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Open-air show will be Mothers Day treat
Peter Swan and Nikki Bybee of Gainesville Ballet rehearse before Sunday's performance.

The Garden Party
Dancing by Gainesville Ballet Company, live music, local artists and silent auction
When: 4-6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Brenau Amphitheater on the Brenau University Campus, Gainesville
How much: $15 adults, $10 children and seniors
More info: 770-532-4241

Gainesville Ballet is serving up a Mother's Day treat this year, complete with fine music, art and dessert at the end.

Transforming an annual event that ended about five years ago, ballet dancers will take to an outdoor venue - Brenau University's amphitheater - and put on performances that mingle with live music and local artists.

"I think it will be something fun to do in the afternoon, from 4 to 6 p.m.; they can fix a picnic for their mom or buy a picnic for their mom and come down and sit out and enjoy the music and the dancing," said Tanya Glosson, incoming Gainesville Ballet board president and co-chairwoman for the event.

The Sunday afternoon event will feature music by the Northwinds Brass Quintet and paintings and ceramics sold by area artists. There will also be planters given away to mothers as door prizes, put together by Hall County Master Gardeners.

Diane Callahan, executive director of Gainesville Ballet, said the company will be performing eight or nine pieces, five of which were performed at the spring recital in March. The new pieces include one choreographed by two of the professionals in the troupe.

They will be installing a special floor and a wall to simulate a stage, Callahan said, although this week's weather will have them scrambling to finish the set design by the weekend. The obelisk in the center of the amphitheater's stage will serve as a costume changing area, creating one self-contained performance area.

"It's just fun to be outside," said professional dancer Peter Swan, who has been dancing with the company off and on for about seven years. "It's just like a sense of openness and freedom."

Swan helped choreograph one of the dance pieces, and said he's looking forward to debuting it Sunday.

He's also been a part of previous outside performances, when they took place at night. Callahan said the expense of the lights forced the company to move the performance up to daylight hours.

"We used to do it a long time ago at night, and it was called ‘Dancing in the Moonlight,'" Callahan said. "We had to bring in lighting equipment, but it costs so much money and the costs is so prohibitive, so we're trying to do it in the daylight so we don't have to worry about the light."

Glosson added her daughter performed in the last evening performance, about five years ago, and said she's glad her daughter can have the outdoor dancing experience again.

But everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that the rain holds off. Glosson said they have a plan to move to Pearce Auditorium if the rain continues, but they're hoping not to have to use it.

"It will be a nice event for Mother's Day," Swan said. "And hopefully good weather. We'll keep our fingers crossed for that."