The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare

ovations for young people presents Corbian Visual Arts and Dance

Corbian Visual Arts and Dance presents The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare March 16. Download hi-res image.

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling is a tale of resilience and heroism that has delighted children for generations.

Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare, now more than 2,500 years old, continues to drive home the time-tested adage, “Slow and steady wins the race.”

On March 16, Corbian Visual Arts and Dance (aka Lightwire Theatre) will return to Edison with cutting-edge theatrical adaptations of both classic fables.

Presented as part of the ovations for young people series, The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare is the second production from Corbian Visual Arts and Dance, following its breakout success Darwin the Dinosaur.

“The ancient art of full-body puppetry gets a magical, luminous update,” says Leigh Witchel, dance writer for the New York Post.

“Children will love the clear, fast-paced stories, each with a positive message and kid-friendly humor,” Witchel adds. “Adults will enjoy the musical in-jokes and marvel at how the heck Lightwire Theater does it all with only four (so few?) people!”

In an age when television, computers and video games reign supreme, creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp combine puppetry, sculpture and dance with electroluminescent wire and other new technologies to craft unforgettable theatrical experiences.

The Ugly Duckling. Download hires image.

The pair met while dancing in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway show Movin’ Out. They quickly discovered a mutual love of art, theatre and technology. After coming across a product called EL wire — an electroluminescent wire that is powered by batteries — they began developing rudimentary characters.

Then, with the help of their wives, Eleanor Carney and Whitney Popp (who are also dancers), they began to build the rest of their puppetry-based creatures and flesh out the original story.

Relocating from New York City to New Orleans (Ian and Eleanor’s hometown), the quartet continued the creative process. The result was the critically lauded Darwin the Dinosaur, which thrilled audiences across the United States and Europe. The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare, which debuted in 2012, follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, showcasing the troupe’s unique brand of electroluminescent puppetry.

Tickets and sponsors

The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16. Tickets are $12.

Tickets are available at the Edison Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-6543, e-mail or visit

Edison programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors.