Who spiked the ballet?

Travis Whittington

An Ames dance company hopes audiences will crack a few smiles during their comedic version of a traditional ballet.

The Valerie Williams Co’Motion Dance Theater, along with the Renaissance Dance Company and the Mirage Middle Eastern Dance Troupe, will perform a parody of “The Nutcracker” called the “Son of Spiked!” Kids Co’Motion, Williams’ youth dance group, will also be involved in the production.

Spike Jones is the one of the inspirations for the name of the altered ballet performance.

“I put Spike’s music in this performance because I want a comedic and zany feel for this dance,” said Williams, Co’Motion Dance Theater director.

Jones was a different kind of bandleader. He often made fun of popular and classical music in the 1940s and ’50s and has been the focus of a huge resurgence of interest in recent years.

“Spike was one of the first musicians to use sound effects in performances,” Williams said. “His crazy noises will add to the atmosphere of our performance.”

The other inspiration for the title is that this Saturday and Sunday’s performances will be the fifth time Williams has done a parody of “The Nutcracker.”

“That’s why I call it the ‘Son of Spiked!'” Williams said. “Each year we do variations. This year I have added the music of Klezmer to the dance.

“Klezmer’s music will draw in popular tunes from Jewish ceremonies that will give it a Yiddish flavor,” she added.

More than 40 dancers will perform in the comedic routine. The production will have a very brightly lit stage and the dancers will be dressed in silver that will reflect the stage light.

“It’s very bright [and] … the costumes are really shiny,” Williams said. “Lona Nachtigal has done a lot of work to make this an upbeat production.

“One prop I am very impressed with is the jaws of the wolves. They are hinged so the dancer can control them with their hands,” she added.

The Renaissance Dance Company, composed of ISU students, will perform an African-style dance in the production.

“The Renaissance Dance Company has worked very hard and their dancing is going to be excellent,” Williams said.

“Son of Spiked!” will also feature belly dancing from the Mirage Middle Eastern Dance Troupe. Tracy Tomes, whose dance name is Juni, will be one of three women representing the troupe.

“I believe it [‘Son of Spiked’] is coming along well,” Juni said.

She, Majeseka and Leila Zoriayda will be dancing to music that is more traditional than what is featured in the rest of the production.

“Most of the music in this production is Spike Jones’, so it’s real wacky and fun,” Juni said. “We dance to a song called ‘Houda’ by a group called Solace; it’s more traditional and gives a serious tone to our dance.”

Most of the dancing in “Son of Spiked” will lack a unifying theme, Williams said.

“We are just gonna try to have fun with this,” Williams said. “Even though the dances are broke up, they are very serious; we made the story more slapstick so we could have some comedic elements.”

One of those elements will be a examination of how performers fight for parts in a show.

“When you do ‘The Nutcracker’ it seems like every guy wants to play the part of ‘The Nutcracker’ and every girl wants to play Marya,” Williams said. “As a joke, we will have performers constantly bumping each other out of those two parts.

“We include things like this because we want the audience to enjoy themselves,” she added.

The “Son of Spiked!” will come to the stage Friday and Saturday night at 8 and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Ames City Auditorium, located at the corner of Sixth and Clark Streets. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 general admission.