Gwinnett Ballet Theatre celebrates 30 years with 'The Nutcracker'


• What: “The Nutcracker”

• When: Today through Sunday, Dec. 16-18, times vary

• Where: The Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth

• Cost: $19.50 to $29.50

• For more information: Visit www.gwinnettballe...

DULUTH -- With thoughts of sugar plum fairies in the air, it can only mean one thing: "The Nutcracker" ballet has returned to the stage.

Since 1981, the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre of Snellville has been performing and producing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's classic holiday ballet "The Nutcracker," and it continues the tradition this year at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center.

The theater celebrates its 30th anniversary with a face-lift -- there are new backdrops, sets, costumes and choreography in the show to update the story between the characters.

"I am excited about the new look and the new choreography," artistic director Jaime Robtison said. "I believe audiences will be enchanted by everything our wonderful young dancers show them."

The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Predrag Gosta, accompanies the dancers as they leap, pirouette and ballon across the stage for famous musical numbers such as "Nutcracker March," "Sugar Plum Fairies Dance," "Chinese Dance" and "Waltz of Flowers."

The Gwinnett Ballet consists of 150 dancers ranging from children as young as 4 years old to adults and they are rotated between shows.

This year, the theater has invited local faces to grace the stage as Mother Ginger, whose massive skirt hides eight tiny dancers in Act II. Some of those who will play the role include North Johnson, the general manager of the Gwinnett Braves, radio personality Gary Gross of Americaswebradio.com, Lisa Zaken of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Sally Corbett of ArtWorks! Gwinnett and Denise Brinson of the city of Suwanee.

"Taking the helm of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre is embarking on a huge task, and it is with great excitement that I come on board as artistic director," Robtison said. "GBT has a long history of excellence and dedication to the young artists of our region, and this 'Nutcracker' will be my first ballet for my new company home."

The show runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Dec. 18.