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ARTIST PROFILE: Shiloh grad now performing in Atlanta Ballet's 'Moulin Rouge'

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

After two seasons dancing with the Orlando Ballet, Deonte Hansel has gotten much closer to his Gwinnett dance roots -- the 22-year-old is now performing with the Atlanta Ballet in its season opener "Moulin Rouge," which is in its final weekend run at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Hansel took his first ballet class with Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Lisa Sheppard. He talks to staff writer Deanna Allen about his background in dance.

DA: Tell me how you got started dancing.

DH: I joined a hip-hop team for about two years in middle school. Then one day I had a meeting with my teacher about how much I enjoyed dancing and would like to do it as a career in the future. She told me that I should start taking ballet class and that's when I started taking classes with Gwinnett Ballet Theater at the age of 16.

DA: Did you always know you wanted to pursue dancing professionally or was it something that just happened?

DH: I was always interested in dancing, but it was more like hip-hop and break-dancing ... not ballet. After taking my first ballet classes, I liked it so much I stayed with it.

DA: What would you say is your favorite style of dance, both to perform and then to watch?

DH: I like dancing hip-hop when I'm not doing ballet. I also enjoy watching groups break dance.

DA: What has your experience with the Atlanta Ballet been like so far?

DH: My time here with Atlanta Ballet so far has been a wonderful experience. The company and staff are really friendly and welcoming of new dancers.

DA: Tell me about some of your hobbies. What do you like to do when you're not dancing?

DH: When I'm not dancing and the company is off, I enjoy traveling to other countries. I like to see and experience other parts of the world and its culture.

DA: What are your goals for your dance career?

DH: As a professional dancer, I have many goals that are both are physical and mental. I would like to reach my full potential both as a professional dancer and artist.

For more information on the Atlanta Ballet's "Moulin Rouge," visit www.atlantaballet.com.