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Some Old, Lots New in GBT's 'Nutcracker'

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre's 30th anniversary production features new backdrops, sets, costumes, and choreography.

There will be some of the old and a lot of the new in the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s 30thanniversary production of the “The Nutcracker” Dec. 2-18 at the .

The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre announced that audiences will experience new backdrops, sets, costumes, and choreography that will update the traditional holiday story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.

Eleven public performances and five outreach shows will be offered on weekends in both matinee and evening performances. The Gwinnett Performing Arts Center is a part of the Gwinnett Center complex located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. GBT’s production of “The Nutcracker” will put more than 150 dancers on the stage over the 16 shows. Three casts rotate between dates with dancers ranging in age from 4 to adulthood. Noel Dupuis, Ryan Cook, and Nick Hagelin will appear as guest male dancers.

Audience favorites, such as Magician Bill Kress in the role of Herr Drosselmeyer with his live birds and dazzling illusions, will return. The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Predrag Gosta, will accompany the dancers for the last eight shows.

GBT invites local celebrities to portray Mother Ginger, a character whose massive skirts hide eight young dancers who come out to perform. Among the celebrities appearing in this role will be North Johnson, general manager of the Gwinnett Braves; radio personality Gary Gross of Americaswebradio.com, Lisa Zaken of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Sally Corbett of Artworks Gwinnett, and Denise Brinson of the City of Suwanee.

New Gwinnett Artistic Director Jaime Robtison is credited with inspiring much of the newness. Robtison was artistic director of the Covington Regional Ballet for 10 years and owned her own studio for six years. She has a background as both a professional ballerina in major companies and as a teacher who has taught at the Atlanta Ballet’s Center for Dance Education for 10 years.

Robtison took over as artistic director following the retirement of Lisa Sheppard Robson, who served in the position for 15 years.

“The Nutcracker” is Robtison’s first production at GBT. “I am excited about the new look and the new choreography. I believe audiences will be enchanted by everything our wonderful young dancers show them.”

Public performances Dec. 3 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. will be danced to recorded music. Live music performances are Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 10 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m., Dec. 12 & 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 17 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $13.50 to $29.50 with discounts for students, senior citizens, and groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased through any Ticketmaster location, by calling Ticketmaster at 404-249-6400, or by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office in the Gwinnett Arena Building, also located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. For more information, contact the GBT office at 770-978-0188.

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