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Local Suwanee boy joins Atlanta Ballet for 'The Princess and the Goblin'

ATLANTA -- Internationally renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp has been working with the Atlanta Ballet for months on George MacDonald's "The Princess and the Goblin," which premieres Friday night at the Cobb Energy Centre.

The show won't be the only thing premiering though. Joshua Nunamaker of Suwanee, 8, takes stage with 12 other local children to show the masses their skills as thriving ballerinas.

"I'm ready -- I want to go," he said about being excited to perform in front of a large audience.

Once a week, Nunamaker and the other children practice for their parts -- running away from the goblins, but he is very proud to work with so many experienced dancers for the performance.

"It feels really exciting, cool, awesome and everything like that," he said. "I watch them do jumps and sometimes I think they are really, really good and awesome and other times I think their jump was bad and they need to do it again. The company dancers help me by telling me when to go on the music and help me keep the right timing so I don't mess up."

Nunamaker started dancing at the age of 2 to let out some extra energy while his older sisters took their ballet classes.

"That year, he learned how to sword fight using ballet moves. He loved leaping over the imaginary pond and he played the Archer in 'Swan Lake' using a bow made from a plastic hanger," mom Melody Nunamaker said. "That first time on stage, he was fascinated with the audience, and he only performed the moves that he wanted to do, such as being the frog and leaping over the lake."

But since joining the dance company, Joshua's mother has seen a difference in his passion for ballet.

"Since becoming an Atlanta Ballet student, Joshua's love for dance has really developed. He is so thrilled to have ballet classes that are a challenge for him and that make it interesting," she said. "Working with Twyla really was perfect timing. It gave Joshua the chance to have extra dance classes with an opportunity of performing on stage and he has been learning so much by working with the company dancers. Plus, we were thrilled with the announcement that the production would be George MacDonald's story 'The Princess and the Goblin,' it gave us a chance to re-read the story of a classic."

The show runs until Feb. 19.