'Mowgli' premieres in Eugene

Ballet based on 'The Jungle Book' opens April 13 at the Hult Center

By Jenny Wasson / The Bulletin

More than 200 years after it was published, Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories known as “The Jungle Book” has continued to inspire readers. The latest rendition, by choreographer Toni Pimble, brings the adventures of Mowgli, Baloo the Bear and Shere Khan the Tiger to the ballet world.

The Eugene Ballet Company will present the world premiere of “Mowgli — The Jungle Book Ballet” April 13-14 at the Hult Center in Eugene. Set to East Indian and world fusion music, the ballet is appropriate for audiences of all ages.

Along with lavish costumes by Jonna Hayden and intricate masks created by Lynn Bowers, the new ballet will feature set and puppet design by Emmy Award-winning designer Gregory Crane, according to a news release. “Mowgli” features two larger-than-life puppets by Crane: Shere Khan the Tiger and Kaa the Snake, which uses eight performers to operate.

Pimble has created more than 60 ballets for the Eugene Ballet Company since it was founded in 1978. “Mowgli” materialized with the support of the Richard P. Haugland Foundation. After working with underprivileged children in Thailand, Richard Haugland requested that the Eugene Ballet Company create a ballet that could be enjoyed by children and adults, according to the news release.

Starring principal dancer Takeru Anzai, “Mowgli” is the final show of the company’s 2012-13 season.

Tickets for “Mowgli” range from $22 to $48 for adults and $15 to $40 for students and youth (plus service fees), depending on seat location. To purchase tickets, visit www.hultcenter.org or call 541-682-5000. For more information on the Eugene Ballet Company, visit www.eugeneballet.org.