The title The Little Mermaid will forever be associated in the minds of a certain generation as the animated tale of a redheaded creature named Ariel who sings with lobsters and wants to be “Part of Your World.” That's what the Disney bulldozer does when it rolls over fairy tales and churns them up as children's fare. Other than a few hissy fits from the sea witch, Ursula, the movie jettisoned the haunting, dark undertones of the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.
The San Francisco Ballet has not. Last season, the ballet staged the U.S. premiere of the ballet of John Neumeier, an American choreographer who has made his career almost entirely in Europe. It has brought the show back for just one week through Sunday to close out its 2011 season. Prepare to be wowed. Here's why it's nothing like the Disney movie.