Wonder at 404 W Ellen St, raised over $2,000 for the early childhood education center, enough to support the arts program at the school for an entire year.
But, to all those involved, it was more about the magic of the Disney Characters portrayed than the money. “Whenever characters are new, they bring them into the show,” said Linda Mora, Principal of World of Wonder Early Education Center a program of Fenton Area Public Schools.
“People came from all over. This was the first event of the season for the Enchanted Princess Ball shows. Their website offers venue and ticketing information for upcoming appearances. I am always thrilled when all the children get to see the show. I just wish there were more, and I wish there were more Fenton children. We have so many children that come from so many far-away places, and I think some of our Fenton children miss what’s going on right here,” Mora added.
Fenton’s World of Wonder and the Enchanted Princess Ball
World of Wonder serves children from birth to age 6. The money raised through the Enchanted Princess Ball is used to help provide staff with training, as well as to bring more
arts programs to children.
“If you invest in your staff you have high-quality staff, and the arts are why the Enchanted
Princess Ball was possible,” Mora said. This is the 11th year the Enchanted Princess Ball Company has been in existence and the show has been at World of Wonder for the past five years.
“My inspiration in starting this company was to bring the performing arts medium to children to inspire them in dance, acrobatics, musical theatre, voice, instruments, and foreign languages. Exposure is so significant it was important to do it in a face-to-face educational setting,” said Sandi Jablonski, owner of Enchanted Princess Ball.
The Performing Cast
The cast for the Enchanted Princess Ball show comes from all across the state. They are some of the top performers in their field and come from many of the State’s Universities. According to Jablonski, “Many go to college for musical theatre, dance or vocal performance. All, are required to audition. We rarely have an opening because they stay with me year after year after year. The performers look forward to it, even when they’re traveling from as far away as Western University, a four-hour drive. They
make it a priority to perform at the schools once a month,” Jablonski said.
The group performs seven shows per year, monthly from October through April at chosen school districts.
The shows have changed over the years by adding more characters, more storylines, more
focus on appreciation of different cultures, manners and etiquette and the anti-bullying message. Jablonski said the group chose Fenton as their opening location because Linda Mora is so instrumental to the community. “She has energy and creativity and bringing the show to Fenton aligns with everything that she stands for.”
Interacting With the Children
Jablonski wrote the storylines for the Oct. 13 production. “I like all the characters to be represented, but you also have to remember the age group that attends. It has to be quick-paced in order to hold their attention, as well as interactive.”
Children are invited to the stage to dance with colorful ribbons during the production. The props are used to combat children’s shyness in a group of strangers and to teach them to share. When Aurora comes out she teaches the children how to curtsy and wave like a princess. Characters weave through the crowd throughout the show. Children are invited to have a tea party with Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, in which they help look for her rabbit.
Jablonski said every fairy tale is represented in her show-without leaving one out. Some of
the characters included are Pocahontas, Moana, Mulan, Elsa, and Anna. Over 50 fairy tale
characters come to life!
“They all have significance,” Jablonski said. “Each princess represents a different culture or
a different storyline. For example, Cinderella overcame her evil stepsisters by remaining kind and good. She prevailed.”
“It is important for Mulan to know her history, the ancestry of China, and Moana is from the islands. Any time Disney introduces a new princess, there is a reason. Plus, everybody had their own personal favorite.” Jablonski said. By the time the audience leaves the Enchanted Princess Ball, hopefully, the cast has exceeded the audience’s expectations.
“We really care about what we do. It’s always successful when we get together and bring our talents whether there are five people are 200 in the audience. We truly love what we do truly. We always feel blessed,” Jablonski said.
Ana Ciechanowski, 21, plays Tinkerbell. This was Ciechanowski’s sixth year with the
company. She was a competitive dancer since age 5 and had lots of training in different areas of dance before coming to the Enchanted Princess Ball Company.
She loves everything about playing Tinkerbell. “I feel like her personality and mine just fit. Playing Tinkerbell is very easy and very fun. We are similar because Tink and I both like to do our own thing and are confident in who we are. I remember watching her as a kid. She was one of my favorites growing up, and to play her as an adult is quite awesome,” Ciechanowski said. She likes seeing little girls dressed as Tinkerbell in the audience.
“They are so happy to see me.” I love working for the company. It’s one of the best
Draven Forbes, 19, plays Flynn Rider. Forbes has been with Enchanted Princess Ball Company for two years. He has participated in lots of musical theatre and is studying vocal performance at Central Michigan University. Forbes loves playing his character, which is evident in his performance. “The character is a very good fit for me and the kids love him. Sometimes it almost seems as if I’m not acting. He’s just a happy-go-lucky kind of sarcastic guy and that’s kind of who I am.”
Forbes said he believed the parents enjoyed seeing their kids have a great time!
“I feel our performances are good enough to appeal to adults,” he said.
Managing the Show
Lauren Riggs, 21, manages the Enchanted Princess Ball Performances. She runs their social media, choreographs the dancing, and performs in the show with several small dance roles, and in addition plays Elsa. As the manager, she sends out all the messages the group needs for performance weekends, she casts all the performers, trains them and runs different dances in preparation for performances.
Riggs runs non-stop, making sure everyone knows their parts, costumes are organized and distributed to the right people. She monitors the entire show, making sure after-show cleanup is done efficiently and then checks everyone out at the end of the weekend.
This is Riggs’ seventh year as a performer, her third year as the choreographer and manager of the company. She has been a competitive dancer from the age of two, she now teaches dance, sings in the show choirs and performs theatre. Riggs has choreographed
musicals since age 17 starting with “The Little Mermaid.”
She also loves playing her character. “I feel like I relate to her character a lot. I’m the older sister of my two sisters. Elsa is also an older sister. She has to be most responsible and puts herself on the back burner because she has so much responsibility. She realizes she has to be OK in order for everyone in her life to be OK. So, I feel like I relate to her a lot.”
Because Elsa is the favorite character everyone expects her to be amazing all the
time! “The kids adore her, and she always gets the most love,” Riggs said. “They expressed this during the past weekend. I love when parents at the end of shows tell us ‘thank you’ and that we did an amazing job. We hardly ever get a bad review. Everyone comes together and makes this work, I think the weekend went really, really, really well.”
Great Aunt Jodi Goodman of Fenton took her nieces Natalie and Hailei, who are former
students of World of Wonder, for their second visit to the ball. The family hopes to make seeing the astonishing performance a yearly tradition! Something Fenton community members might want to consider.