Arts As­so­ci­a­tion presents ‘Nutcracker’

Hol­i­day clas­sic to fea­ture lo­cal per­form­ers

The Covington News - - NEWTON @ PLAY - By Tyler Smith

The Arts As­so­ci­a­tion in New­ton County will host the sixth an­nual per­for­mance of the clas­sic bal­let “The Nutcracker” fea­tur­ing Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Com­pany this Satur­day and Sun­day.

“It has re­ally grown in pop­u­lar­ity in the past few years,” said Bun­cie Lan­ners, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion “A lot of time is put into the pro­duc­tion ev­ery year. I think it is quickly be­com­ing a hol­i­day tra­di­tion for fam­i­lies in the area to come and see.”

The bal­let will be held in Porter Hall at New­ton High School with shows Satur­day Dec. 1, at 7:00 p.m. and Sun­day Dec. 2, at 3:00 p.m. Tick­ets are $22 for gen­eral ad­mis­sion, $19 for se­niors and $11 stu­dents. Lan­ners said the two per­for­mances sold out last year and that tick­ets were go­ing fast again this year.

“It’s re­ally amaz­ing for a town our size,” Lan­ners said.

The Arts As­so­ci­a­tion has hosted the bal­let since 2001 us­ing lo­cals and the Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Com­pany. Lan­ners said guest bal­let com­pa­nies had pre­vi­ously been hired to per­form the tra­di­tional tale.

“The Nutcracker” bal­let, which is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” writ­ten by E.T.A. Hoff­man, tells the story of a young Ger­man girl who dreams about a Nutcracker Prince and a bat­tle against a Mouse King.

The New­ton County per­for­mance will again be over­seen by Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Jaime Robti­son, who pre­vi­ously pre­formed with the At­lanta Bal­let Com­pany.

“I just think that each year the per­for­mances get bet­ter and bet­ter as the com­pany gets bet­ter,” Robti­son said. “We are get­ting closer to a pro­fes­sional qual­ity prod­uct. That’s my goal, for this town to sus­tain a pro­fes­sional bal­let.”

Each year the num­ber of peo- ple in­volved with the Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Com­pany has grown, Robti­son said. This year the troupe has swelled to 40 peo­ple with the in­tro­duc­tion of an ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gram for ages 7 through 9.

“With the pro­gram, they can learn what it takes to be a pro­fes­sional bal­le­rina and see if that is right for them,” Robti­son said.

Lo­cal adults and chil­dren will also join the Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Com­pany for this year’s per­for­mance. Robti­son said the adults mostly worked as ac­tors while the chil­dren had smaller dance roles.

“Peo­ple will not be dis­ap­pointed,” Lan­ners said. “This is an op­por­tu­nity right here in this com­mu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence a pro­fes­sional qual­ity bal­let.”

The en­tire pro­duc­tion is a com­mu­nity af­fair, Robti­son said, with sets and many cos­tumes made or do­nated by lo­cal cit­i­zens.

“This year we are go­ing to have a lot of new cos­tumes which were do­nated by par­ents,” Robti­son said.

Lan­ners said the New­ton County per­for­mance of “The Nutcracker” will be on par with those in At­lanta which cost as much as $75 per ticket.

“But it is a lot closer to home,” she said. “And ours costs at least half as much.”

This year Robti­son will be joined by new As­sis­tant Di­rec­tor Har­mony Clair to bring a new fla­vor to the per­for­mance. Clair, who pre­vi­ously worked with the Bos­ton Bal­let Com­pany and the San Fran­cisco Bal­let Com­pany, will be in charge of the bal­let’s first act the “Party Scene.”

“It’s nice to have some­one else who has that kind of ex­pe­ri­ence,” Robti­son said.

Tick­ets can be pur­chased at the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion in New­ton County of­fice on 1106 Wash­ing­ton Street, by call­ing (770) 786-8188, by visit­ing the Web site www.new­ton­count­yarts.org or at the gate on the day of the shows.

The Arts As­so­ci­a­tion in New­ton County will next pair up with the Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Com­pany for a per­for­mance of “Cin­derella” on April 19 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Christ­mas trees and rat kings: Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Com­pany mem­bers Liz Stiller­man, left, danc­ing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Rachel Matheiu as Clara prac­tice for hol­i­day bal­let “The Nutcracker,” which will be pre­sented by The Arts As­so­ci­a­tion in New­ton County Satur­day and Sun­day at Porter Hall on the cam­pus of New­ton High School.

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