Ballethnic Dance Group Celebrates 22 Years With ‘Jazzy Sleeping Beauty’

By Special to the Daily World
Ballethnic Dance Company celebrates 22 years in the Atlanta Arts community as “Jazzy Sleeping Beauty” returns to the stage in Atlanta after its debut in 2009.  This full-length classical ballet, with a colorful twist on a familiar fairy tale classic, will be staged at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts, March 22-25.

An exciting reprisal of this unique ballet, “Jazzy Sleeping Beauty” takes the audience on a journey through a classic point of timelessness; movement and music create the emotional elegance of grandeur, beauty, and grace. The ballet moves from the 1840s where Tchaikovsky’s classical score celebrates the Princess, and then onto the 1940s where the Princess awakens, serenaded by a current composer’s jazzy score.

The production is in keeping with Ballethnic’s signature style of blending classical ballet with jazz, African-American dance and other ethnic dance forms. Co-founders Waverly T. Lucas II and Nena Gilreath introduced their distinctive dance form to Atlanta in 1990, when they created the Ballethnic Dance Company.  The company’s beginnings are rooted in their experiences as dancers with the famed Dance Theatre of Harlem.

“On leaving New York, we decided to bring our combined artistic training and experiences to Atlanta and establish a company here,” Gilreath said. “We knew that Atlanta’s rich cultural history, its many academic institutions and its thriving business community would provide fertile ground for developing a distinctive performing arts organization.”

This spring’s production of “Jazzy Sleeping Beauty” well reflects that intent and Ballethnic’s extraordinary performances over 22 years. Lucas, who serves as co-artistic director with Gilreath, once again has created an adaptation of one of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballets — this time adding a jazzy twist.

Performances are Thursday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m., Community Night  performance; Friday, March 23 at 8 p.m., Opening Night performance, followed by a VIP reception;  Saturday, March 24, at  8 p.m; and Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m

To purchase tickets, contact the Ferst Center Box Office at (404) 894-9601. Tickets are $29 for senior citizens, students, children and groups of 10 or more. General admission tickets are $39; Thursday, Friday, Saturday night buy one-get one for $39. VIP tickets are $52 (available for Friday, Opening Night Performance only) and include reserve seating and admittance to VIP reception with invited special guests.

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