The Christmas Ballet starts Friday
by Special to the Banner
Nov 10, 2013 | 1761 views | 0 0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LYDIA CAMPBELL, above, danced her way into the hearts of audiences in last year’s holiday performance.  Banner photos, courtesy of ARLYNNE VANHOOK
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The Christmas Ballet will be held at the Bradley Central High School Fine Arts Center Friday at 7 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

According to Connie Gatlin, artistic director, the Cleveland City Ballet wanted to present the true story of Christmas “through the beautiful art form of ballet. That’s why we created ‘Nativity,’” she said. “We wanted our Christmas Ballet to be about Christmas — and that meant the birth of Christ. So we created The Nativity which is the Story of Christ’s Birth, from Isaiah to the wise men.”

Music was pulled from a dozen different composers and cantatas, as well as old favorites, and choreography was adapted to give light and illustration to the centuries-old story that we all love, Gatlin said. Beginning with the prophecies of Isaiah and moving through all of the essential elements of the story of Christ’s birth, audience members will see this story as presented by young dancers in a ballet setting.

Gatlin said, “One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 149:3, ‘Let them praise His name in the dance,’ and that is what this ballet accomplishes.”

The casting for “Nativity” includes dancers from age 4 through 18. The music is a compilation of selections from different artists and different types of music.

“Some of the melodies are old favorites, but there are also choices that aren’t typically Christmas in nature, but that definitely work to ‘dance the story,’” Gatlin explained.

The choreographer for “Nativity” is Monica Coates Ellison, lead ballet instructor at Cleveland City Ballet. This is her fourth year presenting “Nativity.”

“It’s wonderful to work on a new creation,” Ellison said. “You build on last year’s work, and have the opportunity to tweak improvements in the presentation that this year’s dancers bring.”

Ellison has a bachelor of arts in ballet and modern 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 that will kick off your holiday season in great style. Mrs. Patti Greco, Mrs. Leah Green, Mrs. Sarah Gibson, Ms. Chelsey Kimsey and Mrs. Tiffany Mitchell, CCB jazz, tap, and acro instructors, have choreographed several jazz and tap numbers for the students of CCB, and these selections are very popular with young dancers and their parents. “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,” they said in a release.

Cast members for this production are: Cleveland City Ballet Company members: Kyndall Hutson, Chloe Jenkins, Laurel McGaha, Avianna Duerr, Elizabeth Shelton, Emily Chavis, Madison Creekmore, Lily Bradney, Sarah Anderson, Shelby Keller, Madison Van Hook, Elliott Brock, Olivia Lawson, Cheyenne Donohoo, Ashley Kitterman, Autumn Fryar, Lydia Campbell and Emily Carey.

Cleveland City Ballet student dancers are Sarah Redmond, Anna Thompson, Elizabeth Myers, Petra Thompson, Scarlett Dotson, David Cantrell, Cecily Pogue, Elizabeth Orr, Chloe Creekmore, Abigail Kitterman, Addison Brock, Roxanne Gibson, Ainsley Bronze, Montana Crisp, Madison Jackson, Makenzi Gibson, Lynlee Hodge, Emma Claire Smith, Ellie Waters, Cara Campbell, Caroline Condo, Shelby Hammonds, Annabelle Pelley, Ethan Campbell, Dara Burton, Elena Burton, Hallie Wielfaert, Allie Oliver, Emma Thompson, Elsa Thompson and Brianna DeVane.

The youngest dancers are Gracie Hyden, Emma Hyden, Chloe Zerk, Annabelle Adcock, Kaelyn Brownlee, Ava Robbins, Stella Laman, Samantha Haynie, Hannah Hodges, Emma Fannon, Korine Smith, Erin Sanders, Ellie Lu Fannon, Addie Beth Chord, T’Aja Owens, Krysten Hewitt, Naomi Conkle, Madelyn Kurtz, Cherokee Ellison, Grayson Presswood, Ryann Presswood, Laney Copeland, Amelia Ohlsson, Amelia DeBord, Reese Creekmore, Maggie Arrowood, Adelaide Thompson and Jaida Conkle. Adult tap students are Aaron Ellison and Megan Castleberry.

Tickets for both performances are on sale at the Cleveland City Ballet Bang-A-Rang Productions Studios in the Old Woolen Mill, and tickets will also be available at the door. Seating is general admission.For further information, contact Connie Gatlin at 400-5389.