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ART BEAT: Gwinnett Ballet to offer ballet classics, tribute to Disney

Youth America Grand Prix Atlanta winner Francisco Serrano will perform as guest dancer in Gwinnett ballet Theatre’s Oct. 5-6 performances. (Photo: Richard Calmes)

Youth America Grand Prix Atlanta winner Francisco Serrano will perform as guest dancer in Gwinnett ballet Theatre’s Oct. 5-6 performances. (Photo: Richard Calmes)

“Ballet Bits and Contemporary Pieces” is the name of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s first fall production, held Oct. 5 and 6 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Three performances will bring a variety of ballet and contemporary pieces to the stage, from the classicism of “Sleeping Beauty Pas de Deux” to a fond homage to the early years of Walt Disney’s movies.

Performances are 3 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 and 3 p.m. Oct. 6. Tickets range from $12 to $20 and can be purchased through www.gwinnettcenter.com or by calling 888-9AXS-TIX.

One of the highlights of the program will be a special appearance by the winner of the 2013 Youth America Grand Prix Atlanta, Francisco Serrano. Serrano, 16, hales from the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, where his mother and father, both veterans of the renowned Cuban National Ballet, have established a school. Serrano and two of his female counterparts from Sarasota won the top prize and the two top senior female honors at the YAGP event in March 2013, here in Gwinnett.

Serrano will be performing the “Sleeping Beauty Pas de Deux” with another dancer who did well at YAGP, 14-year-old Madison Greene. GBT dancer Greene was a top 12 finisher in the Junior Division and competed in the finals in New York City in April this year. She will be dancing the part of Aurora. The pas is danced to the sweeping, aristocratic Tchaikovsky score, a beautiful and well-loved ballet moment.

Another program piece is the “Romeo and Juliet Pas de Deux” to Prokoviev’s passionate, dramatic music. Dancing the star-crossed lovers will be Abigrace Diprima and GBT’s guest dancer from Portugal, Ricardo Runa, a graduate of the National Conservatory of Dance in Lisbon.

The choreography of GBT Artistic Director Wade Walthall will complete the production which begins with a neo-classical dance to music by Delibes, “Pas Delibes.” Another piece, “Poison” has an interesting heritage. While based in Seattle, Walthall was commissioned to choreograph a trilogy to reflect three of the perfumes by Christian Dior. “Poison” is contemporary choreography set to the French pop group Stereo Lab, and contains images of fashion, decadence and mannerism.

“Dancing to Disney” ends the show, but don’t expect any little mermaids or magic genies. The ballet is set to the songs from Disney’s “vintage” movies of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. “Whistle While You Work,” “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” and “When You Wish Upon A Star” are four of many humorous and uplifting songs brought to life by the GBT dancers.

For more information about “Ballet Bits and Contemporary Pieces,” call 770-237-0046 or go to www.gwinnettballet.org. GBT is located at 1800 Macleod Drive in Lawrenceville.

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