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ART BEAT: Southern Ballet Theatre to present 'Rapunzel' at Performing Arts Center

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Southern Ballet Theatre will present the fairy tale “Rapunzel” at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center on March 7, 8 and 9. (Special Photo)

Rapunzel will let down her long, silky hair during Southern Ballet Theatre’s production of the ballet named for the young heroine trapped in a tower. The classic tale does have a happy ending, however!

Four performances will be held. Evening shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, and matinees will be presented at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9. Tickets are $16 in advance for adults, $14.50 for seniors and students, and $11 for groups of 10 or more. Tickets at the door are $18.50, $16.50 and $11.50, respectively. Tickets can be purchased at the Gwinnett Center box office or by calling 1-888-9AXS-TIX. Patrons can also call the SBT studios for tickets at 678-682-9238.

Two special events are a part of this production in addition to the dancing on stage. Immediately after the evening shows, audiences can join cast members outside to send off lanterns into the evening sky. For matinees, audience members will be given their own lanterns to take home so that they can have magical moments in their own backyards.

Another event will be held at the Hudgens Center next door to the theatre. A special Princess Tea Party will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, in the Grand Hall. Tickets for this tea party are $35 per person and include a priority seating ticket to the 2:30 performance that day. Tea, sandwiches, cupcakes and juice will be served.

“Rapunzel is a timeless tale, known and loved by all ages,” said Alicia Chitwood, SBT’s associate director. “We want you to join us for a magical night under the lanterns. We will infuse the splendor of ballet with lots of energy, excitement and humor.”

The production is one all family members can enjoy.

“We have amazing sets that would not be complete without a 30-foot tower,” Chitwood said.

The cast includes 45 SBT company dancers. Costumes and special effects have been designed by Michele Deedy. In addition to SBT’s dancers, additional performers from the Southern Performing Arts Academy will appear as flowers, fairies and “little pub rascals.”

The lead role of Rapunzel will be danced by Brooke Bennett, a senior at Brookwood High School. The role of Gothel will be performed by Faith Candino, a sophomore at Grayson High School. Caroline Deedy and Alyssa Watkins play the Stabella Sisters. The role of Flint will be performed by SBT’s Artistic Director Brandon Chitwood.

A special performance for select students in Gwinnett County will be performed as a field trip, exposing young students to the performing arts as a part of SBT’s outreach program.

SBT is housed at Southern Performing Arts Academy located at 3315 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 16, in Lawrenceville. To learn more about Southern Ballet Theatre and Southern Performing Arts Academy, visit www.southernballettheatre.com or call 678-682-9238.

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