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Art Beat: Sugarloaf Performing Arts presents 'Snow White'

A beautiful young girl, seven humorous dwarfs, an evil queen, and, of course, a handsome prince - these are the magic ingredients for a beloved fairy tale, a well loved Disney animated movie and now a ballet.

Sugarloaf Performing Arts will present its own interpretation of the story at 7 p.m. today and again at 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Performances will take place at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

The cast includes more than 40 dancers from Sugarloaf Performing Arts' junior, intermediate, senior and pre-professional companies plus two professional guest artists and six male dancers from the University of Georgia and Mill Creek High School.

Sugarloaf Performing Arts Artistic Director Lori Zamzow-Wire is enthusiastic about the production. "One of our objectives is to present the story of Snow White in a ballet environment where children can be introduced to the classic tale and the audience can fall in love with the story again," she said.

The production is a two-hour show with a 15-minute intermission. The story is told in three acts based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The music is a compilation of classical pieces from composers Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatol Lyadov and Robert Schumann.

Ballets are always enhanced by beautiful costumes and sets, and "Snow White" is no exception.

"The Snow White costume, wedding tutu and the Prince's costumes were designed by Julie Hayes-Ricketts, a costume designer and professional ballerina," Zamzow-Wire said. "The sets include theatrical backdrops and many props, but much of the set was constructed with the help of parents who donated their Saturdays to help build items for the performance."

Company Director Michelle Bourgeios said, "There was literally a line of volunteers each time we asked for assistance. We are extremely grateful for the spirit and commitment of our parents."

Snow White will be performed by Peachtree Ridge High School student Jennifer Mullins, who is one of Sugarloaf Performing Arts' Pre-Professional Company dancers. Other soloists, all of whom are in the Pre-Professional Company, include Jessica Ojeda of Mill Creek High School as the Queen, Alexis Guthrie of Collins Hill High School as the Witch, Bailey Timmerman of Collins Hill High School as the Magical Bluebird and Alanna Ulman of Lanier Middle School as the Magical Deer.

The guest artists include Ryan Cook as the Prince. Cook studied at the Nashville Ballet and the Nutmeg Conservatory, and he has danced with the Orlando Ballet and the Columbia Classical Ballet. He currently dances with Georgia Ballet. Beau Foster will dance the part of the Queen's Huntsman. He is a resident guest artist with Georgia Ballet.

Tickets for "Snow White" range from $12 to $18 and are available through TicketMaster at 404-249-6400, at the Gwinnett Center Box Office, or at the Sugarloaf Performing Arts studios. These studios are perhaps the best kept secret in town as zoning prohibits the use of an outdoor sign. Their large, 7,000-square-foot studio is located on Old Peachtree Road just off Interstate 85, across from Home Depot. For more information about Sugarloaf Performing Arts, visit their Web site at www.sugarloafperformingarts.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts.

E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.