Awe-Inspiring Celebration: Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance Presents Cleopatra - TribPapers

Awe-Inspiring Celebration: Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance Presents Cleopatra

Photo from Terpsicorps Theater of Dance website.

Asheville – Once again, Heather Maloy, founder and artistic director, has chosen an epic historical figure to portray cutting-edge dance on stage. This contemporary professional summer ballet company is once again bringing the community a thought-provoking subject, expressed through music and dance. A lavish full-scale production is premiering to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance at the Diana Wortham Center in downtown Asheville. The week before July 20 – 22nd Cleopatra will be performed in Winston-Salem at the Hanesbrand Theatre. This is her first full-length new production since Vampire debuted in 2011. Maloy has created everything from the ground up, as usual. She has picked the music, designed the costumes, sets, and projection screens, and done all of the choreography.

This year’s dance story focuses on the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, an intriguing figure who lived from 51 to 30 BC. Last year, it spotlighted Dracula. With a masterful eye for choreography, the professional dancers will interpret Cleopatra’s life on stage. The world premiere will be held July 27–29 at the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville. No doubt it will be awe-inspiring and a thrill to see.

For 20 years, Terpsicorps performances have showcased critically acclaimed dancers who are on their summer hiatus from companies across the US and abroad. They are capable of portraying, through their extraordinary dance movements and gestures, these complex personalities of history brought to life by Heather Maloy. This summer’s cast of dancers, four of whom are University of North Carolina School of the Arts alumni, were chosen specifically for their unique combination of physicality and theatrical sensibilities. Madeline Bay, who dances with the Ballet Idaho, will be Cleopatra and is with Terpsicorps for her third season. Morgan Stillman, here for his second season, will be Caesar. And David Ward, with Terpsicorp for his third season, will be Marc Antony. Many other highly talented dancers will be performing, such as William Fowler from Augusta, Ga., Patricio Di Stabile from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Florrie Sésé Geller,Cooper Verona, and Betsy Lucas. The apprentices are Brooke Armundrud from Ballet Tucson (2nd season), Sasha Butman from Alabama Ballet (2nd season), Elizabeth Brooks from Columbia City Ballet (1st season), Annabelle Cook from St.Louis Ballet (1st season), and Stephanie Eggers from Ballet Quad Cities in Iowa (1st season). The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra led a life that was filled with intrigue, love, and betrayal. She is known historically as the romantic femme fatale who had relationships with both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

Maloy researched extensively for this production, which included traveling to Egypt for two weeks last year. She was originally inspired by the book “Cleopatra: A Life” by Stacy Schiff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer. Of all the books she read and films she watched, Maloy found this to be the most up-to-date and authentic portrayal of Cleopatra’s life. Having at one time considered Midsummer Night’s Dream, she turned to other Shakespeare classics—Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra—which led her to delve further into the life of Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh of Egypt.

As this nationally recognized director reflects, “This production is stretching the boundaries of what we do as a company. My research and focus on the life and times of Cleopatra pushed me to create a work that strives to match the spectacle of her turbulent life. We ask that audience members come ready to let the experience roll over them like a dream as their imaginations take the reins.”

A Celebration of the Ancients Fundraiser

In addition, a fundraising event will be held at the Grove Arcade on Wednesday, July 12, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The events for the evening will include an improvisational dance performance by the cast of Cleopatra, snacks by Grove Arcade restaurants, a favorite aperitif from Battery Park Champagne Bar and Carmel’s, as well as a runway preview of the Cleopatra costumes.
Tickets can be purchased on the website Eventbrite, under the heading Tickets are priced at $50 per person or $75 for two tickets.

Pre-show Special “Getting Close to Cleo”

To celebrate their exciting 20th anniversary, Terpsicorps is offering a special pre-show event, Getting Close to Cleo. For only $10 per person (sold separately), audience members are invited to join choreographer Heather Maloy for an informative chat and champagne toast. Held in the theater while the dancers warm up on stage, Maloy will share insights from her extensive research, her trip to Egypt, and all the creative milestones that went into creating this awe-inspiring, original production. For tickets to this pre-show chat, go to or call 828-761-1317.

For tickets to the Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance Performance of Cleopatra at the Diana Wortham Theater, 18 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC 28801, on July 27th–29th, 2023, at 8:00 p.m., go to or call 828-257-4530.