Dance theater begins season
by Marcus E Howard
September 02, 2012 01:01 AM | 1903 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — One year after a name change, the Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre will begin its 56th season this month with performances at the Cobb Civic Center’s Jennie T. Anderson Theater.

On Sept. 28, the season opens with “(e)MERGE,” a mixed dance repertory featuring styles including comedy, classical ballet and musical theater. Eight local, national and international choreographers, combined with a cast of Georgia Dance Conservatory and professional dancers, will merge their collective talents.

“(e)MERGE” will run from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30.

From Nov. 23 to Nov. 25, “The Nutcracker,” an annual holiday tradition, will return with new choreography, costumes and a few unexpected twists, said Lisa Toups, GMDT’s artistic director. But audiences can surely expect to be entertained by the classic story of Clara, Godfather Drosselmeyer and the Mouse Queen.

In the spring, “An Evening with George,” will feature the music of American composer George Gershwin.

The show will be presented in two parts. The first half is a musical theater revue titled, “Rhapsody in Blue,” written and orchestrated by John Whitworth. The second part will feature Tom Pazik’s “By George!,” a show within a show that gives audiences a glimpse into the backstage happenings of a dance company.

“There’s a lot of classical ballet, but there’s also a lot of Broadway,” Toups said. “They’ll be singing as well, so it’s a diverse program, something for everyone.”

“An Evening with George” will run March 22 to March 24.

Founded in 1956 by Atlanta dance pioneer Ruth Mitchell as The Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre, GMDT is one of Georgia’s oldest non-profit arts organizations. The student-based dance company is composed of 170 professional and pre-professional dancers, many of them local high school students. Former students have gone on to perform with big city ballet companies and on Broadway.

Each year, GMDT performs three major productions: a fall concert, “The Nutcracker” and a spring ballet.

“You can kind of think of two different tracks at the studio,” Toups said. “One track is for dancers who love to dance but maybe do it once or twice a week. Another track is a company track, which is a college-based syllabus program. Those kids perform in the three productions.”

New this season is Ashleigh Whitworth, GMDT’s newly appointed assistant artistic director who grew up dancing under Ruth Mitchell and performing with the GMDT. She recently graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she was the commencement’s valedictory speaker.

Jackie Garvin of Marietta, whose two daughters have danced with the company, has been a season ticket holder for four years. She said she is excited about GMDT’s upcoming season.

“It’s professionally done and amazing what dancers in this community can do,” Garvin said of the company.

Tickets for shows run from $22 to $24. To purchase tickets, visit the Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre website at
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