Rehearsal

Kids in the N.H. Dance Institute performance work a number during a dress rehearsal at Keene State College for the 2018 Event of the Year.

The New Hampshire Dance Institute will present the 2019 NHDI Event of the Year with four performances at Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College over the Memorial Day weekend. Three-hundred students from all over the Monadnock Region will show what they’ve learned through the NHDI Year-Long Program that has taken place each week at their schools throughout the school year.

This year’s original theatrical production is written and directed by NHDI Artistic Director Kristen Leach, who is in her 16th year with NHDI. The energetic, family-friendly show is titled “The Beekeeper.” The cast of children is led by the main characters played by two popular local veterans of Keene stage productions: Dominic DiBenedetto and JJ Prior, who is an actual beekeeper.

“The Beekeeper” follows a busy, overworked employee who listens to the advice of his neighbor and takes up beekeeping. Together they learn about the difficult plight of bees due to colony collapse disorder, and set out to help find solutions to the problem. During the show, the narrators are befriended by two queen bees, played by 8th-grader Lindsay Marshall from St. Joseph Regional School in Keene and 5th-grader Lily Mathewson from Emerson School in Fitzwilliam.

“We have spent this entire school year teaching all about the importance of bees to our ecosystem and food supply,” Leach said. “Through dance and music, we are honoring these wondrous, special creatures and encouraging everyone to do their own small part to help save the bees.”

The dancers from NHDI’s Year-Long Program will come together at Redfern from all over the area. The schools represented include: Chesterfield, Cutler (Swanzey), Emerson (Fitzwilliam), Fuller (Keene), Great Brook (Antrim), Marlborough, Mountain Shadows (Dublin), St. Joseph (Keene), South Meadow (Peterborough), Troy, Westmoreland, and for the first time in the Year-Long Program this year, Winchester. In addition to these schools, NHDI’s Special Teams — Minions, Celebration, and eXceL — will also be part in the performances.

As with every NHDI Event of the Year, the show’s music will be provided by a professional live orchestra with vocalists. NHDI’s music director of 33 years, Boston-based conductor, composer and arranger Peter Mansfield, has arranged all of the music and has composed several of the songs.

Performances are Friday, May 24, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 25, at 1:30 and 7 p.m. (gala performance); and Sunday, May 26, at 1:30 p.m. For tickets, contact the Redfern Arts Center Box Office at 358-2168 or purchase online through www.nhdi.org.