Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will celebrate its 30th anniversary production of the The Nutcracker for area audiences beginning December 2 and running through December 18, 2011 in the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. 11 public performances and 5 outreach shows will be offered on weekends in both matinee and evening performances. The Gwinnett Performing Arts Center is a part of the Gwinnett Center complex located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, GA.
Although this Nutcracker represents 30 years of tradition, there is much about the production that is new. Audiences will enjoy new backdrops, sets, costumes, and choreography that will update this traditional telling of the story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.
Audience favorites, such as Magician Bill Kress” Herr Drosselmeyer with his live birds and dazzling illusions, will return. The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Predrag Gosta, will accompany the dancers for the last 8 shows which comprise the last two weeks of the production”s run.
Much of the newness is inspired by a changing of the guard at GBT. For the past 15 years, the ballet was under the Artistic Directorship of Lisa Sheppard Robson. Upon Robson”s retirement this year, the GBT Board embarked upon a search for new leadership and found the perfect candidate in Jaime Robtison. Robtison was Artistic Director of the Covington Regional Ballet for 10 years and owned her own studio for 6 years. She has a background as both a professional ballerina in major companies and as a teacher who has taught at the Atlanta Ballet”s Center for Dance Education for 10 years.
Robtison says, “Taking the helm of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre is embarking on a huge task, and it is with great excitement that I come on board as Artistic Director. GBT has a long history of excellence and dedication to the young artists of our region, and this Nutcracker will be my first ballet for my new company home. I am excited about the new look and the new choreography. I believe audiences will be enchanted by everything our wonderful young dancers show them!”#
GBT”s Nutcracker will put over 150 dancers on the stage over the 16 shows that are offered. Three casts rotate between dates, and dancers come in all sizes from age 4 to adults. The pre-professional company is enhanced with guest male dancers Noel Dupuis, Ryan Cook, and Nick Hagelin.
The GBT Nutcracker also invites local celebrities to perform as Mother Ginger, a second act iconic figure whose massive skirts hide 8 little dancers who come out to perform. The comical Mother Ginger will be performed by many well known Gwinnett figures such as North Johnson, General Manager of the Gwinnett Braves, radio personality Gary Gross of Americaswebradio.com, Lisa Zaken of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Sally Corbett of Artworks Gwinnett organization, and Denise Brinson of the City of Suwanee among others.
Specific dates and times for the public performances are: 12/3 at 2:30 and 7:30; 12/4 at 2:30. These performances are danced to recorded music. Live music performances are 12/9 at 7:30, 12/10 at 2:30 and 7:30; 12/11 at 2:30; 12/16 at 7:30; 12/17 at 2:30 and 7:30, and 12/18 at 2:30. Tickets range in price from $13.50 to $29.50 depending on specific performance. There are discounts for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased through any Ticketmaster location, by calling Ticketmaster at 404-249-6400, or by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office in the Gwinnett Arena Building, also located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
For more information, contact the GBT office at 770-978-0188 or visit www.gwinnettballet.org.