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ART BEAT: Sugarloaf Ballet presents 'The Sleeping Beauty'

A new pre-professional ballet company was added to Gwinnett's impressive list of nonprofit arts organizations last year. Sugarloaf Ballet was launched in 2010 and consists of 65 dancers from the combined Sugarloaf Ballet and Sugarloaf Performing Arts dance companies.

On Saturday and Sunday, audiences will be able to enjoy Sugarloaf Ballet as it presents "The Sleeping Beauty" for three performances at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Show dates and times are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Sugarloaf Ballet's Artistic Director, Lori Zamzow-Wire, describes the ballet as something for the entire family to enjoy.

"The original choreography for 'Sleeping Beauty' is over four hours long, so we condensed this into a three act, two hour ballet," Zamzow-Wire said.

With the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky, "Sleeping Beauty" includes multiple scenes in each of the three acts. "There are scenes in the palace courtyard where a party is thrown for the Princess Aurora, and also where the sleeping spell is cast when she turns 16," Zamzow-Wire said.

"The second act is the vision scene and is set in a forest. The third act is the wedding scene, set in the castle, which is attended by many fairytale characters including Little Red Riding Hood, White Cats, Bluebirds, and Cinderella."

Exciting sets pieces such as a 12-foot sailboat and a vulture carriage for the evil fairy Carabosse are part of the production.

Dancing the role of Aurora is Bailey Timmerman of Suwanee. Bailey has been a student of Sugarloaf Performing Arts for 11 years. She is now a senior at Collins Hill High School. Joining her as the Lilac Fairy is 17-year-old Jessica Ojeda of Buford, a student of Sugarloaf Performing Arts for 10 years. Five other major roles, the fairies who grace the baby Aurora with gifts at her christening, are performed by Sherry Sayavongsa, Stephanie Reynolds, Kali Gegen, Morgan Davis and Leah Nicoll.

"I chose the ballet 'Sleeping Beauty' for this year's performance because it is a very technical ballet, and I wanted to both challenge and display the ballet technique of our dancers," Zamzow-Wire said. "The choreography of this ballet is very beautiful, and it is a fairytale story that audiences of all ages can enjoy."

Tickets are $16 in advance and $18 at the door. Group discount is available. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster, at the Gwinnett Center Box Office and in the Sugarloaf Performing Arts lobby located at 1140 Old Peachtree Road, Suites B and C.

For more information, visit the website at www.sugarloafperformingarts.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.