A whole new world: Ballet company opens season with 'Aladdin'

The Northeast Atlanta Ballet will open its 2009-10 season Saturday night, transporting audiences to Arabia.

With exotic costuming and mesmerizing choreography, dancers will bring to the stage the Middle-Eastern fairy tale "Aladdin."

Using a little stage magic, an enchanted carpet will take flight as a streetwise beggar enlists the help of a spunky genie and the genie's offer of three wishes to woo a high-spirited Arabian princess and dupe the sultan's sinister vizier, who has forbidden him to see her.

Former Lilburn School of Ballet instructor John Streit, who recently moved to Arizona to obtain a master's degree in dance, will dance the role of Aladdin. He will be joined on stage by Lauren McDonough and Lindsey Blackburn, who will share the role of the Arabian princess. Alexis Jones and Brittany Pagan will dance the role of the genie.

This production of "Aladdin" is a first for the Northeast Atlanta Ballet, under the direction of artistic director Jennifer Gordon.

"We thought 'Aladdin' would be a completely different look," Gordon said of the production. "We have nothing with these types of costumes and scenery."

Gordon said "Aladdin" is a great production for first-time ballet-goers.

"It's very fast paced and exciting," she said. "There's comedy and a love story. There's a little bit of everything for everyone."

The Northeast Atlanta Ballet will present "Aladdin" at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center in Duluth. The ballet company's 13th season will continue with a production of "The Nutcracker" in late November, high flying in "Peter Pan" in March and the comedic "Coppelia" in mid-May.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Northeast Atlanta Ballet's "Aladdin"

· When: 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday

· Where: Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth

· Cost: $12 to $15

· For more information: Visit www.northeastatlantaballet.org