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Evening of ballet is more than classical dance
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Gainesville Ballet dancers Hannah Patten, left, and Sally Justus at the Brenau University Ampitheater. - photo by Tom Reed
‘Dancing at Dusk’
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Breanu University’s amphitheater, Prior Street, Gainesville
How much: $15 adults, $10 for students and seniors, including dessert and beverage at intermission
More info: 770-532-4241

Don’t let the name fool you — Gainesville Ballet is about more than ballet.

Two performances this weekend will highlight the ballet company’s jazz and modern sides, too. Add to that live music from a variety of musicians, and you have an evening of song and dance that could work for a Mother’s Day outing or simply a night out on the town.

“Dancing at Dusk” combines more than a half dozen ballet pieces, with opening music by keyboardist Carlene Archer and also the Northwinds Brass Quintet with Percussion. Following the dancing, there will be more live music by Laissez Funk and the Cody Marlowe Band, both of which includes members from Hall County. The music starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Brenau University’s amphitheater, which is located on Prior Street in Gainesville.

The ballet company is drawing from its experience last year, when it performed in the afternoon on Mother’s Day on the amphitheater’s stage. This year, organizers moved the performance to two evening shows instead, and a Grassroots Arts grant from The Arts Council allowed the ballet to expand the performance to include the live music. Picnic dinners are welcome, and there will be dessert and beverages served at intermission.

“We’ve added seven or eight more repertory pieces, and a keyboardist and brass band,” said Tanya Glosson, president of the Gainesville Ballet board of directors. “Two bands close it.”

The outdoor performance makes for a new set of challenges for the dancers, who will be performing the first few dances in one big spotlight — the sun.

“I’m glad it’s later in the afternoon,” said Hannah Patten, 17.

Fellow dancer Laura Vinson, 16, added that the footing and the lighting make the setting completely different from their usual venue, Pearce Auditorium at Brenau.

“Being in a theater and having lighting, you never see the audience,” she said. “But here, you can see everyone.”

The performance includes two big group numbers — two dances incorporating half of the company in each — along with several jazz, classical and modern dances.

After the dances, when Laissez Funk and the Cody Marlowe Band take the stage, the dancers will have a chance to join the audience and take in the music, too.

“You can come with a picnic and watch the ballet,” said Madeline Maney, 15.

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