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Sip some tea with a sweet velveteen rabbit
Minicamp and tea party lets tiny dancers meet experienced ballerinas
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The Brown Velveteen Rabbit Minicamp and Tea Party

What: Children have tea and snacks with the Gainesville Ballet Company
When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday
Where: Brenau University Fitness Center, Brenau University, 500 Washington St., Gainesville
How much: $25; register through today but walk-ins accepted if space is available
More info: 770-532-4241 or gbcinfo@gainesvilleballet.org

The children's classic book "The Velveteen Rabbit" is about a boy and his stuffed toy.

The Velveteen Rabbit hopes to become real one day and thinks if the boy truly loves him, he will.

Gainesville Ballet has taken this story and adapted it into its spring ballet production, "The Brown Velveteen Rabbit."

But before the curtains open, Gainesville Ballet is set to have The Brown Velveteen Rabbit Minicamp and Tea Party at Brenau University, to get youngsters excited about the upcoming performance.

"The children are dropped off at 10 a.m. and minicamp starts," said Melissa Black, an administrative assistant with the Gainesville Ballet. "They do a craft related to the production ... they will learn a dance, they'll learn a little stage makeup and they will have a tea party.

"Then at the end of the day when the parents come and pick them up they will perform for the parents."

Registration ends today for the event, but walk-ins are welcome.

"We typically cap it off at 60 children," Black said. "There will be space for walk-ins at this point."

Children who attend do not need any dance experience, according to Tamara Stevenson, executive director of the Gainesville School of Ballet.

"What happens is we have about four groups of kids; they are divided based on age, and they'll rotate through the tea party where they will have snacks," she said. "They rotate through another room where they will make a little costume, whether it's a little collar or a headband or something, put a little bit of makeup on them."

Stevenson said attendees will learn four different dances to perform at the end of the camp for family and friends.

"Each of the dances reflect what's coming up in our spring concert," she said. "We have ducklings in the Velveteen Rabbit ... some that will be nursery fairies, some that will ... be other kinds of dolls in the nursery. Depending upon the age they will be in different groups."

Children ages 3 to 10 will have a chance to meet and take pictures with The Brown Velveteen Rabbit during the minicamp.

"The Brown Velveteen Rabbit" will open at 7:30 p.m. March 20. Other performances will be 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. March 21 and 2 p.m. March 22 at Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University.

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