The Christmas Ballet opens Friday
by Special to the Banner
Oct 31, 2010 | 2373 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KICKING OFF THE HOLIDAYS — Cleveland City Ballet will present “Nativity,” the annual Christmas ballet event, on Nov. 5 and 6. According to Bang-A-Rang Productions director Connie Gatlin, the ballet will feature a large group of younger dancers.
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Students and dance instructors of Cleveland City Ballet Bang-A-Rang Productions proudly presents “The Christmas Ballet.” Performances will be Nov. 5 and 6 in the Cleveland State Community College Theatre.

Designed to kick off the holiday season in “artistic” style, the dancers will quicken the holiday pulse and present dances that help us focus on the true meaning of Christmas. This presentation is a compilation of Christmas stories and favorite Christmas music presented in classical ballet, lyrical ballet and jazz and tap.

Act One is the presentation of a new ballet called “Nativity.” The music is a compilation of selections from different artists and different types of music.

According to Cleveland City Ballet Bang-A-Rang Director Connie Gatlin, who compiled the music, “In the music you will hear melodies that are probably new to you, as well as a few old favorites. There are choices by artist Michael W. Smith that serve well to present different aspects of the Nativity story, such as Isaiah’s prophecies or the journey to Bethlehem. This has been an exciting project!”

Choreographer for “Nativity” is Monica Coates Ellison, lead ballet instructor at Cleveland City Ballet. This year’s choreography for “Nativity” is totally original, and gives performance opportunities for dancers age 6 through adult. “A new ballet is wonderful to create, and I’m very proud of our dancers and the work they have done,” Ellison said.

Ellison has only lived in the Ocoee region for two years, and has quickly become a leading member of the team at CCB. She has a degree in dance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and a number of years of professional experience in New York. This is her first complete ballet creation.

Act Two will be a montage of Christmas songs to kick off your holiday season in great style. Ashley Witzel, CCB jazz and tap instructor, has choreographed several jazz and tap numbers for the students of CCB, and these selections are very popular with our young dancers and their parents. Witzel has taken several clever renditions of Christmas favorites, and choreographed numbers for jazz and tap dancers that are fun to dance to and fun to watch.

Gatlin said, “This year we are featuring a large group of our younger dancers. We believe that our younger dancers should have the experience and the joy of being a part of a production such as this, and we are delighted to be able to spotlight their efforts.”

Cast members for this production include Brendan Ferguson, Niki Liner, Laurel McGaha, Jaida McKeel, Emory McKeel, Chloe Jenkins, Bethany McIntosh, Claire Salyers, Lauren Scannapiego, Deborah Lutz, Bethany Brown, Breanna Melton, Anna Thompson, Chloe Freake, Brooke Hammond, Jesica Bausch, Sarah Redmond, Cheyenne Bramlett, Destiny Shreve, Crystal Stander, Sydney Gobble, Sabrina Ceballos, Ashley Kitterman, Kyra Stander, Lily Bradney, Elliott Brock, Sarah Anderson, Emma Miles, Shelby Keller, Elizabeth Myers, Caleb Jenkins, Lucy Leach, Mikhaila Ferguson, Lee Webb, Lilianna Holland, Sloane Trewhitt, Laney Brown, Sarah Able, Stella Buckner, Molly Jackson, Liz Hooker, Maddie Gilley, Chelsey Goodwin, Emma Jane White and Lauren Riad.

There will be two presentations of “Nativity” at CSCC — on Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee at 2 p.m. Nov. 6. Tickets for both performances are on sale at the Cleveland City Ballet Bang-A-Rang Productions Studios in the Old Woolen Mill. Tickets will also be available at the door. Seating is general admission.