Joining the professional dancers will be Tony Britton, Cobb Chamber of Commerce chair; Dr. William A. Cooper, director of cardiovascular surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital and associate professor at Emory School of Medicine; Dianne Isakson, artist and wife of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson; and JaQuitta Williams, journalist and TV news anchor for CBS Atlanta.
The celebrity performance will be on Dec. 2 at the Cobb Civic Center, at the intersection of South Marietta Parkway and Fairground Street, at 5:30 p.m. The ballet will donate $5 of each ticket sold to the Cobb chapter of the American Heart Association.
Keri Toggerson with the ballet company said someone from the Chamber and the charity they are fundraising for are picked for the performance.
Britton said he forgot about the tradition until the Georgia Ballet contacted him to arrange practices.
“I was certainly a little bit nervous about doing it, but it very quickly gave me an appreciation for what the professionals are doing,” he said. “It didn’t take long to realize that I was working very hard.”
Britton has only attended one practice to date, but he will have two more and a dress rehearsal before the show next weekend.
“They want us … not to embarrass ourselves,” he said.
Britton has a special connection to the American Heart Association: Three and a half years ago, he had emergency heart surgery, which entailed five bypasses.
“One is terrible, so any number can be devastating to an individual, but fortunately I was at the right place at the right time,” he said about being in the hands of doctors at Kennestone in Marietta when he discovered he needed the surgery.
Cooper was Britton’s heart surgeon.
“I’m thrilled that he will be dancing around the performance with me rather than dancing around in my chest,” the chamber chair said.
Britton had not worked with the local heart association before his surgery, but since then he has served on the cardiac council at WellStar and co-chaired the American Heart Association fundraiser walk the last two years.
“There’s very little that I would not do for the heart association or for the good causes in our community,” he said. “I am blessed that I have each day that I wake up.”
The Georgia Ballet’s professional company, which has been performing “The Nutcracker” for more than 40 years, will also perform on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., Dec. 1 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets are between $17 and $38 for the celebrity performance and between $15 and $36 for the professional performance and may be purchased online at www.georgiaballet.org, over the phone at (770) 528-0881 or at the Cobb Civic Center box office on performance day.