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ART BEAT: Dancers take flight during Sugarloaf Ballet's 'Peter Pan'

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Special Photo Sugarloaf Performing Arts will present "Peter Pan" on Oct. 20 and 21 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

A new production of the favorite children's story "Peter Pan" will be presented by Sugarloaf Ballet at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center on Saturday and Sunday. Performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

This new three-act ballet has been created by Sugarloaf Ballet's Artistic Director Lori Zamzow-Wire. Set to music by Silvia Amato and Stephen Warbeck, the ballet will include all of everyone's favorite "Peter Pan" Disney characters as well as some new ones.

"Aside from the characters, three things stand out about this production," said Zamzow-Wire. "These are sets, costumes and flying.

"I chose the story of Peter Pan for this year's production because I have always wanted to incorporate flying with ballet. With the expertise of Flying by Foy, we are bringing a dynamic new production to Gwinnett Center."

Flying by Foy has created state-of-the-art flying techniques which will find Peter, Wendy and the Darling children whisking through the air. Sets and costumes had to be designed and constructed to accommodate the flying while still maintaining its mystique.

Portraying Peter Pan will be John Streit, a guest artist who performed with Sugarloaf Ballet in the 2011 production of "Sleeping Beauty." The remaining principal roles are being performed by members of Sugarloaf Ballet's pre-professional company. Tinker Bell is being danced by Morgan Davis, a senior at Greater Atlanta Christian School. Leah Nicoll, a senior at Faith Academy, will dance the role of Wendy Darling. Beloved antagonist, Captain Hook will be performed by Stephanie Reynolds, a freshman at Greater Atlanta Christian School.

Costumes for "Peter Pan" are the result of hiring costume mistress Paula Huys for the 2012-13 Season. Huys has created the costumes envisioned by Zamzow-Wire especially for Peter, Wendy and Tinkerbell. Other magical costuming will be seen on the Coral Reef Queen and mermaids, Indian braves and girls, and Fairy Dust Fairies.

Sets will offer numerous fantasy locations such as the Darling's nursery complete with a magical window, a Clubhouse which consists of a 12-foot tall treehouse with a slide, and a Jolly Rogers' pirate ship. Backdrops are on loan from the Eugene Ballet Company with set pieces constructed by Sugarloaf Ballet's prop-building committee.

Sugarloaf Ballet produces three full-length ballets each year. "Peter Pan" will be followed by a Nativity Ballet in December and a Young Choreographer's Showcase in January. There is also a summer intensive titled "Life As A Dancer," which brings experience and instruction from seasoned professionals to Gwinnett with the objective of providing a behind-the-scenes look at professional dancers' lives.

Tickets for "Peter Pan" are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. There is also a special rate of $15 each for groups of 20 or more. Tickets are on sale at the Sugarloaf Performing Arts lobby located at 1140 Old Peachtree Road in Duluth, at the Gwinnett Center Box Office or at any Ticketmaster location. For more information, visit www.sugarloafperformingarts.com.

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