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Down the rabbit hole: Gwinnett Ballet presents 'Alice in Wonderland'

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

At 6-foot-1, Maggie Ellington is considered tall for a ballet dancer.

But she hasn't let her height hold her back from doing what she loves.

The 16-year-old will take a turn dancing the role of the precocious Alice in Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's "Alice in Wonderland" this weekend.

"Because of my height I have limited opportunities and I am blessed to play the part of Alice in this year's show," the 16-year-old said. "I hope to inspire other young girls to pursue their dreams, you never know what might happen."

A host of characters will come alive in the ballet based on Lewis Carroll's children's story of a girl who tumbles down a rabbit hole into an enchanted world. GBT dancers will perform to classical music favorites as they act out the events of Alice's adventures and her encounters with the grinning Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts.

"Our production is going to be wonderful this year and our audience can expect to be inspired and entertained," Ellington said. "There is something for every age. Children will love our costumes and our characters' antics. Adults will be amazed at our talent, creativity and all the hard work that goes into the production and performance."

Tori Thompson's favorite scene in Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's "Alice in Wonderland" is set when the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and Alice sit down for a tea party.

"It's very entertaining, fun to watch," the 17-year-old ballerina said. "It's recognizable from the 'Alice in Wonderland' movie, and it's just a very funny scene."

"I think it's a really fun performance that every age can pretty much enjoy," said Lauren Clark, who dances the role of the Cheshire Cat.

But before Alice follows the White Rabbit into Wonderland, GBT dancers will present new, contemporary works, some choreographed by a few of the dancers themselves, as well as classical pieces from GBT's repertory.

Clark completed the choreography for her contemporary ballet -- "Siniem Respice" -- on Monday. The piece will feature 10 dancers, including Clark herself.

The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will hold performances at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center in Duluth. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 770-978-0188 or visit www.gwinnettballet.org.