Contemporary pieces to complement 'Wonderland'

Before Alice follows the white rabbit and falls down a rabbit hole this weekend, three pre-professional dancers and aspiring choreographers with the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will debut contemporary ballets they have choreographed themselves.

Parkview High School student Allison Bridgers and Brookwood student Mallory Retter will dance in "Egoiste," a ballet they choreographed together that features five dancers all moving at the same time but never acknowledging, touching or looking at each other until the end of the dance. "Egoiste" is Latin for selfish.

"Mallory and I just wanted to do something like contemporary ballet ... with modern movement," said Bridgers, who has been dancing for nine years. "We wanted to do something intense and edgy."

Sixteen-year-old Lauren Clark will watch as her ballet, "Optio," is performed this weekend.

Latin for the power of choosing, "Optio" is "about how humanity chooses between good and evil, how you struggle with your life," Clark said.

A snake-like creature will represent the seven deadly sins as a devil and an angel compete for humanity, represented by a single dancer.

"It will be really very interesting to watch to see how the dancers perform and how they view it," said Clark, who has danced for ten years. The Greater Atlanta Christian student began developing the concept for the ballet in her Bible class as her teacher discussed the idea of sin.

"('Optio') kind of evolved from many different things," she said.

After the debuts of "Egoiste" and "Optio," Bridgers, Retter and Clark will join more than 80 other dancers performing "Alice in Wonderland."

For more information on these ballets, call the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre at 770-978-0188 or visit www.gwinnettballet.org.