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Ballet ministry show is Friday

NATCHEZ — For the third year straight Ballet Magnifcat! Friday will bring inspirational entertainment to Natchez.

The Jackson-based Ballet Magnificat! is a Christian ballet company whose mission is to spread the gospel through performing arts.

“It’s very beautiful,” volunteer coordinator Carolyn Ridley said. “It is not just a typical ballet. It’s a cross of drama, music, ballet and interpretive dances.”

Ridley said the dancers express stories from the Bible.

The second half of the performance will feature the story of Moses’ flight from Egypt, called “Deliver Us,” which took the stage last year. This year the program will change. While “Deliver Us” will still be performed in the second half of the show, the ballet will open with a new performance, “The Arrival.”

“It’s an upbeat piece that points to the arrival, or second coming, of Christ,” said P.J. Beaver, who is tour director of Ballet Magnifcat!’s Alpha company. “It’s a contemporary movement. Some people described it as something you’d see on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ meets a worship setting. It’s definitely different.”

For Ridley, Ballet Magnificat! is a two-fold mission as it benefits the Guardian Shelter for battered families and brings a message of faith to the community.

“The message they bring in the performance, plus helping the shelter is a win-win,” Ridley said. “We are hoping for a good turnout. And if you can’t make it, you can still donate to the shelter.”

Ridley said checks can be made out to the Guardian Shelter, tagged Ballet Magnificat!

Beaver said performing for audiences in Natchez is like coming home.

“Since we are based in Jackson, we really enjoy any opportunity to perform in Mississippi, but Natchez is very special,” Beaver said. “We like being involved in the cities in Mississippi, and Natchez is great.”

Ridley said one of the many reasons she enjoys coordinating Ballet Magnicat! is because it exposes the community to dance and a positive message.

“A lot of people in our community have never been to a ballet,” Ridley said. “And it is offered at an affordable price. It is entertainment with a Christian base. There is so much junk out there, but this is wholesome and inspiring.”

Beaver said the performance is appropriate for the Easter season.

“Deliver Us definitely has a tie to Easter season,” Beaver said. “It’s something that a young child can enjoy and get a lot out of, and grandparents can enjoy too. We hope people will be encouraged and blessed.”

Ridley said the dancers are a special group.

“They are servants at heart,” Ridley said.

Ridley said she and her co-coordinators have bigger dreams for the performance later in the year.

“The powers that be offered to have Ballet Magnificat! at Christmastime, as part of Christmas in Natchez,” Ridley said.

The venue changed for the performance this year as well. Doors will open at the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center at 6:30 Friday.

The performance begins at 7. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door.

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