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East Point ballet performing ‘Urban Nutcracker’
by Christine Fonville
November 19, 2013 04:45 PM | 1310 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff/Katherine Frye. From left, Calvin Gentry and Brandy Carwile dance in 'The Urban Nutcracker.'
Staff/Katherine Frye. From left, Calvin Gentry and Brandy Carwile dance in 'The Urban Nutcracker.'
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East Point’s Ballethnic Dance Co. is warming up for the holiday season and getting ready for its annual performance of “The Urban Nutcracker.”

The first show of the season will begin Thursday and run until Sunday.

The opening night show will begin at 7:30 p.m. and continue on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and end Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets for general admission will be $39 and children, student, senior and group tickets can be purchased for $29.

The show, which is based on the original Russian ballet, puts its own unique spin on the holiday classic.

“Our version takes place in the 1940s on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta and is about the Johnson family and their holiday party. There are plenty of colorful characters and comedic moments,” said Nena Gilreath, co-founder of the dance company.

The show is celebrating its 20th season this year and Gilreath said it has become a holiday tradition for many people in the community.

“When we first started, our slogan was ‘a holiday tradition in the making,’ but 20 years later, it’s definitely become an institution and many people have told me they take their families to see it each year,” she said.

Gilreath said those who have seen the performance year after year can expect to see some familiar faces on stage and can also bid farewell to Waverly Lucas, who has played many of the main roles in the performance for the past two decades.

“He’ll be retiring from playing a main role to focusing more on being a choreographer,” she said.

Another reason it appeals to audiences in Atlanta, she said, is the familiarity of the setting.

“The setting is right here and people of color can embrace and relate to it, even if they may have never experienced a ballet before. Making it local gave us the ability to incorporate familiarity,” Gilreath said.

Unlike the original version, the Urban Nutcracker also has a narrator to explain the story as the dancers perform it.

“It’s a very accessible ballet that anybody can understand and we have many children who come and really enjoy it,” Gilreath said.

If you go
What: The Urban Nutcracker
When: Nov. 21 through 24
Where: Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive, Atlanta
Cost: general admission $39, children, student and senior admission $29
Information: www.ballethnic.org

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