'Cinderella' ballet slips into Gwinnett


• What: “Cinderella” presented by the Atlanta Ballet

• When: 2 and 5 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday

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

• Cost: $9.50 to $44.50

• For more information: Visit www.atlantaballet.com

DULUTH -- This weekend, fairy tales do come true.

Starting today, Atlanta Ballet presents the story of "Cinderella" for families and dreamers alike at the Performing Arts Center at the Gwinnett Center.

Although it isn't the Disney version with singing and mice, it still encompasses the storyline everyone knows. Cinderella lives with her wicked stepsisters, who treat her badly. A stranger (aka a fairy) comes around and rewards Cinderella by giving her a coach and a new look.

At the ball, Cinderella falls in love with the prince. She stays until midnight when her spell wears off. When she leaves, her slipper falls off, which the prince uses to find her again.

"It's kid-friendly, but I wouldn't say it's the Disney version," said Stephanie Hall, Lawrenceville resident and Atlanta Ballet dancer. "It's more the traditional 'Cinderella' ballet, where she loses her point shoe."

With children in front of glossy screens a majority of the day, Hall believes this ballet is a great way to keep their young minds growing with imagination.

"I think its really important that children see shows like this," she said. "You can find happiness in a lot of interesting things that are more simplistic. Kids nowadays are into technology and they lose a lot from not embracing the arts."

There is another reason Hall recommends parents to bring their children: Their future.

"Another reason it's important to come is that this could be where they decide they have a passion and say, 'I want to do this,'" she said. "I remember the first time I saw 'The Nutcracker.' I knew I wanted to be ballerina after that."

The one-hour family ballet features about 13 company members and fellowship dancers from Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., the ballet is hosting a Princess Tea Party for those who purchase tickets. Proof of the Pudding caters the affair with tea sandwiches, cupcakes and juices. Before the show, one ballerina dressed in a full tutu will escort the group into the theater.

The ballet runs through Sunday.