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ART BEAT: Southern Ballet to offer non-traditional holiday performances

The Lawrenceville troop to present a “Grinchy” show

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Southern Ballet Theatre presents “A Very Grinchy Christmas” at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center Nov. 23 and 24. (Special Photo)

Many dance companies cap off the year with an annual “Nutcracker” production, but Southern Ballet Theatre likes to go the alternative route — it goes “Grinchy.” For the past four years, the company has presented “A Very Grinchy Christmas” based on the popular characters of Dr. Seuss’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“A Very Grinchy Christmas” will be presented at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 24. Advance tickets are $16.50 for adults, $14.50 for students and seniors, and $11.50 for groups of 10 or more for the same performance. At the door tickets are $18.50 for adults, $16.50 students and seniors, with the group rate remaining the same.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office, located in the Gwinnett Arena building, by calling 1-888-9AXS-TIX or by visiting www.AXS.com.

Lead roles for the ballet will be portrayed by both staff and students at Southern Ballet Theatre. The Grinch will be performed by SBT’s Artistic Director Brandon Chitwood. The part of Cindy Lou-Who will be danced by Greater Atlanta Christian senior Caroline Deedy. In the role of Max will be Brookwood High School senior Brooke Bennett.

Other Brookwood High School students in the production include Isabel Babb and Jaclyn Pescitelli. Also in a lead role is Nick Thacker, a senior at Mill Creek.

In all, more than 50 dancers will participate in the production. These include students of Southern Performing Arts Academy where Southern Ballet Theatre has its home. There will also be guest dancers performing in the roles of Little Who-Girls, Soldiers and Mice.

Next up for SBT will be the ballet “Rapunzel” on March 7-9.

In recent seasons, SBT has delighted audiences with ballet adaptations of “Rapunzel,” “Pirates” and “Aladdin.” Its repertoire includes full-length classical ballets such as “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia,” “Giselle” and “Romeo and Juliet.” SBT has also staged “The Little Mermaid,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Snow White” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Southern Ballet Theatre is a nonprofit regional dance company dedicated to educating, promoting and increasing appreciation of dance in the Southeast, metro Atlanta and communities in and around Gwinnett County through theater performance, public school demonstrations, arts festivals and community activities. Established in 1991, SBT is housed at Southern Performing Arts Academy. The company is a member of the highly respected Southeastern Regional Ballet Association of Regional Dance America, a position held by only 19 pre-professional dance companies in the 10-state Southeastern Region.

For more information about Southern Ballet Theatre and “A Very Grinchy Christmas,” visit www.southernballettheatre.com or call 678-682-9238. SBT is located at 3315 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville.

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