Nov 20

Southern Ballet Theatre teams with school principals to stage ‘The Nutcracker’

By: Jon Gallo

Published: November 16, 2017

The Southern Ballet Theatre will perform “The Nutcracker” at the Infinite Energy Theater this weekend before taking the show to The Venue at Friendship Springs in Flowery Branch on Dec. 16.

“‘The Nutcracker’ is like a piece of cake because once you have the experience of performing it, it makes it easier to get a job in ballet,” said Alicia Wetzel, the Southern Ballet Theatre Company’s co-artistic director. “It a very well-known ballet so we want our girls to experience it, but we also want to put our own spin on it.”

The Southern Ballet Theatre is putting its touch on the iconic ballet by complementing its 45-member cast with a Gwinnett public school principal for three of the shows and having Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson star in Sunday’s performance at 2:30.

Stacy Schepens of Crews Middle School in Lawrenceville will take the stage for the 10:30 a.m. show on Saturday; Angie Wright of Craig Elementary School in Lawrenceville will star in the 2:30 p.m. show Saturday and Cheri Carter from Brookwood Elementary School in Snellville will be in the 7 p.m. show.

“The principals and the mayor have been very excited about being in The Nutcracker,” Wetzel said. “This will help us attract a bigger audience and hopefully people who don’t typically go to the ballet.”

The Nutcracker, which dates to the 1890s, was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, but it’s best known for its score, which was created by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Wetzel said the audience should expect an elaborate performance of The Nutcracker, which tells the tale of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince during its two-set, two-hour show.

“We don’t like to do shows that are simple and just have backdrops that are similar to what the audience has already seen,” Wetzel said. “We want to give everyone the full nine yards by using elaborate backdrops and great lighting. We may have high school students performing, but we want to give our dancers the best.”

The Southern Ballet Theatre is focused on educating, promoting and increasing the appreciation of dance, as the 26-year-old nonprofit organization has opened its doors to all dancers, regardless of their financial, physical or mental limitations.