Dancers eager to perform ballet

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 2010

NATCHEZ — Audiences are in for more surprises than Santa can pull out of his bag at the annual Middleton School of Dance Christmas ballet performance tonight.

School director Ann Gaudé said she adds new things each year to make sure audiences enjoy what they see.

“I want people to come back year after year to see what is new,” Gaudé said. “Every year I take out something old and put in something new.”

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And this year she says excitement is the name of the game.

“The dancers are excited about all the things they get to do,” she said. “I don’t want to give any of the surprises away, but I’ll say the audience is going to enjoy themselves.”

More than 100 local dancers will take the stage at 7 tonight at the City Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The ballet tells the story of what happens on that magical night before Christmas. Soldiers, mice, gingerbread cookies, dolls, dogs and even Spanish dancers come to life as the children dream of what Christmas morning will bring.

Gaudé said the imagination, fun and sparkle that goes into the Christmas keeps even the tiniest dancers twirling with joy through rehearsals and, finally, the one-night-only performance. The dancers start rehearsing in mid-August, but for some that is not early enough.

“From the first day we start ballet just about they are asking ‘When are we going to dance in the Christmas ballet,’” Gaudé said. “It’s a lot of fun for the dancers and a lot of fun for me too.”

Girls as young as 4 will put on their tights and slippers for the show.

Hannah Gordon, 18, said the Christmas ballet is one of the things she looks forward to each year, but this year’s performance is going to be a little bittersweet.

“It is so much fun to dance, and it is especially special this year because I have a solo, but it is sad at the same time because it is my last year,” Gordon said. “I love it though, so it is going to be fun.”

Younger dancers enjoy watching the older dancers perform because it gives them something to look forward too, 10-year-old Abigail Hand said.

This year Hand is dancing as a mouse, sugarplum and in the Naughty or Nice dance.

“It is pretty different each year because we get to dance different parts,” Hand said. “All of the dances are fun to do and fun to watch.”

Lara Biglane has a definite favorite, though.

“I love the Naughty or Nice dance because it is so sassy,” she said. “It’s very, very sassy.”

But on top of all the fun they are having, the dancers are learning a lot of good life lessons, too.

Abby Dillard, 16, said she has learned dedication and discipline from dancing.

“A lot of people will dance when they are younger but don’t stay interested when they get older,” she said. “I think it is important to stick with things, because it good for you and you learn so much discipline from dance.”