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An evening of magic

‘Aladdin’ to feature Atlanta Ballet Company apprentice; performance this weekend

POSTED: March 10, 2011 9:21 p.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Atlanta Ballet Company apprentice Victor Galuppo, center, will join the cast of the Gainesville Ballet Company for a performance of "Aladdin" this weekend only. Brelin Zimmerman, a Brenau University senior, and Sally Justus, a West Hall High School senior, will take turns as Princess Jasmine during alternating performances.

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It isn't every day that Hall County audiences get to see a professional dancer from the Atlanta Ballet arabesque in their own backyard, but that's exactly what's happening this weekend.

Victor Galuppo, an apprentice with the Atlanta Ballet Company will be performing in the title role of the Gainesville Ballet Company's production of "Aladdin" this weekend.

"This is the first time that we've done this show," said Diane Callahan, Gainesville Ballet Company founding artistic director.

The company will have performances at 7:30 p.m. today , 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Brenau University's Pearce Auditorium, 500 Washington St., Gainesville.

It may be the Gainesville Ballet's debut of "Aladdin," but it isn't Galuppo's first time taking to the stage. The dancer, who began his formal dance training in Brazil, has performed in numerous productions worldwide. Among other performances, he's danced in "Romeo and Juliet" with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, "La Fille Mal Gardee" with Royal Young City Ballet and "Pinocchio" with the Atlanta Ballet.

He has also previously danced with the Gainesville Ballet, including in the winter "Nutcracker" performances.

For "Aladdin," the Gainesville company will follow the traditional storyline and feature all of the familiar characters.

In this story, a disguised Princess Jasmine wanders out into the busy marketplace, outside the gates of her family's palace. While there, she encounters street-wise Aladdin and his sidekick, a monkey named Abu. Ultimately, Jasmine and Aladdin fall in love, but unfortunately for the pair, she can only marry a prince.

Aladdin spends the balance of the plot not only building his relationship with Jasmine, but also trying to prove himself worthy to her father so that they might marry.

Brelin Zimmerman, a Brenau University senior, and Sally Justus, a West Hall High School senior, will take turns as Princess Jasmine during alternating performances.

"We have a double cast. There are about 60 performers in this show. They range in age from elementary school to professional level dancers," Callahan said.

"The genie is Vincas Greene, the (chairman) of Brenau's dance department. He dances in a lot of my productions."

In addition to the dozens of trained dancers, the shows will also include six non-dancers.

"They're the fathers of a few of our dancers and are guarding Aladdin at certain times," Callahan said.
"We had a lot of fun incorporating them into the show. They get to be backstage with their daughters, it's kind of fun.

"It's an opportunity for them to see the other side of the performances."

The show was choreographed by Brenau alumna and former Gainesville Ballet dancer Shelley Grames.

"Before the public shows we're doing a whole act of repertory works. There are seven of those. They're about five to 10 minutes each and are all different.

"They're Act I. Then there's an intermission and then ‘Aladdin.' It's about an hour and a half total."

Tickets range in price from $10 to $24. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 770-532-4241 or visit Gainesville Ballet Company online.

 



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