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ART BEAT: A summer full of dancing awaits at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre

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Photo: Richard Calmes Ballerina Abigrace Diprima and student Sydney Fortson are both dancers with the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre. Summer camps for the studio start in June.

"It's going to be a fun summer," Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's Artistic Director Wade Walthall said. "We are going to have wonderful classes and inspiring guest teachers. Young dancers from age 4 and up will find a rewarding experience and increase their dance skills before the start of the 2013-2014 year."

This June, July and August will mark the first summer intensive in GBT's huge new studios, offering summer camps, sessions of "beginner ballet" camps and weeks of serious training in ballet intensives for the older girls.

The fun begins on June 2 when GBT will host an open house in the new facility, welcoming new and existing students and their families from 2 to 4 p.m. Tours, food and a special showcase performance in one of the studios will be open to all.

Then the summer calendar of dancing fun begins. Summer dance camp for children ages 4-6 will be held on June 3-7 and again on July 22-26. Young ones will enjoy ballet, costumes, crafts and more.

A special camp for beginning ballet students will occur on June 17-21 and July 22-26. This camp is for GBT's Levels 1 and 2 students and will focus on ballet basic techniques, conditioning and ballet etiquette, to name a few things.

For more advanced dancers, summer intensives will be held the weeks of June 10-15, June 17-21, July 8-12 and July 15-19. During these weeks, GBT will offer excellent instruction in classical ballet, variations, pas de deux, modern, jazz, improvisation and choreography. GBT's teaching staff -- under the direction of Walthall -- will guide young dancers towards enhanced technical and artistic ability. And, there will be guest teachers.

The week of June 10-15 will find GBT alumnus Robert Dekkers teaching the summer intensive. Dekkers is the celebrated founder and choreographer for the San Francisco-based company "Post: Ballet" and was one of Dance Magazine's "25 Dancers To Watch" last year.

The week of June 17-21 will find Marcial Ibarra of the National Ballet of Cuba teaching classes. Ibarra was recently seen in the role of Hilarion in GBT's production of "Giselle" on March 30 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

GBT dancers are also busy this summer outside their home studio, having been accepted into prestigious summer intensives at the School of American Ballet in New York City, Houston Ballet, The Rock School and Nashville Ballet, among many others.

These dancers need to be working hard as they will have a busier season than usual. An additional production has been announced for the first weekend in October as well as GBT's 16-show production of "The Nutcracker" from Dec. 7-22, plus a major spring production.

GBT also welcomes everyone to come to the recital on May 18 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center and see what the excitement is all about. There will be two performances, at 3 and 6:30 p.m. There is no admission charge.

For more information visit the website at www.gwinnettballet.org or call 770-237-0046. For a summer programming registration form, go to www.gwinnettballet.org/registration.

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