Latest News







JUNE 10, 2015


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Gwinnett Ballet Theatre has expanded its popular Open Class schedule for Summer 2015 with added classes and teachers. Dancers can stay in shape during the summer in preparation for the 2015-2016 Season.


Open classes begin June 22 and continue through August 7 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday except the week of July 4th. Dancers age 12 and up are welcomed to attend. The cost is $20 per class and is payable at the door. No reservations are necessary.


This year, teachers David Blumenfeld, Victoria Leigh, and John Streit will be teaching a ballet class from 10:00 am – Noon. For 9 dates, Xavier Lewis will teach a hip hop class from noon to 1:00 pm. The dates for the hip hop classes are 6/22, 6/24, 6/26, 6/29, 7/1, 7/3, 7/27, 7/29 and 7/21. The price for hip hop class is $10, payable at the door.


There will be no Open Classes the weeks of July 6th – 17th. GBT continues to produce its Summer Fairy Tale Camp for ages 3-6 and its Beginner Ballet Intensive for ages 7-9 on July 13-17.


For more information and to register for the Fairy Tale Camp and Beginner Intensive, call 770-237-0046. GBT is located at 1800 Macleod Drive in Lawrenceville, directly across Sugarloaf Parkway from Gwinnett Tech.


Visit the web site at


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APRIL 15, 2015


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Young artists from age 3 and up will dance through the summer at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre! Camps, classes and intensives are scheduled from the beginning of June through July in GBT’s beautiful 22,000 square foot facility in Lawrenceville, GA.


For the littlest dancers, a special “Fairytale Ballet Camp” will be held June 1-5, June 15-19 and July 13-17. This camp will meet from 10 a.m. until noon and be filled with fun.  Imagine exploring a different ballet every day, a famous ballet based on a familiar fairy tale such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and others! Campers will enjoy dancing, costumes, crafts, and more. Space for this camp is limited, so registering soon is advised. The camp costs $120 per week.


The next level is Beginner Ballet Intensive for ages 7-9. This intensive meets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. the weeks of June 8-12, June 15-19 and July 13-17. Emphasis will be placed on ballet basics to ensure a solid technical foundation for future dance development. This intensive is $180 per week.


Advanced and Intermediate Intensives will offer young artists excellent instruction and good preparation for the upcoming season. These intensives meet from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on June 1-5 and June 14-18 (Sunday through Thursday.) The week of June 14-18 will feature guest teacher and GBT alumnus Robert Dekkers. Mr. Dekkers is enjoying a very successful dance career as the artistic director of the company “Post:Ballet” in San Francisco. He is also a member of the acclaimed Diablo Ballet. The cost of these intensives is $300 per week.

Open classes have become a popular part of the GBT summer curriculum. These classes begin the week of June 15th and continue throughout the summer with the exception of the week of July 4th. Classes will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, time to be determined.


For more information and to register, call 770-237-0046 or visit the web site at


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MARCH 2, 2015


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The story behind GBT’s newest production, a contemporary three act story ballet, features the “Journey” taken by a young man through life as he struggles with tragedy, love, and friendship. People with brain injury go through “journeys” of their own, seeking healing, hope and support. It seems appropriate that GBT and the Brain Injury Association of Georgia join forces to support each other’s efforts, as they share such similar messages. And, March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month.


“Journey” will be presented at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center on Saturday March 28th at 2:30 and 7:30 pm and on Sunday, March 29th at 2:30 pm. The production is a regional premiere. Written and choreographed by GBT Artistic Director Wade Walthall, the ballet features the music of Rachaminoff, Gorecki ad Nyman.


Journey incorporates classical ballet as well as contemporary elements to create a unique, modern story about the spiritual evolution of a young man, the circumstances of his life, and the choices he makes. Mr. Walthall describes the ballet as, “an ‘everyman tale’, universal in essence with truth and content common to all. It is a tale of the special journey we all take in order to find ourselves, love in our lives, and perhaps the stars…”


Paige Havens of the Brain Injury Association of Georgia shares, “Those who have endured brain injury take powerful journeys of their own.They are real tales of strength, perseverance and faith, full of swells of tragedy and triumph. We are thrilled to partner with GBT to bring encouragement and inspiration to brain injury survivors and their families and awareness to their journey.”




“Part of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s mission is to reach out to community organizations and other non-profits,” says GBT Board Chairman Ted Scartz. “The subject of brain injury has been brought into the public’s consciousness recently, largely through the world of sports. However, brain injuries happen every day to ordinary people, not just sports stars. We hope that our collaboration can bring further awareness to the great work being done by the Brain Injury Association of Georgia.”


Anyone with a brain injury or a condition resulting from a brain injury will receive special recognition if they attend a performance of “Journey.” Special ticket pricing is also available for Brain Injury Association of Georgia members. For more information about membership, visit


Tickets for “Journey” for the general public are available through  , by calling 888-929-7849, or by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office in the Arena Building. Tickets will also be available at the door. Prices are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $12 individually for groups of 10 or more. These prices do not reflect the special offer stated above.


For more information about the Brain Injury Association of Georgia, visit their web site at For information about GBT and its programs, visit or call 770-237-0046.


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OCTOBER 22, 2014




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Gwinnett Ballet Theatre has been producing their traditionally told version of “The Nutcracker” for Gwinnett audiences since 1981. This year, their 34th annual version of this family holiday favorite will entice thousands of people from all around North Georgia to the beautiful Gwinnett Performing Arts Center for this year’s run of 16 performances.




GBT’s “Nutcracker” includes all the beautiful dancing, costumes, sets and music that make this event a perennial success. 11 public performances will include 3 shows with recorded music (12/6 at 2:30 and 7:30, and 12/7 at 2:30) and 8 shows with the full live orchestra. The live orchestra shows are Fridays 12/12 and 12/19 at 7:30; Saturdays 12/13 and 12/20 at 2:30; Saturdays 12/13 and 12/20 at 7:30; and Sundays 12/14 and 12/21 at 2:30. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling 1-888-929-7849. They range in price from $18 to $35, and there are discounts for groups, seniors, and students. Patrons can also purchase tickets at the Gwinnett Center Box Office in the Arena Building.


There are also 5 outreach shows, with one Scout show at special pricing of $9 per ticket on Friday, December 5th at 7:30. A very special show will be presented on Friday, December 5th at 11:45 a.m.. This will be a Sensory Friendly Nutcracker especially for children with Austism and other special needs. The performance is in partnership with the Hirsch Academy and reservations are due by November 17th through the GBT Studios, 770-237-0046. This is not a ticketed performance, but a donation of $6 per person is appreciated.


Other school outreach shows occur on Friday, December 5th at 10:00 a.m. and Friday, December 12th at 10:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Tickets for these performances are $6 per person and are available by contacting Gwinnett Ballet Theatre studios at 770-237-0046.


Another facet of GBT’s “The Nutcracker” is the community participation. Almost each public performance honors a local municipality, civic or business organization, medical center, or private organization. Celebrity “Mother Gingers” are different for each public show and are coveted roles among community leaders! (Mother Ginger is the lady with the big skirt and funny wig in the second act.) This year, organizations such as Gwinnett Medical Center, Artworks! Gwinnett, New Lawrenceville, Summit Chase Country Club, and the Gwinnett Braves, among others, will enjoy their own “Day at the Nutcracker.”


Last year’s audiences totaled over 10,000 people for the 16 performances. The last week was totally sold out and the second week was almost sold out. Better get those tickets now!




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JULY 29, 2014




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The Board of Directors of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre announced this week that Whitney Sue Jones will be the new School Administrator effective immediately in preparation for the new school year beginning August 11th.




Ms. Jones has been affiliated with Gwinnett Ballet Theatre since childhood when she began taking ballet at the age of 4.  She continued dancing with GBT under the direction of Lisa Sheppard Robson; performing roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in GBT’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” and many other leading roles.




She holds a Masters of Science in Education and a Professional Training Certificate in Dance from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in collaboration with North Carolina Dance Theatre.  She married Stephen Snuggs in July.




“It is very exciting to be working with an organization that has been such an instrumental part of my life,” she says. “I hope to help GBT grow and become an even more important part of our local community and the Atlanta arts scene at large.”




Ms. Jones has been in charge of GBT’s impressive outreach program “The Dance Project” for the past 2 years, a project that has seen great growth and influence on the lives of Title 1 school children over that period of time.




GBT Board Chairman Len Diprima says, “Initially a beautiful dancer and student at GBT, later an excellent instructor and now in a leadership role, we are very excited about this development and believe that Whitney Sue will be a great asset to our organization in wonderful new ways.”




For more information about GBT, Ms. Jones, or the new fall schedule of classes, call 770-237-0046 or visit the web site at




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            Summer time means freedom for most kids. No school! But for those who love to dance, being free from their ballet studios all summer is not an option. Summer dance programs are enjoyable as well as essential for staying in dancing form, and Gwinnett Ballet Theatre has a whole calendar of summertime fun for ages 4 and up.


            Camps for baby ballerinas, beginning ballet camps, and intensives for intermediate and advanced students are ongoing from the first of June almost until school starts. Exciting guest teachers and members of GBT’s excellent staff are lined up to keep the tempo upbeat!


            Summer dance participation is especially important for young artists who are serious about stretching their abilities in classical ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop. GBT is known for producing many young people who continue dancing after graduation from high school, whether in professional companies or in colleges and universities. The importance of impeccable training year round, and from an appropriate age, is a large factor in making a dance career attainable or being granted scholarships at major universities’ dance departments.


            GBT’s Artistic Director Wade Walthall says, “Summer programs help in the continuing education of a dancer in an even more concentrated atmosphere. In most cases this includes an exposure to other instructors as well as different dancers and different disciplines.  Summer programs allow full days of training not usually offered during the regular year round program and helps dancers to keep the technique they have already achieved on a solid footing, while even adding to it.”


            And summer dance is fun! Days spent together provide bonding experiences with friends doing what they love best.


            Starting off a dance education also means starting off “on the right foot.” GBT has a special “Beginner Ballet” intensive for those just beginning serious ballet study. This program is for ages 7-9 and focuses on the basics of ballet, plus ballet etiquette and conditioning. These intensives are June 23-27 and July 21-25.


GBT offers Intermediate and Advanced intensives for students ages 10 and up during the weeks of June 9-13, June 16-20, July 7-11 and July 14-18. These young artists will benefit from some exciting guest teachers.


Robert Dekkers, a GBT alumni now leading his own contemporary dance company, “Post:Ballet” in San Francisco, will be teaching the week of June 9-13. Robert is a student favorite, bringing impeccable teaching skills and his own unique creativity to his students.


The guest teacher for June 16-20 is especially exciting. Bennyroyce Royon began studying dance with Mr. Walthall at the age of 15 in Seattle. Since then, he graduated from the Juilliard School and was one of the founding members of Rasta Thomas’ all-male dance company, “Bad Boys of Dance.” He has performed with numerous companies and choreographed extensively throughout the world, including Atlanta Ballet’s world premiere of his “Flux” in 2011.








            Other teachers will include Miriam Golomb of Georgia Ballet, Jaspin Newell, and members of GBT’s staff.


            Camps for little ones ages 4 to 6 will be held the weeks of June 2-6; July 7-11 and July 21-25. These little ones will be just getting started in dance, and that means having a good time with lots of creative movement exercises, plus crafts and other artistic projects.


GBT is Gwinnett’s only fully non-profit dance studio and company. Founded in 1977 by Lyn Snipes, GBT recently moved to its spacious new studios at 1800 Macleod Drive in Lawrenceville. With the move and additional space came new opportunities to reach more young artists. As a result, GBT is inviting dancers age 7 and up to special “placement classes” on April 27, July 20 and August 3. These are not “auditions,” and the classes are free. They are held at the GBT studios. Although it is not required to attend these classes for enrollment in either summer or fall, it is highly recommended.


GBT’s own dancers will be enjoying summer intensives at home, but many are also flying off to very special intensives at major ballet companies. Proving that excellent instruction at home is essential for success elsewhere, GBT dancers have won scholarships or acceptances to School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre in New York City, American Ballet Theatre regionally, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Miami Ballet, Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Chicago and many more prestigious national companies.


To find out more about GBT’s summer and fall programs, call 770-237-0046 or visit


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OCTOBER 21, 2013






APRIL 2014-APRIL 2015

The National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York has selected Dance Magic: the Photography of Richard
to be on view from April 2014 to April, 2015. The exhibition was
selected under the Museum’s Art in the
program which annually welcomes dance-inspired fine art.

Richard Calmes of Atlanta, Georgia, is an internationally known dance photographer.
Calmes has published two books of dance photography, Dance Magic and Water Dance.
Over the past decade, he has become a highly recognized dance photographer with
21 magazine covers and exhibitions in Great Britain and in the United States.
Calmes’ work strives to capture, reveal, and celebrate the individual dancers’
beauty, passion and personal expression of the art form. Dance Magic, the Exhibition will include approximately 15 to 20 of Calmes’ beautiful dance images.

The National Museum of Dance & Hall of Fame was established
in 1986 as the only museum in the nation, and one of the few in the world, that
is dedicated entirely to the art of dance. The Museum is located in the former
Washington Bathhouse, a historic building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The
Museum’s archives house a growing collection of photographs, videos, costumes,
documents, biographies and artifacts that honor all forms of dance throughout

“It is very exciting to be selected for this exhibition,” says
Calmes. “Many wonderful photographers have been exhibited in this program, and
I am honored to be in their company.”

Prior photographers exhibited in the Art in the Foyer series have included Lois Greenfield, Paul Kolnick, and Jordan Matter among others.

The National Museum of Dance will hold a reception for the exhibition on May 30,
2014. This event is free and open to the public. The National Museum of Dance
is located at 99 South Broadway in Saratoga Spring, NY. For more information
about the Museum and its programs, visit
or call 518-584-2225. Enjoy Mr. Calmes’ web site at To contact Mr. Calmes, please write

Photo attached: Akua Parker and Anthony Burrell. Photo by Richard Calmes.

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SEPTEMBER 21, 2013


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“Ballet Bits and Contemporary Pieces” is the name of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s first
fall production, held on October 5th and 6th at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Three performances will bring a variety of ballet and contemporary pieces to the stage, from the classicism of “Sleeping Beauty Pas de Deux” to a fond homage to the early years of Walt Disney’s movies.

Performances will be held on Saturday, October 5th at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and
on Sunday, October 6th at 3:00 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $12
and can be purchased through
or by calling 1-888-9AXS-TIX.

One of the highlights of the program will be a special appearance by the winner of
the 2013 Youth America Grand Prix Atlanta, Francisco Serrano. Serrano, 16,
hales from the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, where his mother and father, both
veterans of the renowned Cuban National Ballet, have established a school.
Serrano and two of his female counterparts from Sarasota won the top prize and
the two top senior female honors at the YAGP event in March, 2013 here in

Serrano will be performing the beautiful “Sleeping Beauty Pas de Deux” with another
dancer who did well at YAGP, 14 year old Madison Greene. GBT dancer Greene was
a top 12 finisher in the Junior Division and competed in the finals in New York
City in April this year. She will be dancing the part of Aurora. The pas is
danced to the sweeping, aristocratic Tchaikovsky score, a beautiful and well loved
ballet moment.

Another program piece will be the “Romeo and Juliet Pas de Deux” to Prokoviev’s
passionate, dramatic music. Dancing the star-crossed lovers will be Abigrace
Diprima and GBT’s guest dancer from Portugal, Ricardo Runa, a graduate of the
National Conservatory of Dance in Lisbon.

The choreography of GBT Artistic Director Wade Walthall will complete the
production which begins with a neo-classical dance to music by Delibes, “Pas
Delibes.”  Another piece, “Poison” has an interesting heritage. While based in Seattle, Walthall was commissioned to choreograph a trilogy to reflect three of the perfumes by Christian Dior. “Poison” is contemporary choreography set to the French pop group Stereo Lab, and contains images of fashion, decadence, and mannerism.

“Dancing to Disney” will finish the show, but don’t expect any little mermaids or magic
genies. The ballet is set to the wonderful songs from Disney’s “vintage” movies
of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. “Whistle While You Work,” “Some Day My Prince
Will Come,” “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf,” and “When You Wish Upon  A Star” are just 4 of many humorous and uplifting songs brought to life by the GBT dancers.

For more information about “Ballet Bits and Contemporary Pieces,” call 770-237-0046
or go to  GBT is located at 1800 Macleod Drive in

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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced a $10,000 matching grant awarded to Gwinnett Ballet Theatre in support of The Dance Project, an educational initiative providing dance education for children in Title 1 schools in Gwinnett County.

Initially supporting “The Dance Project” with matching funds are The Hudgens Family
Foundation and the Target Foundation. The Dance Project is now supported
in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Palmetto
Grant Consultants were actively supportive in receiving these grants.

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre began The Dance Project in 2005 as outreach to neighboring
Shiloh Elementary School. With the studio’s move to Lawrenceville in 2012, The
Dance Project also moved its focus and scope. Under the leadership of Whitney
Sue Jones, the program has been expanded and academically enhanced. Ms. Jones
is a teacher at Magill Elementary as well as an instructor and alumna of GBT.

The NEA grant along with the Hudgens Family Foundation and the Target Foundation will
allow 108 young students from Title 1 schools in Gwinnett to participate in a
total of 16 weeks of ballet classes over the school year. The project includes
classes as well as dancewear and shoes, instructional handouts and cd’s, plus
tickets to GBT’s The Nutcracker and GBT’s Spring Concert. Children showing
aptitude and a desire to continue their dance education are eligible to enter
the GBT Scholarship Program.

GBT Artistic Director Wade Walthall says, “The benefits of dance
training are undeniable.  The discipline provides physical, mental, and
spiritual development that continues to provide assets throughout life. For
this reason it is important to reach out to diverse communities.  We at
Gwinnett Ballet Theatre are grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for
the possibility to do so.  We also thank everyone else involved in this
valuable endeavor.”

The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to
encouraging excellent arts engagement opportunities for people of all ages. The
Arts Engagement in American Communities grant program is designed to help
organizations in underserved communities become familiar with the NEA’s grant
making process and learn to write competitive grant applications. Each fiscal
year, the NEA identifies communities which have not been successful in applying
for NEA funding. NEA staff then works with organizations in these communities
to submit grant applications. Like all NEA grant making, these grant
applications are then reviewed for artistic excellence and artistic merit.

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MAY 1, 2013


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Gwinnett Ballet Theatre has exciting summer programs for all young dancers from age 4
and up, and it all begins on Sunday, June 2 with a special Open House in the
GBT studios.

Come enjoy touring our new state of the art facility and watch our young dancers
perform in a special Showcase presentation in one of our enormous studios.  Meet GBT family, staff and friends. The Open House is from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Looking for a dance school for your young dancer? Come visit GBT at this special event
and see what we have to offer!

Next on the horizon will be a fun-filled dance camp for youngsters ages 4-6 complete
with ballet, costumes, and crafts. This begins the week of June 3 – 7. The camp
repeats on July 22-26.

A very special summer intensive has been created for the young dancer just beginning
to seriously study ballet. It is called “Beginner Ballet Summer Intensive” and
focuses on ballet technique basics, conditioning, and ballet etiquette. There
will be two of these camps, June 3-7 and July 22-24.

Summer Intensives for older dancers are launched on June 10-14 when GBT alumnus and
nationally acclaimed choreographer Robert Dekkers comes home to instruct our
intensive for intermediate and advanced students. Another intensive happens the
following week, July 17-21, when Marcial Ibarra of the Cuban National Ballet is
the guest instructor. Two more intensives will be held on the weeks of July 8
and 15.

Dancers wishing to join GBT’s family are welcomed to attend two placement auditions at
the GBT studios on either July 28 or August 4. These auditions are purely for
placement purposes and no experience is necessary, nor are these auditions
required for enrollment. However, they are greatly encouraged so that a child
is put into the most appropriate level for their abilities with the best chance
for advancement.

Early enrollment for summer and fall programming is encouraged as class sizes are

For more information, call 770-237-0046 or email
Also check out the web site at

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MARCH 13, 2013


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One of the most popular works from the classical ballet repertoire will be presented by Gwinnett Ballet Theatre on March 30 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. in the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. “Giselle,” the story of a young peasant girl who falls in love with a young
nobleman in disguise, offers audiences and performers a rich experience in the
beauty and depth that classical ballet has to offer.

Three GBT dancers will perform the lead roles of Giselle and Myrtha, Queen of the Willies, a band of unhappy spirits of young women. Abigrace Diprima of Lawrenceville and Kendall Greene, also of Lawrenceville, will perform the role of Giselle. Miss Diprima will
perform at 2:30 p.m. and Miss Greene at 7:30 p.m. Bianca Melidor will perform
the role of Myrtha at both performances.

Bianca is a junior at Mill Creek High School. She recently competed in the Youth America Grand Prix Southeastern Semifinals in Duluth where she was awarded top 24 in the Senior Classical Division. As a result, she has been given a scholarship to Ballet West this
summer. She lives in Dacula.

The ballet begins in a small village where young Giselle meets and engages in a flirtatious relationship with Albrecht, who though dressed as a peasant is actually one of the nobility. From this first meeting a deep and enduring love develops, much to the chagrin of
Hilarion, another young suitor for Giselle’s affections. When a hunting party
of nobility, which includes Albrecht’s fiancée, arrive at the village, Hilarion
reveals Albrecht’s true identity. The fragile Giselle, overcome by betrayal and
grief, dies, much to the horror of Albrecht who finally realizes where his
heart truly lies.

The second act is one of the most famous in all of ballet. Set in a graveyard, the evil Queen of the Willis, Myrtha, appears and summons her spirits. The Willi are the ghosts of young
girls who have died of broken hearts before their wedding day. These spirits
capture men walking along the road beside the cemetery at night and force them to
dance until they die.

Soon Albrecht arrives with an arm full of lilies for Giselle’s grave. Although he cannot see her, Albrecht can sense Giselle’s presence. Myrtha appears and demands he dance to his death, but Giselle’s love supports and sustains him until the sun rises, saving his life.

The ballet was first performed in 1841 in Paris, but it is the Russian revivals from the late 19th century with choreography by Marius Petipa that are most familiar to
contemporary audiences.

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s “Giselle”has been especially choreographed for GBT by its Artistic Director, Wade Walthall. This version follows the traditional format but has been streamlined and updated to make it accessible to modern audiences. Much of the more
complicated mime sequences have been shortened and simplified, and the
storyline follows an evident rationale, with a little humor thrown in for good

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors with $11 tickets per person for groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased at the Gwinnett Center Box Office or at any
Ticketmaster location.

For more information, contact Gwinnett Ballet Theatre at 770-237-0046 or visit

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MARCH 6, 2013


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Ten Gwinnett Ballet Theatre dancers took part in the Youth America Grand Prix southeastern semi-finals this past weekend, March 1-3. Recognition, great experience and lovely memories of the competition will follow the young women as they continue their lives full of studies, dance classes and social events.

Two of the dancers, Abigrace Diprima and Madison Greene, finished in the top 12 of their age groups and were invited to continue the YAGP experience in New York City in April. For Madison, the weekend had a further meaning than her individual success. She was by herself onstage for her competition variation, but she did not dance alone.

Anna Mott, 16, is a Gwinnett teen and GBT dancer since the age of 3. Late in August last year, Anna was diagnosed with a pineoblastoma, a rare malignant brain tumor. She has been valiantly fighting the disease ever since with the support of her ballerina buddies and
hundreds of well wishers from the Gwinnett and greater Atlanta communities.

Madison, 13 and a student at Crews Middle School, planned to perform a variation from the first act of the ballet “Giselle” as her YAGP competition piece. She says, “During Nutcracker this past year, a lot of the girls put Anna’s initials in their shoes. I wanted to keep doing that for her. I put her initials in my shoes for YAGP because when I did,
it felt like I had someone else on the stage with me. I was dancing for Anna. I
also said a prayer that I could perform well and show both Anna’s and my own
love for dance. I know that she would have loved to be there, so for now I’ll
just keep her with me in spirit.”

Madison put Anna’s name in her pointe shoes in purple with little hearts around the letters. Her mother, Sharon Greene, adds, “She told me she prayed that she would dance joyfully for Anna. She felt Anna was on stage with her.”

Madison was one of approximately 160 dancers in the Junior age group at YAGP. Her performance was judged to be one of the 12 most excellent in this age group in the classical division, and she has been invited to New York City to participate in the YAGP Finals in April.

“She said she would definitely do the same to her pointe shoes in New York,” her mother says.

Madison was not the only GBT dancer who won special recognition at YAGP. Abigrace Diprima, 17, was in the Senior age group and was top 12 in both the contemporary and the classical ballet divisions. Bianca Melidor, 16, finished in the top 24 in the Senior classical
ballet division.

All ten of GBT’s YAGP competitors were warmly received and well scored. The additional 7 participants were Claire Bockhop, Kendall Greene, Kenzie Martin, Nichole Polakowski, Cameron and Jordan Silas, and Madeline Whitehead.

Anna’s family continues to be held in a special place in the hearts of GBT’s dancers, parents and staff. If you wish to support Anna, visit the Amanda Riley Foundation on Facebook and consider participating in their event “Miles for Smiles” road race on June 8.
However, running shoes are recommended over pointe shoes for this particular

For more information about Gwinnett
Ballet Theatre, call 770-237-0046 or visit For
information about YAGP visit

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JANUARY 21, 2013


HOLLEY CALMES 404-317-8470



One of the most prestigious dance competitions in the world will visit Gwinnett for its Southeastern Semifinals March 1 – 3, 2013. Gwinnett Ballet Theatre and the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center will host this segment of the world-wide event, one of the most elite in the world of ballet.

Young dancers age 9 through 19 are eligible to compete in this event which holds semifinals in countries such as Japan, Brazil and France. There are a dozen semifinals in the USA. All semifinals lead up to the finals in New York City, held this year on April 12 – 17 with the Gala celebrated on April 18.

The Gwinnett Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has been instrumental in helping the YAGP organization find a hotel headquarters, which will be the Gwinnett Marriott in Duluth. Area city officials also see the event as a great opportunity to draw visitors to their
downtown area. Of the estimated 1,000 individuals coming into the county, many
are parents and coaches of competitors with some time on their hands for touring
and shopping.

Most of the competitors in the March semi-finals will be from the southeastern
region, although dancers from any area or country are welcomed. Success at this
event can open the door for these young artists by providing scholarships and
performing opportunities.

Now in its 13th year, YAGP will award over $250,000 in scholarships to
leading dance schools worldwide in 2013.

The competition itself will take place in the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.
There are no advanced ticket sales for the competitions. Tickets are $5 at the
door. Master classes for competitors are taught by some of the most eminent
dance professionals in the world. These classes will occur at the new GBT
facility located at 1800 Macleod Drive in Lawrenceville. Dancers
must score 95 points or higher to proceed to the NYC finals. Gwinnett
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Lisa Anders says, “We are very excited about the Youth America Grand Prix coming to the Gwinnett. This premier cultural event will showcase the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre and
all the attendees and their families will have the chance to explore Gwinnett
and Atlanta. It’s quite an honor to hold an event of this level, and we are
looking forward to it.”

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Wade Walthall sees many benefits to be
gained from hosting the event. “We are very happy to welcome everyone to our
new GBT facilities in Lawrenceville,” he says. “This event will give young
dancers a good chance to meet their peers from across the region and the
opportunity to work on variations from the classical repertoire.”

To find out more about YAGP and the Atlanta
area competition, visit their web site at

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OCTOBER 5, 2012


HOLLEY CALMES 404-317-8470







Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will present its annual production of The Nutcracker from November 30 through December 16, 2012. Under the Artistic Directorship of Wade Walthall, 11 public shows and 5 outreach performances are scheduled at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center in Gwinnett Center, Duluth, GA.

As a special holiday gift to patrons, GBT has kept the ticket prices the same as
they have been for the past several years. With tickets as low as $13.50 to
$29.50, GBT’s The Nutcracker is an affordable as well as a delightful holiday treat, appropriate for the entire family.

Public performances include 8 shows accompanied by the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre
Orchestra, Predrag Gosta conducting.

Public performances are Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on December 7 and 14; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on December 1, 8 and 15; and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on December 2,
9 and 16. The orchestra accompanies the dancers the last two weekends at each
show. Tickets range from $13.50 to $29.50 depending on the individual
performance. Student, senior and group rates are available.

Tickets for the public shows are available through any Ticketmaster location, by
calling 404-249-6400, or by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office.

A scout show will be held on Friday at 7:30 p.m. on November 30. Four school shows
offer public and home-school students an exciting field trip. For these shows,
please contact the GBT offices at 770-237-0046.

For more information, visit GBT’s web site at Also visit our
Facebook Fanpage.


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