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Art Beat: Northeast Atlanta Ballet presents 'Swan Lake'

Brookwood High School senior Katie Lamp'l has been dancing for 14 years and has enjoyed many roles with Northeast Atlanta Ballet. However, none have had the physical demands and emotional complexity that her upcoming role in "Swan Lake" offers her this weekend.

Northeast Atlanta Ballet will present "Swan Lake" at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. today, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. The dancers will be accompanied by the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra.

"Swan Lake" is one of the ballets created by two great Russian artists, the choreographer Marius Petipa and the composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The score is lush, beautiful and melodically familiar. The ballet is divided into four acts which tell the story of Odette, a princess who has been changed into a swan by an evil magician.

Along comes the handsome prince Siegfried, who of course falls in love with her. The ballet involves the themes of good and evil personified by the characters of the "good" Odette and the "evil" Odile, a dead ringer for Odette who leads the Prince astray.

Lamp'l is dancing the dual roles of Odette and Odile for all performances. The parts are both highly demanding technically and emotionally. The character of Odette requires a fluidity and specific technique to invoke the movements of a swan's wings. Odile requires a sharpness and great stamina to portray an evil temptress. The parts are uniquely different in style and approach.

Lamp'l will be surrounded by a full cast of 90 dancers. The production includes 300 costumes. Guest artist Ralph Jacques will portray the evil magician Von Rothbart and Peter Swan will perform the role of Prince Siegfried.

"Swan Lake" also includes a number of lovely roles, many quite familiar. The first act includes a beautiful pas de trios or dance for three, which will be performed by Sarah Bottino, Genevieve Colangelo, Alexis Jones and John Streit over the course of the four performances. In the second act, which occurs at a lake, Prince Siegfried comes upon Odette and her swans. During this act, the beautiful "four little swans" will perform a short and enchanting dance that will have the audience applauding.

Performing the "four little swans" will be Genevieve Colangelo, Cynthia Hardegree, Chelsea Elliott and Lindsey Blackburn. Following those four, there is another lovely dance for three "great swans." This will be performed by Shannon Robbins, Ashlie Brewer and Brittany Pagan.

The third act, where the evil Odile disrupts Siegfried's birthday party, is also filled with colorful dances. To celebrate Siegfried's birthday, beautiful potential "brides" from other countries are presented at court. They perform dances that reflect their countries' cultures, such as Italian, Spanish and Polish.

Tickets for "Swan Lake" are available through Ticketmaster, at the Gwinnett Center Box Office or through the Lilburn School of Ballet by calling 770-921-7277. For more information about the Northeast Atlanta Ballet, visit www.northeastatlantaballet.org.