ART BEAT: Southern Ballet Theatre celebrates holidays early

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

The first of the holiday season offerings in dance, Southern Ballet Theatre's "A Very Grinchy Christmas" will be held at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

The SBT dancers will recreate a favorite children's book, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," with Cindy Lou and the Whoville citizenry taking on that mean, green Grinch.

Performances will also offer a number of contemporary works. These will include choreography in ballet, modern, jazz and hip-hop. A third aspect of the show will welcome home alumna Cassie Trenary, 17, who has been living in New York City and studying as a pre-professional at the prestigious JKO School at American Ballet Theatre.

Trenary will be returning as a guest performer, presenting "Le Corsaire, Act III, Guinare's Variation" originally choreographed by Marius Petipa, and a self-choreographed piece titled "Secrets."

The contemporary works on the program include:

* Shangri-La -- An action-packed adventure set in the 1940s that takes audiences on a ride through a mythical world involving the rise of a mummy emperor to rule the world with his army. SBT's Artistic Director Brandon Chitwood has created this piece using his original choreography and musical composition. The piece includes special effects and a movie set staging.

* Aha! -- A contemporary dance choreographed by Alicia Wetzel Chitwood with music by Imogen Heap. The piece challenges each dancer with "asymmetrical symmetry" of her body as each dancer wears only one pointe shoe.

* He's My Son -- This piece is a contemporary work by Camille McDade about the anguished prayers of a mother for her son who is ill. It is performed to music by Mark Shultz.

* Agnus Dei -- A Christian lyrical dance of worship and praise to the Holy Lamb of God, also choreographed by Camille McDade with music by Michael W. Smith.

* Lure -- A contemporary piece, danced en pointe, inspired by the classical ballet "Swan Lake." Choreographed by SBT alumni Sara D'Urso, this piece tells the story of a couple who are pulled apart by a misconception.

* No Hesitation -- A contemporary work by SBT alumni Shelby Price to music by Imogen Heap.

* Latin Flair -- A production piece choreographed by Courtney Ondre that encompasses all four companies of SBT. Latin Flair will have solos from the professional and pre-professional company members containing the styles of ballet, pointe, contemporary and jazz. Also, the former partnership of Chitwood and Trenary will be reunited in this production piece.

In addition, there will be two pieces by returning choreographer Robert "BJ" Hilbun created in his signature style.

Tickets are $13.50 for adults, $11.50 for children, students and seniors, and $10 each for groups of 20 or more purchased in advance. Children under 2 will be admitted free but must sit on a parent's lap. Tickets purchased at the door will be $15.

For more information, visit SBT's website at www.southernballettheatre.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.